The spice girls were the epitome of contoversy in their time. They were a girl power group that hadn't really been seen since the 80's, and they worked the pop music scene effectively. Their mix of feminine tones with sexual dance moves ensured that their female empowerment music would make an impact. The nude photos helped.
No, I do not believe that the Spice Girls were controversial in their time, because they were not very controversial, they were just provocative. The Spice Girls did not make any outlandish political statements, like the Dixie Chicks did. They dressed inappropriately, but that is every women's pop singer or group anymore.
The Spice Girls were in the 90s. This was 30 plus years after the sexual revolutions in the 1960s, and way after religion started to decline in the United States. I do not think they were controversial at all. They were just another 90s pop band on the radio all the time.
No, the Spice Girls were not controversial in their time. The spice girls were no more controversial that any other band of their time. Controversy surround all famous people and some stand out as more controversial. The Spice Girls never did anything that really moved them above and beyond to major controversies.
The Spice Girls were not controversial at all. I find it odd that some in the 90's perceived them as being provocative as they weren't even a fraction as provocative as Madonna, Britney Spears or other contemporaries. If "girl power" is controversial, then that says something very sad about the culture and the way of thinking here in the United States.