Pop culture strikes again, and this time it’s even creepier than child pageants.
It’s Britney Spears, ladies and gents. Britney wrote a memoir named ‘The Woman in Me’ and it’s just as riddled with child pop star angst and ill-suited parental life-decision as you might imagine.
Although I’m not a fan of her music or personality, I’m also not one to throw stones. Especially considering her past as a child thrown into the spotlight and used as the family’s cash cow.
I’m just going to watch and learn. Neutrality is possible even when your name is not Switzerland, I found.
In the book, Britney goes into more or less interesting detail about her life, except the part where her father puts her under conservatorship (a legal status in which a court appoints a person to manage the financial and personal affairs of a minor or incapacitated person), which I consider one of the most horrible things parents can do to an adult child (rot in hell, Britney’s dad), there was one more part that made my insides squirm.
“Given that I had so many teenage fans, my managers and press people had long tried to portray me as an eternal virgin — never mind that Justin [Timberlake] and I had been living together, and I’d been having sex since I was fourteen. Why did my managers work so hard to claim I was some kind of young-girl virgin even into my twenties? Whose business was it if I’d had sex or not?”
That’s where Britney fails to understand why her life was not her own and the truths of who she really was needed to be kept hidden from the public.
Whose business was it if she had sex or not? Everybody’s business, apparently.
First of all, stars have no private life so they’d better make up a fake life and fake-live it in front of cameras and paparazzi while living their true life underground.
That’s the price of fame. A nasty, awful, disgusting price.
Secondly, Britney is after all a woman. And women’s bodies need to be constantly scrutinized, policed, and kept pure from improper male touch.
The male gaze is absolutely fine, however.
Keep in mind that we’re in 2023 and still talking about how a high body count makes a woman lose her market value.
If you’re thinking that’s only a small group of silly boys, take note that at least 22 of the American states have banned or restricted abortion, as of August 2023. Now that’s a big group of silly boys.
Crazy to what lengths people would go to ban human nature that hurts nobody but their preconceived notions of what’s right.
The image of a grown woman being forced to fake an eternal virgin status (I know fake + eternal virgin is redundant, I’m just pointing out how ridiculous it is, OK?) reminded me of a very graphic South Park episode, where the authors were satirically depicting the members of the boy band Jonas Brothers giving purity rings to their teenage audience while they were dousing them in white foam squirted from giant hoses…
It’s quite an image… and not at all incidental. The Jonas Brothers do spew hot foam on their teen audience.
Entertainers throw copious amounts of more or less disguised sexuality at the audience: skimpy outfits, sensual dance moves, suggestive winks and lower lip bites, cucumber-stuffed pants, and giant hoses. You know the drill, and have probably fallen for it if you’re human. I know I did.
At the same time, some of them preach purity, abstinence, and frown at the idea of sex, although entertainers are constantly sexualized not just by their team (for the public), but also by producers and other powers that be.
See Harvey Weinstein and many others for reference.
In South Park’s episode called The Ring, just like Britney, one of the characters revolts against the idea of purity as a way to manipulate the public and they are met with extreme rebuttal by their managing team.
Why? What’s the deal with sexual purity, especially when it comes to entertainers? Why is it so coveted?
Here’s the thing: purity sells. You might have heard that sex sells, but purity sells even harder.
It’s just a matter of who your target market is.
Because purity is also about sex and selling sex to your audience.
And in a society that’s so obsessed with it, it’s only natural to make it sellable in all its forms: the kinks, the dungeons, the fallen angels, the lost innocents, and the eternal virgins.
They’re all about sex and what you can do with it other than procreate.
Abstaining from sex can be made into just another kink and used to sell basically anything from concert tickets to fake realities.
The only difference is that nobody says it out loud: the more repressed it is, the more profitable it is.
There is only one caveat: the more you repress something, the more it comes back to bite you in the… well, in this case, genitals.
What’s more, abstaining from sexuality will make a person far less threatening to society. Less threatening = more approachable, therefore more open to connect with and buy products from.
Isn’t that convenient?
Of course, that only applies to the sexuality of repressed groups, like women, black people, and whoever isn’t a white man. The latter can flaunt it. Until they get caught, nobody believes the victim, they go through years of trial and maybe, just maybe, they’re finally convicted.
A highly sexual woman, although hurting nobody but possibly herself, is a subject of great debate and relentless slut-shaming. Not to mention the witch burnings, lobotomies, surgical removal of the ovaries, and such.
Torture is the only way to punish stepping out of the eternal virgin ideal and Britney got a huge share of that. She just didn’t understand why.
As for the ever-threatening black people and their sexuality, did you know that Motown singers were advised to speak in a soft melodic voice, almost like a whisper, so they weren’t perceived as threatening by the public?
That’s how Barry Gordy managed to introduce them to white audiences and de-segregate the music world.
So what exactly are they selling with this repressed sexuality that they forced into the blood and bones of society, from the dazed and confused pop stars to the everyday woman and her scrutinized ovaries?
Except for the obvious products, tickets, lipsticks, T-shirts, and songs, we’re selling culture. Not pop culture though. That’s almost harmless and can be quite fun.
What society is selling is the status quo. The same culture where innocuous female sexuality needs to be repressed while male sexuality is running rampant and violent.
Without her knowledge, Britney was selling exactly what she was enduring: repression, coercion, conservatorship. Without her knowledge (and how could she know, she was brainwashed and pressured into this) Britney was forced to hide the ‘woman inside her’ while preaching to other women, through her actions, to hide the woman inside themselves.