The "girl power" creed of the Spice Girls in the '90s was simple enough for their young fans to understand: Girls rule, and we can do what we want with our bodies. But as you can see in a recently unearthed behind-the-scenes video from the group's heyday, it was too complex for some men to grasp. The clip that began floating around Twitter this week was shot while the pop stars were making a commercial for Polaroid in which they played Catholic school girls getting kicked out by the nuns for some shocking snapshots. (A fuller behind-the-scenes video of this shoot has been around for a while, BTW.) Before the camera rolled, it appears that the art director or writer (the original video doesn't say which is which) asked Melanie Brown to alter her school uniform shirt to show more skin. "Why did you ask that, to have our cleavage shown and our midriff shown?" she confronts him, turning on her best Scary Spice. "It's every man's fantasy," he responds, and when she tells him to "fuck off," he turns to the camera and says, "That's showbiz."
This rouses other women's ire. "You're a chauvinistic pig. That's such an easy cop-out," Geri Halliwell says. That's when the fashionista then known as Victoria "Posh" Adams snatches his sunglasses off his head, quipping, "It's not sunny. Stop trying to look cool." The men seem truly baffled that these women, who did in fact wear cleavage- and midriff-baring costumes from time to time, would ever dare to refuse this request. Um, because they control their own bodies, perhaps? Also, they appear to have wanted a bit of authenticity to their schoolgirl characters. "If there's a good reason to do it, we'll think about it," Mel B says, challenging him to come up with a better excuse than needing to feed male fantasies. Halliwell questions the man's taste. "Have you not heard 'less is more,' anyway?" she asks. "At [your] age, you should know better by now, shouldn't you? You're in the advertising thing. What sort of example is that?" The clip concludes with the ladies leaving the set, and Mel B getting in one last jab at the offending guy. "And we especially thank you," she says. "He's the one who said, 'Can we have a bit of cleavage and midriff?' And we said, 'No.' Girl power!" They won, as you can see.