Britney Spears and our Anti Women Culture

August Pollack is right.  Rebecca Traister’s article is brilliant:  “Hit her, baby, one more time” (emphasis mine):

Who can believe that there is anything more to say about Britney Spears at this point? But, alas, there is. Spears has come to represent something — something important enough that it keeps rearing its head. As has been pointed out before, she embodies the disdain in which this culture holds its young women: the desire to sexualize and spoil them while young, and to degrade and punish them as they get older. Of course, she also represents a youthful feminine willingness — stupid or manipulated as it may be — to conform to the culture’s every humiliating expectation of her.

And MTV knew exactly what it was doing (emphasis mine):

The point is that everyone — including MTV, and Britney Spears — was perfectly aware of this. No one would think that the performer, whose music has historically been catchy, but whose live performance appeal has rested on her super-fit ability to writhe around in athletic dance routines that could only succeed if rehearsed with Waffen-level discipline, could pull this off. She was hired by MTV to attract viewers eager to see her make an ass of herself.

Also?  Sarah Silverman is an asshole (emphasis mine):

And when Sarah Silverman took the stage after the performance, she sated the public’s appetite for girl-on-girl evisceration, unfunnily identifying Spears as a 25-year-old who’s “already accomplished everything she’s going to accomplish in her life,” calling her sons “the most adorable mistakes you will ever see,” and imitating what Spears’ much-photographed “hairless vagina” looks like by pulling her lips together sideways. It was spectacularly painful, mostly because it violated one of the rules of dirty mean comedy: You don’t sharpen your talons on the weak.

And all of this feeds back to the one headline you saw repeated over and over:  Britney Spears is fat (emphasis mine):

It didn’t stop with laughing. There was also the harsh but deserved criticism of her performance and, more horrendously, of her physique. Spears, it seems, two children and five years of self-abuse later, no longer pleases the public with her hourglass shape. No, her ill-fitting outfit showed off a figure that was not as compact and pink as it was when she was a teenager. Sure, she looked better in a bikini than probably 98 percent of the Americans sitting on their couches and howling at her, but she was no longer porn-star perfect. And in the American lexicon, that equals fat. Wonder why your daughters have eating disorders and hate their bodies? Maybe because they’re reading reports that label the thin young woman dancing around in a bra and panties physically unappealing and obese.

Britney herself fed into this view of the human body (Yahoo):

According to, Britney’s reaction as she ran offstage after her performance was: “Oh, my God, I looked like a fat pig! I looked like a fat pig!”

But hey, this all worked out well for Misogynist TV (Reuters):

Britney Spears’ disastrous performance at MTV’s Video Music Awards helped the show reverse a long slide in the ratings, according to data issued by the television network on Tuesday.

Britney failed up on stage, but in the end it was a shitty awards show and a hack comedian who helped point out how truly fucked up we are.  If you are a woman, you will be judge, harshly, on your appearance, and you will know in the back of your head there is a salacious appetite for your public humiliation and failure.

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