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How the 90s Pop Divas Shaped My Manhood

Buckle up, lads and ladies, as we embark on a nostalgic cruise down memory lane, guided by the iconic power ballads and epic sass of 90s pop divas.

By Nathan ChenPublished 4 months ago 4 min read
How the 90s Pop Divas Shaped My Manhood
Photo by Fallon Michael on Unsplash

When I was a lad, bobbing my head to the rhythm of Spice Girls' "Wannabe", I never imagined that these pop divas would end up shaping my perspective on life. Yes, you heard it right – my manhood owes a chunk of its formation to the queens of 90s pop. Like a shiny discoball, their songs reflected profound life lessons that I still cherish as an adult today.

First on my diva deck was the evergreen queen, Madonna. When I first saw her busting her moves in the "Vogue" video, I was just a baggy-jeans-wearing kid who thought he had the world figured out. But Madonna taught me to strike a pose, in life, not just on the dance floor. She taught me to embrace individuality and originality, showing me that it was okay to express my feelings openly. Thanks to her, I learned the power of vulnerability long before Brené Brown made it cool.

Then there was Mariah Carey, the powerhouse who could hit notes even dolphins would struggle to reach. Listening to "Hero", I learned that courage wasn't about the macho cliches. It wasn't about puffing out my chest or pretending to have everything under control. True bravery was about believing in oneself and weathering the storm, even if that storm was just trying to get through geometry class without falling asleep.

Let's not forget the Spice Girls. If you don't know who they are, you're probably living under a cultural rock. Their spirited anthem "Wannabe" served as the ultimate guidebook for relationships. "If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends," they sang, and it clicked – if someone wants to be in your life, they need to respect the people who matter to you. Simple as that. Also, they taught me that I could, indeed, spice up my life, one leopard print and platform shoe at a time.

Oh, and then there's Britney Spears – the iconic school-girl-turned-pop-princess. She made me realize that the bumpy road to adulthood is universal, irrespective of gender. In "Baby One More Time," I resonated with her longing for connection, feeling it deeply in my acne-riddled teenage soul. Britney, you taught me that it's okay to not have it all figured out and that making mistakes was all part of growing up.

By Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

And who could forget Celine Dion belting out "My Heart Will Go On" amidst the wreckage of the Titanic? As I practiced my own rendition in the shower, I was reminded that endurance and resilience were at the heart of survival – whether you're on a sinking ship or trying to navigate the tumultuous seas of high school.

The great 90s pop divas not only provided the soundtrack to my youth but also echoed life lessons in their anthems. They taught me that being a man is about embracing vulnerability, cultivating courage, valuing relationships, accepting imperfections, and fostering resilience.

No 90s pop discussion is complete without a shoutout to Alanis Morissette, whose "Ironic" lyrics taught me the real meaning of irony long before my English teacher even tried. Plus, if it wasn't for her, I'd still be confused about the difference between rain on your wedding day and a free ride when you've already paid. In a nutshell, Alanis demonstrated that life was full of unexpected turns, and dealing with them with a bit of humor and grace was the only way to keep one's sanity intact.

There's also TLC, their no-nonsense anthem "No Scrubs" showed me that self-respect was more than a trendy buzzword. It became a valuable lesson in setting boundaries and not settling for less than what I deserved. I learned that no, I don't want no scrubs, not in relationships and certainly not in life.

The lessons continued with Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle." As my friends and I tried to mimic her vocal runs, I learned the importance of respect in relationships. That it's not about rushing into things but about understanding and respecting the other person's boundaries. Not the kind of insight you'd expect to gain from a catchy pop tune, but that's the magic of the 90s divas!

And remember when Destiny's Child told us to "Say My Name"? It was a call to action for accountability and honesty in relationships. They taught me that anyone who's worth their salt should be able to stand up and be counted, both in love and life.

Let's be real, not all the wisdom came from the ladies. Remember Boyz II Men's "End of the Road?" That song taught me that saying goodbye, albeit painful, was a part of life. It underscored the fact that not all relationships are meant to last forever, and it's okay. Plus, their coordinated dance moves were a masterclass in team spirit.

As I reminisce about these 90s pop icons, I can't help but chuckle at how their lyrics, once just catchy tunes for my childhood shenanigans, turned out to be sage life lessons. They sang, I danced, and somewhere along the line, I evolved into the man I am today.

So here's a toast to the 90s divas, the unsung philosophers of my generation, for their catchy tunes and profound life lessons wrapped in glittery pop packages. May their music continue to illuminate the path for men and women alike, proving that there's wisdom to be found in even the unlikeliest of places.

Remember, no matter who you are or where you're from, there's always a pop anthem waiting to be your guiding light. All you've got to do is listen.

song reviewsindustryfeaturebands90s music80s music70s music

About the Creator

Nathan Chen

I'm Nathan Chen, a queer Asian writer advocating for LGBTQ+ issues, Asian representation, millennial lifestyle, work life & mental health. Let's explore life's complexities together!

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