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It's Britney, Bitch [blog readers].

We are currently moving about one million boxes of magazines around in the office, so I am going to pass the responsibility of critiquing this piece of pop culture on to you lovely people. What do you think? Is Britney back? Do you care? What is your response, as a super-smart feminist (which you obviously are), to this video? What do you think about Ms. Britney outselling both Kanye West and (Bitch fan) Stephen Colbert earlier this week?

Get to it!

 

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Comments

18 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Britney is a Construct...

I admit that I am guilty of being continuously fascinated with Britney or perhaps I am more fascinated by the amount of fascination she garners from others and so I watch her closely to be able to understand it. Now that she has hit a "peak" after being in a media criticized-valley for such a long time, it seems like she hasn't grown as a person or as a performer but simply went back to being constructed by the media, her handlers and her record company. Britney, in the way that pop culture understands her, isn't real. Her physical appearance, sexuality, and especially her music have all been carefully calculated and constructed by others to appeal to a vast audience which may or may not be a reflection of Britney at all. When she had her breakdown earlier and was making her own decisions, she ran into trouble so the solution wasn't to get her help to be able to make better decisions but to return the power back to others so that she doesn't have to.

Womanizer?

One of the problems I have with this video is that Britney claimed it would be an anthem of sorts for girls. But the video isn't so much about how the guy is playing girls; it's about Britney being naked and how hot she can be in a bunch of different outfits. I'm all for her coming back and getting her body back, if that's what she really wanted. But I agree she seems to be back under the power of the people's/producer's construction. Do any of us know what Britney really wants, what she's doing on her own terms or because it's what people want to see...?

or maybe I didn't watch the video, but I saw "Womanizer" before the album came out...

Hmm.

The video above doesn't work anymore, so I went here- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZSLIq6YiRY - to check it out. Britney really is a weird product. She seems sort of oddly stiff at times, and I kept marveling at how willing we seem to be to forget how seriously messed up she's been for the pat few years and cheer her on as a pop icon again. But she has kids! She made this video and she has two little boys. Hmm.

I know! Stupid links.

I am working to get the video embedded again, but it looks like (for now) everyone will have to click on the link Leona posted and watch the video on YouTube. Sorry about that!

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

It's sad, but yes Brit is back

Obviously Spears is back and exactly the same as before. The young woman who has been plagued with emotional and mental disorders has just shown she's on the road for another melt down by being a "womanizer" to herself. There was not an ounce of self-respect or cognizant thought (what these images will offer to young girls' self-esteem) present in this reintroduction of Brittany to the world. As a feminist, it bums me out. The culture, of course, was more than excited to see what this unpredictable starlett would do, and in my opinion, she, sadly, picked right up where she left off choosing sex over substance. I don't doubt that Brittany could be an amazing artist, but she obviously needs to leave the bright false lights of L.A., and find her strong, creative, brainy alter-ego.

Britney and her drug babies

Come on, why are we honoring her? Why do you think she shaved her head? To avoid drug testing. Why do you think she lost custody? The celebs who know how to do it go out of country to have their babies, i.e. Anna Nicole. If your baby comes up testing with drugs, you are in lots of trouble in the states.

Why do we hate so much?

All of the comments that have been posted thusfar (or, at least those that I have read) have been pretty negative, either attacking Britney as a person, or her "handlers," or both.

Why do y'all think we insist on hating so much? If I looked that good, I'd probably want to look sparklynaked, too.

Shouldn't we be happy that she's at least publicly seemed to pick herself up and come back to be pretty successful? Why do we assume that, just because she's Britney Spears, her recuperation couldn't possibly have been "real?" If we had friends, or if we, ourselves, had personal problems 18 months ago and had had time to regrow since then, would we want our communities to assume that our new successes were fake and that we were, deep down, unhappy?

Ifshe were a male musician, would we still dissect his personal life so much, or would we evaluate him on his job -- entertainment -- and cut him some slack? I would be fortunate indeed to have as much success in my professional life as her past five singles have brought to hers.

Is Britney Spears anywhere near the epitome of "girl power?" Doubtful. But how constructive is it for us to sit here on our Mapples and rip her to shreds for being too sexy, too constructed, too palatable? If we have such problems with her, why don't we offer some constructive criticism, instead of just calling her a useless slut? And, while we're at it, why don't we celebrate her numerous successes and publicize them instead of just focusing on the negative? There's enough misogynists and haters out there bringing her negativity to light without so-called feminists adding fuel to the fire.

