The Names of the Spice Girls: Explained

Can’t you just hearing yourself singing along? I know I can! But what’s with those names? And which one was which? And why? Answers lie within.

Who are the Spice Girls?

spice-girls-small-bannerThe Spice Girls were a pop girl group from London, England, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Commonwealth of Nations, Under the Benevolent Leadership of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of Antigua and Barbuda, of Australia, of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, of Barbados, of Belize, du Canada, of Granada, of Jamaica, of New Zealand, of Papua New Guinea, of Saint Christopher and Nevis, of Saint Lucia, of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, of Solomon Islands, and of Tuvalu, Mother of All People, Missis Queen, Admiral of the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska, Duke of Normandy, Lord of Mann, paramount chief of Fiji, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, and the White Heron of the Maori.

The Spice Girls were active from 1994 to 2000. They sang the “Wannabe” song and made a movie that’s better than everyone says it is, except for people in the know, who say it’s alright.

Why do the Spice Girls have Spice Girl names?

To tell them apart, and to imbue the act of liking them with a sense of choice and self-expression. Also to create a sense of connection and commonality among them, when they were mostly together because they had answered the same a magazine advertisement.

What are the Spice Girls’ real names?

They are lost to time.

Who is Scary Spice?

Scary Spice is confrontational. She is aggressive and intimidating. She has a demonstrative and oversized hairdo. She wore lots of tight, midriff-baring halters, tube tops and crop tops and jumped around a lot, which any woman can confirm is a scary thing to do. She was initially named by Brian Herbert, the son of Dune author Frank Herbert, who termed her “The Mind Killer” after he met her at an industry event and was so enthralled with her charisma and sex appeal that he later forgot where he had parked his car. The name was shortened to Scary Spice by master of horror Stephen King, who had read Dune and is pithier with language.

Scary Spice is also scary because she is Black. This makes people uncomfortable and nobody ever talks about it.

Who is Baby Spice?

Baby Spice is the youngest Spice Girl, at 39 years old at the time of this writing. But she was also the youngest Spice Girl when the group formed in 1994.

Baby Spice is infantilized by the Spice Girls as a commentary on the methods of oppression that patriarchal society enacts not just materially or physically, but psychologically, on women. She is broadly considered to be a biting, deeply ironic, even sardonic take on late 90s excess and marginalization. She is thus the favorite Spice Girl of Supreme Court Justice Ruther Bader Ginsburg, who has honorary Doctor of Law degrees from Harvard, Princeton and Wilamette Universities, in addition to her  Legum Baccalaureus from Columbia University and her Bachelor of Arts from Cornell.

While this might not be clear now, everybody knew, at the time, Baby Spice was not actually a baby, but instead an 18-year old woman dressed up to look 13 years old. This makes people uncomfortable and nobody ever talks about it.

Who is Ginger Spice?

#RealTalk: Until 2014, I seriously did not realize that Ginger Spice was called Ginger Spice because she had red hair. Up until that point, because Ginger Spice had a voluptuous figure and was the oldest and most mature Spice Girl, I had assumed the name had something to do with baking, or with the aroma or flavor of cookies. In retrospect, I am ashamed of myself and can’t tolerate my own company.

Ginger Spice was called Ginger Spice because she had red hair. It does not matter whether her red hair was natural or not; the Spice Girls did not exist in the realm of the natural. Something something authenticity and artifice, something something pre-9/11 world.

Who is Posh Spice?

According to, the common derivation of “posh” as seaboard passenger slang for “port outward, starboard home” – the sides of the ship you would want your cabin to be if you were sailing to India, so that you weren’t facing the sun – has no evidence to support it. Instead the word “Posh” meaning “fancy, upper-class or luxurious” comes from the old Romani (Gypsy, to the old or unkind) word for “half” — as in the early 1800s, money in Britain was still named fractionally (halfpennies, farthings, etc.), even though the country was on the gold standard. So, a halfpenny was called a half, which came to be slang for money, which came to be slang for things that cost money.

Posh Spice was named Posh for the original etymology: because she is half Roma. This makes everyone uncomfortable, so literally nobody has ever talked about it until this moment. She is married to American soccer star Landon Donovan.

Who is Sporty Spice?

Sporty Spice is the best singer in the Spice Girls. All the Spice Girls have been successful at stuff since the band broke up during the Y2K catastrophe, but Sporty Spice is by far the most successful commercially as a solo musical artist (as opposed to sitcom actress, reality show star, children’s book author, or Eddie Murphy enthusiast). She still tours, she still makes songs and albums, and she is the only Spice Girl to be individually impacted by the rise of mp3s.

At the first meeting of the Spice Girls, in Winston Churchill’s preserved WWII bunker, all the girls asked why they wanted to be in a girl group that would change the world.

The nameless cartwheeler said, “To make music.”

The shadowy figure at the head of the table said, “Well, aren’t you a sport.”

And the rest was history.

What do I do now? Where do I go?

Is the freedom to choose a favorite Spice Girl a liberation, or merely additional slack on a further pair of chains? And are we also now bound by the chains of history, as these glittery remembrances of things past bear back deeper and deeper into the unreality of that abstraction called “the past?” Or does the curvature of space time come back on itself, making the curvature on display in the “Say You’ll Be There” video not absent, but distant, and destined someday to return?

Can we ever truly embrace the present moment? Or must we know it only in reflection? By the things it knows? Or the things it looks upon? The half-moments that dwell in the present’s ambient glow, or in its shadow?

“If you wannabe my lover,” said Eternity, “you’ve gotta get with my friends.”

One Comment on “The Names of the Spice Girls: Explained”

  1. Dee #

    This is gold


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