02 February 2008

Britney Spears is not a circus side show

After reading the 85,000th story about Britney Spears and her highly marketable mental breakdown, one wonders when the point comes that we can say enough is enough. The media has taken a perverse delight in exposing this young woman and her many failings which, so many have argued, she has brought on herself.

I have been fascinated by Britney for as long as I can remember, so much so, she has been the subject of my own academic research in the past few years. Yet, I am deeply saddened that this young woman has suddenly ceased to be a human in the eyes of the public. Sure, we all have had a bit of a laugh at her expense the countless times she appeared walking down the street without shoes, for attempting to wear some of the most heinous outfits imaginable with a straight face, and for marrying the man we now know as K-Fed. We've judged her for what some reckon is tantamount to 'child abuse'; driving with her son on her lap, nearly dropping a baby to save a drink, for perpetually leaving her young boys with nannies to go out and party. Now we laugh because she has been 'committed', her fortune in the hands of her sociopathic 'parents', and her children taken away from her.

We seem to forget about all of the moments when Britney was sparkling; for all of the moments that made her the most famous figure in the media world. Her first video clip as a naughty school girl, naked and pregnant on the cover of Bazaar, busting out in little more than an invisible 'skin' body suit for the MTV music awards with a python hanging around her neck, and for managing to be the girlfriend to Justin Timberlake when both of them were the toast of the town. These were the times when Britney was on top of the world and now it seems, everyone is waiting with bated breath to see our Britney fall flat on her face.

Whereas so many young people aspire to fame and fortune, the Britney saga only exposes the cold reality of celebrity-dom; that there is such a thing as being too famous. Britney, like other celebrities, need the paparazzi to keep them famous, but no one asks for constant surveillance. The 'Britney Economy', the 250 million dollar industry devoted to capturing every waking moment of her life, is the reason why Britney will never be left alone. Yet, when a paparazzi caravan the length of a football field is trailing her ambulance on the way to the psych ward, I think it's time to leave Britney to suffer out of the spotlight.

If, as a number of inside 'sources' claim, our Britney is on suicide watch, it will be no surprise if the relentless media presence in her life does indeed kill her. According to Beverly Hills psychotherapist, Rebecca Roy, "Not only do [celebrity] women have to deal with an impossibly high body image standard, but they are savagely attacked when they don't meet expectations on that [mental health] front." It is no wonder that stars like Britney or Amy Winehouse or even Kate Moss were aggressively attacked following allegations of drug abuse or psychiatric crisis that certain male celebrities seem to walk away from with an uncomfortable ease. When women 'fail', they fall hard and in front of a crowd of millions.

Whereas Owen Wilson was left to privately recover after his shock suicide attempt, Britney Spears has been nailed up on the proverbial cross and we are all here to watch her bleed.

Sources: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article3285507.ece

1 comment:

AvoidTheRedShoes said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Just because someone is heavily exposed in the media does not mean they are not human. Britney's curse is that she has a charisma that attracts people and no matter how much she screws up the attention just sticks to her like glue... or more appropriately, gravity. Even those close to her get sucked in. Little sister Jamie Lynn, for example, is not the only Hollywood teen to get pregnant, but she is the only one to get such exposure for it. Because she is a "Spears" her pregnancy was blown up into this huge scandal. As for the others, like Beyonce's little sister Solange Knowles and oscar-nominated actress Keisha Castle-Hughes... no big deal.

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