It seems to be that it's the antithesis of feminism to ASSUME that she, as a woman, plays no substantive role in her own construction, just because some of us don't like what we see.

Wow

Kari, I really like what you said. It's wisely said, and objective. Yeah she had problems in her live. But her life is so hard. She is a pop icon and she assumes it. And I truly think that she is a good person, and a really good artist. So thanksm, Kari for what you said!

Why do we hate so much?

All of the comments that have been posted thusfar (or, at least those that I have read) have been pretty negative, either attacking Britney as a person, or her "handlers," or both.

Why do y'all think we insist on hating so much? If I looked that good, I'd probably want to look sparklynaked, too.

Shouldn't we be happy that she's at least publicly seemed to pick herself up and come back to be pretty successful? Why do we assume that, just because she's Britney Spears, her recuperation couldn't possibly have been "real?" If we had friends, or if we, ourselves, had personal problems 18 months ago and had had time to regrow since then, would we want our communities to assume that our new successes were fake and that we were, deep down, unhappy?

If she were a male musician, would we still dissect his personal life so much, or would we evaluate him on his job -- entertainment -- and cut him some slack? I would be fortunate indeed to have as much success in my professional life as her past five singles have brought to hers.

Is Britney Spears anywhere near the epitome of "girl power?" Doubtful. But how constructive is it for us to sit here on our Mapples and rip her to shreds for being too sexy, too constructed, too palatable? If we have such problems with her, why don't we offer some constructive criticism, instead of just calling her a useless slut? And, while we're at it, why don't we celebrate her numerous successes and publicize them instead of just focusing on the negative? There's enough misogynists and haters out there bringing her negativity to light without so-called feminists adding fuel to the fire.

It seems to be that it's the antithesis of feminism to ASSUME that she, as a woman, plays no substantive role in her own construction, just because some of us don't like what we see.

Dear Kari: You wrote: Why do

Dear Kari:

You wrote: Why do y'all think we insist on hating so much?

Hate is not disrespectful. I don't interfere with Britney's basic rights as a human to life and freedom (read my comments below), but no one is born with the right to be liked. I will also allow her the right to express herself as she sees fit, but she has no right to demand that I like her expressions. I would not attack her in the street, or talk rudely to her, but, it's against my rights of freedom to be forced to not hate her. I hate Britney because she does harm to society

You wrote: If I looked that good, I'd probably want to look sparklynaked, too.

I don't mean any disrespect by this, but I am curious: Why? Why would you want to be naked simply because you look good? I'm sincerely curious and won't judge you on your response. What is good about being naked in a public sexual context? Personally, I would be embarrassed to portray myself the way Britney does, whether or not I looked good.

You wrote: If we had friends, or if we, ourselves, had personal problems 18 months ago and had had time to regrow since then, would we want our communities to assume that our new successes were fake and that we were, deep down, unhappy?

I'm not judging Britney on her suffering and drug addictions, they are her own problems. However, I am entitled to believe that she has not "regrown" and that considering her very public fluctuating weight problems, her lack of custody over her children, and her apparent lack of awareness over the meaning behind her image that she isn't happy or content with life. It's just my opinion. My opinions don't mean that I'll interfere with Britney's basic life rights. The two are not the same.

You wrote: why don't we offer some constructive criticism?

This is a very caring sentiment. I can see that you are a caring person who cares about others, but the reality is that Britney doesn't want our thoughts. She doesn't have the ability to understand that harm she does, and she glorifies an image that does harm to people and believes that it's the right thing to do. Somewhere along the line we must accept the reality that not every person is on the same level and that not every person has the ability to reflect on life and consider the meaning of who they are.

Take care.

Dear BLDSTRM, Thank you for

Dear BLDSTRM,

Thank you for posting in response to my questions! Here's my response, listed for brevity; please don't take the (hopefully) short diction as disrespect, because I agree with the vast majority of what you're saying and you seem like a balanced and thoughtful person.

1. I did write, "Why do you think we insist on hating so much," not, "hate is bad." I think it's interesting that we spend a lot more time (myself included) latching onto stuff we find bad than stuff we find good. Or, even, that we spend so much time trashing Britney, for example, and no time giving her kudos for anything whatsoever. I mean, it's not like just feminists trash Britney; isn't it sort of America's pastime? :) We don't have a monopoly on Britney-trashing, but when I was a teenager I really hated Britney, and then I kind of got over it, because I felt like I spent too much time hating on lots of crappy stuff and not enough time thinking of solutions. (That said, I'm still pretty sure Cosmo is the devil incarnate and can't really think of anything positive to say about it...)

