After the Spice Girls exploded onto the pop culture scene with their girl power message, many girl groups followed in their wake but none have had the same lasting affect on pop-culture. With kpop taking over the airwaves, we’re still to see if the Y2K girl group hype can come back or does America just hate girl groups.
The American music industry tried to recreate the Spice Girls success to no avail. We saw girl groups like No Secrets, Dream, and Play with no real purpose or personality other than the fact they were a group of girls that sang songs together.
Then came Little Mix and Fifth Harmony – while Little Mix have been one of England’s most successful and longest-standing girl groups, they never took off in America. Even Fifth Harmony didn’t stand the test of time, they just couldn’t get the girl group dynamic down like Little Mix or other British girl groups before them had.
Meanwhile, the kpop industry has had wildly successful girl groups from Girls Generation and 2NE1 to Twice and Red Velvet. But outside of kpop fandom, Black Pink are one of the few to leave a mark on the American music industry, having performed at Coachella and collaborated with the likes of Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, and Dua Lipa.
So what does Korea get right about girl groups? And will America ever be able to get on board with a group of girls promoting empowerment?
Did you enjoy this episode? Here are a few others we think you might enjoy: When Cultures Collide: Kpop, Western Fans & Fetishization (with Dr. Thomas Baudinette) & Spice Girls: The Group That Changed Feminism and The Media Forever
Does America Hate Girl Groups? From Y2K to KPOP
Serious question: where are all the girl groups? (FADER, Sasha Geffen, June 2018)
Why Can’t Modern Girl Groups Land a Radio Hit? (Billboard, Joe Lynch, 2015)
The state of girl groups, 20 years after the Spice Girls (USA Today, Maeve McDermott, 2016)
Turns Out, Being Fifth Harmony, America’s Last Remaining Girl Group, Kinda Sucks (Vulture, Dee Lockett, 2016)
10 Forgotten Pop Girl Groups From The ’90s And ’00s (The Things, Julia Delois, 2021)
how girl power made us who we are today (i-D, Stevie Mackenzie-Smith, 2016)
The waves of feminism, and why people keep fighting over them, explained (Vox, Constance Grady, 2018)
Will a K-Pop Girl Group Take Over the U.S. Soon (Or Ever)? (Billboard, Jeff Benjamin, March 2015)
How Blackpink Became The Biggest K-Pop Girl Band On The Planet (Vogue UK, Taylor Glasby, May 2020)
Why K-pop girl groups like Twice, Blackpink and Red Velvet are game-changers in a boy band-led industry (South China Morning Post, Dong Sun-hwa, May 2020)
The ratio of female and male fans who buy girl group albums (Allkpop, Sophie-Ha, Feb 2022)
What’s a girl crush concept? (Fashion Chingu)
Female Empowerment or Exploitation? (The Harvard Crimson, Soyoung Kim, 2013)
Manufactured Girl Power: Female Empowerment in a Male-Powered Industry (SeoulBeats, 2012)
Why Women Don’t Always Support Other Women (Forbes, Dr Shawn Andrews, 2021)
Why do some women have such a hard time making friends: Nature or nurture? (Psychology Today, Irene S Levine Ph.D., 2010)
Why Women (Sometimes) Don’t Help Other Women (The Atlantic, Marianne Cooper, 2016)