Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Britney Spears and the media

Quoting from MSNBC.com: “Lard and Clear,” read Monday’s headline in the New York Post. “The bulging belly she was flaunting was SO not hot,” wrote E! Online.

I can't believe I'm writing about Britney Spears to begin with, but this story has really grabbed me and won't let go. I'm no fan, and never have been. But my reason for not being a fan has less to do with not caring for the type of music being created -- it has to do with the sexualization and marketing of a now-grown CHILD by that child's parents.

How could parents possibly think that performing suggestive (ha! understatement) dance moves while singing about sexual situations while clothed in a porno version of the "innocent schoolgirl" would do anything other than cause problems? Notice how mild I'm being there? "Problems" could include relationship difficulties, substance abuse issues, ERRATIC BEHAVIOR (remember the shaved head rehab look?), and inability to make informed decisions. Any of this ring a bell?

But the issue here is actually much less obvious somehow. People are making fun of Britney Spears because they think she's FAT. And, God knows, that's the WORST THING YOU CAN BE!

Everyone knows she's had two children, but that really has little to do with this situation. The more important aspect is WHY there is such an uproar about this troubled woman's PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE body.

Let me come right out and say that I am FAT. No one would be wrong to label me as such based on the look of my body. I have dealt with all of the aspects of being fat throughout my life, including having offensive and hurtful fat epithets hurled at me by men driving by while I was walking down a street in Boston. (People can be so kind.) I've been teased, I've been frowned on, I've been avoided, I've been laughed at outright, especially if I was (God forbid!) trying to do something a fat person shouldn't do, like eat, or exercise. And though I've come a long way in self acceptance, I'd still practically sell my soul to look "normal". It's an awfully heavy burden to bear, knowing that your physical home disgusts people who aren't shy about saying so.

But what is "normal"? I look at the photos of Britney Spears on the MTV Awards and I don't see "ME". I see a young mother who, though thicker than before, is beautiful, and talented, and yes, apparently not at her best, but I don't see a FAT WOMAN.

E!, People, TMZ...all y'all -- what the hell is wrong with you people? Do you really live in a world that requires skewering the weak among us? Everyone knows Britney has problems, and big ones, but do you really have to strike at the very core of almost all women's fear...to be a physical joke...to be unacceptable??? Who do you think you are, seriously??? Let's get you up there on stage in less clothing than most people wear to the beach and see how well you measure up. I bet we could get a big audience (pun intended) that would actually pay money to "critique" your physical selves.

You know what, though? I wouldn't be in that audience, and neither would most of the "fat" people I know. Why is that, you wonder? It's called decency. It's called having the ability to put yourself in someone else's place. It's called compassion. Try dictionary.com for the definitions. It might do us all a world of good.