2. The sparklynaked comment was a half-joke, which I suppose I should've noted at the time, seeing as I'm not actually talking. One, I do look that good, I swear! :), but seriously though, maybe it's terrible, but as a 22-year-old now, sure, I'm an intellectual, I'm a feminist, I'm a teacher, I'm literate, etc., but I also like how I look and I don't think it's such a bad thing to celebrate our bodies if we like them. After all, I celebrate my professional and personal achievements, so why shouldn't I be happy about that, as well?

I don't think you're saying I should be ashamed of my body, but I see where you're coming from about hypersexualizing myself. At the same time, I think it comes back to that old argument, "Well, she deserved to get raped, because her jeans were too tight." I don't think that should be where we focus the blame. I don't have a problem with tight jeans, or attractive bodies; I do have a problem with blaming the attractor for the ensuing violence (physical, mental, societal, whatever).

3. Why do you think Britney doesn't want our thoughts? Do you think anyone around her, whom she actually trusts and respects, has ever seriously offered her a feminist perspective on her persona? Maybe she hasn't been as fortunate as we have in having the life experiences that (hopefully) have allowed us a more balanced view of our self-representation affects others. She may or may not have a responsibility to "do better."

At the same time, I think it may be a bit unfair (yeah yeah, life isn't fair) to say that "she doesn't want our thoughts...[and] doesn't have the ability to understand the harm that she does." We do know her actions, but saying she's mentally incapable seems overly harsh. How can we judge her so harshly and say she's incapable if she's never even gotten the chance? After all, she is a Louisana girl with less than a high school education. Ignorance isn't the same thing as inability or maliciousness.

(You know what they say about Louisiana...last in education, first in football!)
^snarky

Addendum

I forgot to mention this earlier, but most of why I even posted in the first place was so that we could at least get another opinion out here! (I think this is actually the first time I've ever commented on a blog, so woo woo.)

Don't get me wrong; hating is fun. I will hate on Sarah Palin all day long. But to me, Britney Spears is an entertainer, and Palin's a politican. Britney's supposed to sing and dance and look pretty, so I don't hold her to a particularly high standard. But Palin...she should just know better.

Her, and I do quite enjoy hating on Bratz dolls. I can't imagine ever wanting to give a child something named a Brat. I mean, what the hell???

Rambling on...

Greetings again! I'm also happy to get a reply. In real life people just say, "Who cares about that?"

You wrote: I don't think you're saying I should be ashamed of my body, but I see where you're coming from about hypersexualizing myself.

When I think about it, I'm not against people portraying an oversexualised image if it's what they want to do (freedom is the most important thing) but I'm interested in why they would want to in the first place. I'm interested in what anyone, Britney included, would get out of being seen as generically super-sexy. I know she gets a sense of power from being seen as so amazingly sexy, but why would anyone want power that rests on the opinions of others, because it can be taken away at any moment? I, like you, also like to be seen as attractive to those I'd like to attract. I'm fit, healthy and spend a fair bit of money on hair products or clothes. I find long, dark hair and slim, strong bodies with tattoos attractive. I want to look like what I see as attractive so that people similar to me will be able to look at me and know that I'm like them. Everyone puts forward an expression of who they are for the target group they're trying to attract.

Britney's image though, is to appear as generically sexually attractive to as many people as possible. Her image has been watered down as not to threaten the appeal of anyone. I realise that this makes people hate her too, but this hate is because she IS attractive. I wouldn't hate her if others didn't find her attractive. I find Britney reasonably attractive (if not a bit too boring) myself. It's just that I believe this attraction to her isn't healthy. I don't think it's healthy to be attracted to someone just because they look weak enough that we can get what we want from them. Britney encourages me to look at others for what I can get out of them.

