Not even close.
It’s important to have a bevy of primary sources to fall back on. For some people, that means a trip to the library. For me, that means a trip through my shockingly accurate memory of every issue of Allure published in the early 2000’s.
One such issue included a cover and photo shoot with Britney Spears from 2007, who at that point in her life was going through some not-so-savory moments. There was no interview accompanying the article, however; Spears never made it to any of her interviews, and so Judith Newman wrote about not getting a chance to talk to the “troubled starlet” (not her words, just words we’re all familiar with).
Yet when faced with a similar dilemma — not getting the story you want — this month’s issue of Marie Claire chose not to use the real story. Instead, they took their interview with Kim Kardashian, which was done before she broke up with her husband, and spun it to make it seem as though she talks about, according to the cover “What went on in her crazy marriage”, a tactic commonly used in tabloid magazines.
What story would I read? What she was saying right before she divorced Kris, and what she’s saying — or not saying — now. Except that Marie Claire tells me if I want to read it all, I’ll have to buy the issue. Unfortunately, what they’ve given me to go on now isn’t enough to see if they actually did a nice follow-through in that hard-bound, beautiful copy that will not spend from here to eternity under my bed.
Remember when Britney was the second coming of Madonna? When Madonna wore shirts that said “Britney Spears” on them? When they made out (forget that Xtina did it too)? When it was Britney (Me) against Madonna (the Music)? Now it’s all about Lady Gaga, which begs the question — who is Madonna the second coming of? Is she the first original ever? Discuss.
In order to help you decide, listen to Britney’s cover of “Burning Up”, and watch the latest viral video of Madonna’a “Vogue”, which happens to take place against an awesome greenscreen of my childhood home in the distance.
Updated: Whoops! We were missing the goods for awhile.
I aim to feel like this always.
“The biotch is back, and better than ever”, Giuliana tells us. As we know, if Giuliana says so, it must be true.
“It’s Britney, bitch” was THE catchphrase from Ms. Spears’ “Gimme More” track off of her album Blackout, released in 2007. The track will forever be associated with a disastorous performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, as Spears tried to rehabilitate her image after several years of very public personal struggles that had distracted from any talent she had as an entertainer. Since then, “It’s Britney, bitch”, called a “defiant, unnecessary assertion” by James Hannaham of Salon, has become somewhat a catchphrase of our time (or that time in 2007). The implication of this particular lyric is bold: we are the bitch(es), and she is Britney. In his review, Hannaham agreed, asking “What did she call us? Surely anyone who has seen a magazine in the past five years knows that she is our bitch. Our head-shaving, drug-abusing, rehab-escaping, ProTools-needing, coochie-flashing, K-Fed-marrying, K-Fed-divorcing, child-welfare-endangering, bonkers-going, MTV Video Music Awards-appearance-flubbing bitch.”
Time have changed. In this new cover for V Magazine, however, the implication seems to have changed: she is the bitch and we are merely…ourselves? From E! News via ONTD:
If we’ve learned anything from this linguistic switch, it’s that we’re all bitches. Britney included.
And Glee is showcasing it all next week. Maybe her greatest hits, plus a cameo, plus Heather Morris, will make me not give up on this show, like I did that other G show Gossip Girl at the end of Season 2.
I’ve recently happened upon two blogs that are dealing with the issue of women’s appearance, and grappling with how or if we should give it the time of day. One is Helen Razer’s blog Bad Hostess, and the other is a woman from Virginia who’s unnamed, but describes herself as “A writer by day, beauty school student by night.”
Razer, a Austrailian-based writer and radio personality, has a biting wit which I appreciate. But her one post that has been pretty violently attacked, was entitled “Britney, Bikinis & Bougeois ‘Body Image’ Feminism.” Right from the get-go, I feared I would not agree with Razer. The very title of her post seemed to contradict much of what I’ve been arguing for the past year (mainly, that the biggest problem facing feminism is not pay discrepancy or even reproductive rights, but the deeply-rooted inequalities seen in the relationships that men and women have with the way they look, the way they should look, and the ramifications these answers have for all lives).
Razer starts off by discussing Britney Spears, who has recently been praised for releasing an unedited photo of herself alongside the retouched ad photo, from her latest campaign for Candies. Razer says:
“My own view is that such “real”, “bold” images are every bit as useful to the ongoing feminist struggle as, say, a discount voucher for a push-up bra. Pictures of gorgeous ladies looking a little less gorgeous than they normally might serve no real civic purpose beyond selling product.
I recall an era when feminism’s purview was not limited to banging on about the need for more fat chicks in glossy magazines. While others fight for the right to force-feed Kate Moss, I continue antique fretting over equal pay, domestic violence and federal representation. At 40, I am old and clearly out of step with a movement that demands Size 14 representation. And, at 40, I am quite inured to life in a nation that tolerates only the merest debate on feminism.”
In her comments, Razer does explain that she does believe that “bodies are central to debate.” But I think we can’t just consider these issues frivolous. The bigger problem is, of course, why Britney Spears has to take her clothes off to sell shoes in the first place. But the bigger, bigger issue is, what are the really unnoticed differences we perceive between men and women that we don’t consider on a daily basis? That’s why I think these issues matter. It’s not because of individual problems with body image. It’s about looking at why these things matter to us in the first place, and how they are dividing people. That’s why blogs like The Beauty School Project: because they’re “An investigation into the price we pay for pretty.” And it’s the “why?” behind that price is fascinating, and potentially revelatory.