Prompted by the recent reunion of the Spice Girls, a friend asked me who my teenage role models had been.
I was a teenager in the mid-nineties, when the charts were awash with a glorious wave of male guitar bands known as Britpop. Oh, how I miss it.
With Britney Spears and MTV hyper-sexualisation on the horizon, my budding feminist mind hadn’t yet woken up to the realities of female stereotyping. Alanis Morrissette was shouting about irony, and boyfriends she was quite angry with. I wasn’t fooled by the Spice Girls and their loose concepts of ‘Girl Power’. They never quite cut it as role models for me and my friends.
So, as I swigged a beer and pondered this question, one face and one unmistakeable voice floated to the front of my mind.
Liam Gallagher. I wanted to be Liam Gallagher.
That’s right. The rude, arrogant, mono-browed lead singer of the biggest band of the nineties: Liam-bloody-Gallagher.
He ended every night out with a fist fight. He swaggered about, telling people to eff off. He told everyone he was the best, and he believed it. He was a ball of chaotic malevolence.
Did I want to be like that, and do all those things? No. Well, maybe a little bit.
But I admired his unapologetic desire to be nothing but himself. To be entirely self-defined.
As a teenager, you feel invincible. You need to. At a time when your personality is starting to refine, you need to feel protected from judgement. You need to feel that you can do or be anything. And Liam made me feel invincible.
But it never occurred to me that only a man could get away with that kind of arrogance.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve become much more aware of all the different ways and moments that society defines you. Especially women. We are relentlessly labelled and scrutinised.
And so when the labels and the scrutiny get to me most – I put on an Oasis track, I think of Liam and I remind myself that sometimes you just need to tell the world to eff off.
But maybe not quite as much as Liam did.