I believe that "anger" is the sensation of fighting against something that has the possibility of causing us pain, and Britney encouraging me to see other selfishly will cause me pain in the future because it will help us all create a world not worth living in. This is a selfish anger, because I don't want to live in a world where others are hostile and frustrated. Britney is not anti-female, she's anti-human. She's a humanist issue because she encourages bad treatment of others. If "anger" is a response that comes as a result of something that may cause me pain, then I'm going to be feeling angry at Britney a lot, as she's everywhere I go: Her face markets products at the shopping mall, her voice is on the radio everywhere I turn, I hear about her on the TV and most people I know adore her and her music. I'm angry at her for creating music like this, but I'm more angry at the people who buy it. As consumers we have a powerful force at our hands that can change the world: our spending habits. If we don't buy something, no more of it will be produced. Perhaps you're right, we should stop directing our rage at Britney -instead we should direct it at the consumers, as they are the ones driving this force.

As for Britney's mental abilities, I simply just don't believe that she has the ability to reflect on her life. I have seen a few TV interviews with her, and to me, she really just doesn't seem to understand ("she once asked: Why do people hate me so much? There are other singers who act provocatively?"). She really seems to not understand. Whether this is because she got no chance, or any other reason outside her control, it doesn't matter. She really seems incapable of reflecting on her life. I didn't get an education either. I was homeless in my youth, and so I understand that life circumstances matter. I wouldn't disrespect Britney if it turned out that she really couldn't understand what's going on it her life, but just because a person doesn't understand the reasons doesn't take back the consequences (If I walk into a dark room, bump a table and smash a vase, it's still broken. It might not be my fault, but it's still a consequence). Britney is living in a world of her own creation; she bases her whole image on being sexy, so of course she's going to suffer as she gets older and less attractive. It was probably hell for her trying to be a mum and still try to maintain an image of vulnerable sexiness, because the two are somewhat incompatible. She probably went crazy because people were seeing her as less sexy and she was desperate to get that image back.

But, you're right. Hate is just hate, and we'd be better off discussing these things and what's behind them.

You mentioned "Comso" magazine. It's funny really, because I picked up last month's issue out of curiosity, because I haven't read the magazine in years. I really love fashion and this one promised a whole issue of new fashions (which I should have realised meant new "mainstream" fashion) and I was pretty much stunned how much sex there is in the magazine. There were pages and pages of detailed things that you can do to your partner. It made me squeamish. I'm the most depraved person on the planet, so it was pretty bad to make me this squeamish. I just thought: We say that women have come a long way from the marriages of the past where they simply had to have sex on demand, but have we? Then, you could just lie there. Now women are supposed to be the most exciting, adventurous, crazy sex partners. I honestly couldn't think of anything worse than having to put that much effort into sex. Geez, if our male ancestors had needed so much stimulation to get going as these articles claim, the human race would have died out.

As for "Bratz" dolls. I think a lot about kids toys, because I have kids. One thing I noticed more than toys is kids movies. Even the most tame kids movies have a very adult male perspective -A young girl sees a boy and thinks he's cute. Do girls think like that, or is that how adult men think that young girl see things? When I was younger I couldn't care less about boys, and when I did look at them as I got older, it was more like: "He'd make cute babies" not that I wanted to date him, just have his kids. I was baby crazy, not boy-crazy. I wish I could find a kids movie where the girls aren't attractive to men, such as old women, or girls with piercings. Did you ever see the movie "Thirteen"? Everyone was saying how awful it was that girls act that way, but I thought the girls were actually very feminist characters -They were strong, they did what they want and screw the adults, and they took the adult sexual world and threw it on it's head by taking it to the extreme. They might have crashed at the end, but isn't that what life's like? At least they tried to get what they thought they wanted. I was like that as a kid and girls like that are very unattractive to men who don't like girls with piercings and a rough attitude. Male friends of mine said that those two girls were awful sluts and that they were unfeminine. I happen to think that they were very female, because females are much rougher and filthier than what the "natural" female looks like. In fact, when men say that they just want to find a normal, natural women, not someone who's trying to be like a man, I say: "The tribal women in Africa, with their piercings, scars and boobs hanging over their pot-bellies are the most natural women, but, do you find them sexy?" What guys think of as "natural" has nothing to do with nature. The plain, boring, clean, ordinary looking women is not natural, she's just... boring. Real women have character and don't look anything like what we call "an ordinary, natural woman".

Take care, and I'd love to hear more from you, about anything.

An opinion may well be like an asshole, but here's mine anyway..

Why is everyone being so nice about Britney? I may be a grumpy old A-hole -I can live with that- but what Britney portrays is just plain harmful trash & ho. Don't get me wrong, I respect everyone as a person, and I don't believe in censorship -Freedom of speech matters- but don't ask me to call her nice names when I believe her image of femininity is tearing society to shreds. She's disgusting. Why should I be bloody nice about it? I'm a nice person, but nice people can hate something too.

Britney, quite simply, portrays weakness. Everyone, both men and women, have a soft spot for images of weakness because they are no threat to us. We can get whatever closeness, intimacy, or sex from these people that we want, because they are weak and passive. Fair enough. Most of my sex fantasies over the years have involved weak people too. Weakness is sexy because we can get what we want from it. I can live with that. But this is a FANTASY. It's a construct of our heads and we have no damn right to enforce it on any real person. We may like this vision of a person, but we have no right to look for it in real people, and Britney glorifies weakness. She makes it seem like something that a real person could be. Britney glorifies her own image.

Britney's human and has free will, so if this is what she wants to do, fine, but don't ask me to respect a person who thinks it's an alright thing to do to get up and glorify being unnaturally weak and making people believe that such weakness really exists in life and that it is something we can find in a sexual partner if we look hard enough. Britney has all the fame and fortune anyone could want, but what does she do with it? Does she get up and tell the truth about anything with her air-time? Does she make the world a better place by showing herself as human rather than, fakely, as a big-breasted little child with the voice of a five year old and the mind of a pre-teen? What good does it do the world to see these images? I don't believe we should be censoring them, but we damn should be asking why they're so appealing to us and what harm it does to be attracted to this sort of weakness in others. We need to start taking some responsibility for the images we're attracted to, and the harm they do.

I have children of my own, what good would it do them to hear me saying nice words about this oversexed, insecure, perpetually drunk-looking 27 year old baby-woman? There are much better people to praise than her. I don't feel sorry for her at all, there are also much better people to feel compassion for. And, if our male ancestors were so obsessively attracted to women like this, civilization would never have gotten off the ground, because weak women like this can't raise children. Perhaps, considering this, our gene pool will cleanse itself of people like Britney, because they won't go on to spread their lousy ideation to their children, and the future.

Additional Note

I feel that I better add another comment. I'm sure that there will be others who say that my hatred of Britney is disrespectful and anti-feminist.

I'm not a disrespectful person. I believe that people all have basic rights. They have the right to food, clothing, shelter, freedom of speech and actions within boundaries. I'm a respectful person because I believe everyone should have these rights. I'm a feminist because I believe that women should have them too. I don't deny Britney her basic rights. But no one is born with the right to be liked.

I have the right to my own way of life and to walk to down the street without being spat on or degraded and for others to speak to my with respect. But I don't have the right to demand to be liked, and neither does Britney. I'm not anti-feminist because I hate her. My hate does not interfere with her basic rights of life.

Liking someone and what they stand for is something a person must earn from another, and Britney does not earn it from me. She portrays a weakness that she doesn't have so that others will be sexually attracted to her. Yes, this is fantasy, but most of the people who are fans of Britney don't realise how much of a fantasy this is -they believe that Britney is this weak in real life. It does harm to society for people to glorify this weakness as real. For people to believe that it's possible to find a sexual partner this weak who they can get what they want out of like this is harmful to society because it encourages people to look at others for what they can get out of them, rather than as whole people. Britney encourages people to use others for what they can get out of them. If she would get up and clearly state that her music is an exploration of fantasy, I would not hate her, but she portrays this image as real. Her fans, both male and female then begin to believe that if they find someone weak enough like this woman, they can get what they want out of them. That's why I hate this woman.

okay, i think i get it

Watching the video with the sound off (hehe), I kinda get that it could be empowering in the way she leaves him at the end (for being a womanizer, right?). However, this video really seems to condone sexualizing women in the workplace. I especially hate that she is a waitress at one point. This is just a bunch of male fantasy nonsense.

Re: I think I get it

Think of it this way too: She leaves the man for being a womanizer while spending an entire film-clip encouraging men to be womanizers. Just brilliant, Britney.

Anyone want to talk about the actual song?

We're all so caught up in the person that we can't even critique her actual work. Her voice has been put through SO many digital tricks, that there's nothing even left. Sure, I believe there's a place for performers who aren't virtuosos, but they should at least be solid at what they do. This woman is NOT solid in ANYthing she does.

All I see when I look at this video is people telling her that her next thing will be...'the circus'! But please note that Christina has already done that whole schtick--only much more successfully and with a human-sounding voice in 'Enter the Circus'.
Go here to see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wi_KAT8X6l8).