We all know the story of Britney, the girl from America who took the world by storm aged just fifteen, dressed as a schoolgirl in her video for ‘Baby, One More Time’; the girl who’s been married twice and has two kids who she doesn’t have full custody of. Possibly the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of Britney is the bald girl who had a breakdown, who we watched on the news being stretchered out of her home and who then played cat and mouse with paps she thought were her friends. It’s a sad story in many ways.
I have to admit that her work schedule concerns me somewhat. I went to see her during the ‘Onyx Hotel Tour’ in 2004 not long after her marriage to childhood friend Jason Alexander was annulled. I next saw her in 2009 on her ‘Circus’ comeback tour. She puts on a great show but in 2009 I worried that she wasn’t choosing to go on the stage, she was put there by her father and her manager, Larry Rudolph despite her fragile mental state. I also feel that, despite stricter vetting processes for staff since her father’s conservatorship took effect, some people will still try to make money off the back of Britney.
And now someone else is trying to cash in on her. Former bodyguard, Fernando Flores, is seeking $10 million for psychological damages after claiming he was subject to ‘unwanted sexual advances’. Wow, he must be the only guy in the world who didn’t want Britney to come onto him. But in all seriousness, if these allegations are true – how could Britney know any better after being taught how to be nothing other than a sexual object for almost half of her life?
Let’s study some of her videos as examples:
- ‘Baby, One More Time’: Britney becomes an overnight sensation thanks to a navel-baring school uniform and pigtails.
- ‘Oops, I Did It Again’: The red catsuit, need I say more?
- ‘Don’t Let Me Be The Last to Know’: By now, even Britney’s ballads require her to wear bikinis and to snog with a hunk on the beach.
- ‘I’m a Slave 4u’: 19-year-old Britney wears PVC pants with her pink lace thong over the top and drips sweat while lip-syncing heavy breathing.
- ‘Me Against the Music’: yet another chance to catch girl-on-girl action with Madonna as well as gyrating hips and hair flicking.
- ‘Toxic’: Britney plays different characters in this video – air hostess with her knickers on show, black-haired assassin who kills a man by kissing him. Oh, and the naked diamond catsuit also features.
- ‘My Prerogative’: Britney lap dances for K-Fed and rolls around a bed in her white bra and knickers.
- ‘Womanizer’: Yet more half-dressed, provocative multiple personalities.
- ‘If You Seek Amy’: Not contented with the song actually spelling out “All of the boys and all of the girls are begging to F-U-C-K me”, this video shows a sex party involving Britney, who looks trashed but then gets changed and poses for the paps as the perfect housewife.
- ‘Til The World Ends’: Brit dresses in yet more leather and bodysuits with fishnets, flashing all she’s got.
So that’s just ten of Britney’s many music videos. There’s also VMA performances to consider, remember the time she stripped off to reveal a nude bodysuit? How about the semi-naked performance with a python? Or the Madonna snog? Then, of course, the 2007 shambles where she appeared in a sequinned bikini and cocked up her lip-syncing and dancing.
According to a lawsuit filed by Flores, Britney leaned over him, with her breast exposed, looking him in the eye as if waiting for something to happen. Isn’t that what she’s been taught to do since she was sixteen, if not younger, by countless directors, photographers and choreographers?
If, she did walk around her home wearing see-through clothes then bend down to retrieve her lighter, showing that she was wearing no underpants, hasn’t she spent the last thirteen years in a pretty much permanent state of undress in photo shoots and even on stage?
I’m not saying it’s healthy but this is not a ‘normal’ situation. Britney has no idea what is appropriate, having spent her life in front of cameras and on stage simulating sex, touching herself and licking her lips provocatively while lip-syncing sexually charged lyrics. This is the girl who is rumoured to have had a boob job at sixteen.
All of her life, Britney has performed to gain attention and approval from others. She has not had a normal life, even before she became famous. Her mother moved to New York to allow Britney to perform on Broadway as a child, as well as a stint in The Mickey Mouse Club. In Kentwood, Louisana, where Britney grew up, she was a celebrity long before the rest of the world knew who she was, performing at every competition and carnival going. Not only this but her parents were in a tumultuous relationship due to her father’s drinking and the debts that threatened to overwhelm the family.
Britney was not allowed to be a child.
Perhaps the rebellion we saw in 2004 starting with the Vegas wedding to Alexander and ending with a marriage and pregnancy to Kevin Federline was an act of rebellion, or an attempt to finally have a normal life. In 2004, there were rumours of excessive drinking, drug taking, pictures of Britney looking less than stage-ready with her Starbucks drink and fast food. After a knee injury, the remainder of the Onyx Hotel tour was cancelled and Britney jumped into marriage and motherhood – was she just looking for love? After all, she’d had six years of adoration from fans but, in reality, was lonely having continued working after her split from Justin Timberlake.
Some of the claims from Flores are pathetic: that Britney picked her nose frequently, broke wind unapologetically and ‘didn’t fix her hair’. Is that a crime? Would it psychologically damage you? I know these are unpleasant things and we might not want to consider that the polished pop princess is human, but we all do it. Let’s face it, we’ve seen Britney at her lowest – being carried out of her home into a waiting ambulance, we know she has issues. Even Britney’s ex husband, K-Fed, acknowledged – through his lawyer – that Flores’ claims are ‘a product of economic motives’.
Flores also claimed Spears was under the influence of prescription drugs, like Ritalin. Unfortunately we also know she has to be medicated due to her psychological issues. This is why I think Britney is also being taken advantage of by her father and Larry Rudolph, her manager. If she has such serious psychological issues – rumoured to be ADD and/or bi-polar disorder – is she fit to go on a gruelling world tour? Or does she do it because she doesn’t know what else to do? Her whole adult life has been touring, recording and promotion.
Britney is a victim of her own success. She hasn’t been able to enjoy her life because of schedules and fame. She’s tailed by paps constantly and doesn’t understand boundaries because of her sexualisation thanks to the industry she’s in but she shouldn’t be allowed to be taken advantage of.