What Girl Groups Taught Me About Female Friendships
Because girl groups are basically female friendships on steroids
“Stop” right now, because we have some very important Spice Girls news. On June 15, while performing their final show at London’s Wembley Stadium, Ginger Spice—a.k.a. Geri Horner (neé Halliwell)—took the opportunity to apologize to both fans and her BFFs (minus Victoria Beckham) for leaving the iconic girl group at the height of their fame in 1998. ICYMI, more than 20 years ago, everyone’s favourite redheaded Spice Girl abandoned the group during their world tour. The group went on hiatus in 2000. It was devastating.
“I need to say something I should have said a long time ago,” Horner told the packed stadium. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I left. I was just being a brat. It is so good to be back with the girls that I love.”
All I have to say is I “Wannabe” part of this friend group A.S.A.P.
Aside from being a sentimental AF moment, Ginger Spice’s apology—and the Spice Girls acceptance of it—highlighted one of the best parts of adult, female friendships: The ability to forgive. It’s a realization that comes with time and—as cliché as it sounds—wisdom.
But Ginger, and the Spice Girls, aren’t the first girl group to inadvertently dole out some serious lessons on being BFFs. If anything, Horner’s apology reminded me that these groups, which are essentially female friendships on steroids, can teach us a lot about ourselves and our BFFs.
Here is everything I’ve learned from some of my fave girl groups:
The Spice Girls taught me about forgiveness
FYI, female friendships are super complicated. Throw five girls into the mix, life on the road, and always being in close proximity to each other and there’s bound to be some missteps. I should know, I lived with five other girls in university—it was… a lot.
So can we really blame Ginger Spice, arguably the most famous Spice gal at the time, for wanting to branch out and make it on her own? No, but also yes. I mean it was a *little* selfish.
But, while we’re sure that the other Spices weren’t super thrilled about her departure, the crew continued to support each other in their own careers. I mean, you don’t just encounter aliens with someone and then completely throw that friendship away.
And, in the end, the girls all came back to each other, with the other women clearly accepting Horner’s on-stage apology, as well as her May 2017 tweet, because you don’t go on a reunion tour, filled with nostalgia and lots of one-on-one time, with someone you hate.
This idea of forgiveness and reconcilement is relatable AF, and something I’ve also recently learned with some of my own friendships. True friendships will allow you to disagree, fight and *seriously* hate each other for a period of time, because you know that—in the end—you’ll always be good with your BFF. These bonds will withstand the rocky bits, because the rocky bits don’t define the whole friendship, they’re just a part of it. And if you want someone in your life—or on your multi-million-dollar tour—you guys will work it out, and sometimes that means apology and acceptance.
The Spice Girls are proof that friendship truly never ends, and it also forgives. Zig-a-zig-ah!
Destiny’s Child taught me about competition
We all know Queen Beyoncé Knowles Carter rules, but for Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, Bey’s crown cast a *large* shadow. There’s no denying that all the women of Destiny’s Child are gorgeous, smart, talented and bring their own talent to the table, but it’s inevitable that when you get a group of women together—people are going to judge, and often compare, them to one another, especially on a national stage.
In her 2013 single “Dirty Laundry,” Rowland addressed the complicated feelings that come from being in your friend’s shadow, and her own jealousy over Bey’s success after the group split in 2005, singing: “While my sister was on stage, killing it like a motherf-cker/I was enraged, feeling it like a motherf-cker.” Later in the song, Rowland directly referred to Queen B, and an abusive partner who turned her against her BFF, telling her that no one cared about her: “especially not Bey.”
And TBH, Kelly girl, I feel ya. Who among us *hasn’t* felt like they’re the “background” friend of the group (or God forbid, the seriously problematically titled DUFF)? I once had a friend describe me as a “grow-er not a show-er” when it came to my personality (ie: gets better with time, the more you get to know me). Which is…true, but I don’t *love* it. Especially because my friends are all Beyoncé’s.
But, as Rowland pointed out, she was super upfront about her insecurities with Bey, but could also see beyond them: “What matters to me most is what we have,” she said in a 2013 Glamour interview. “I’m so grateful for what we have as sisters…Away from Destiny’s Child.”
And if Rowland’s own success, and the women’s continued support for each other show us anything, it’s that there’s room for everyone to shine.
TLC taught me about sticking together
From the iconic ladies who warned us to stay away from scrubs, came another life lesson, albeit learned in a seriously sad way. As one of the most successful R&B groups of the ’90s, TLC was marred by tragedy when group member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was killed in a car accident in 2002.
In a September 2017 interview, remaining members Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins talked about the tragedy, their decision not to replace Lopes and making music together after her death to honour her.
“There’s nobody that could ever get in this group, we would never, ever consider it,” Thomas said. “We will always make sure Lisa lives on through us in that group.”
“I think it’s a special combination,” Watkins continued. “TLC, you couldn’t package that if you even tried, because it was one of those one-time things, where the chemistry was flawless… It was something special, it wasn’t like an average group.”
It’s a great lesson to remember: What you and your BFFs have is one of a kind and irreplaceable. So honour it. And, in both the good times and the bad, it’s important to stick together.
From another iconic girl group to all of us: