{September 10, 2007}   Stand up for Britney, Especially if You’re a Woman

Britney performs at the VMAsExcuse me for blogging about Britney’s VMA performance, what?–20 hours afterwards, which would be 20 hours too late, but after digesting cruel reviews today, I must. It’s a great example of how unfairly superficially we critique women.

The NY Post was immature (“she danced like she had a pantload”), the NY Times was harsh (“lethargic movements that seemed choreographed by a dance instructor for a nursing home”) but, thank God, refreshingly complementary (” ‘Gimme More,’ is a pleasant surprise”).

Britney may have rubbed the public the wrong way, but this video on WaPo rubbed me the wrong way. Tia Brown from In Touch Weekly talks to an anchor lady on MSNBC about why the performance flopped. Here’s an abbreviated transcript of their convo:

Brown: Her outfit wasn’t the best and her hair wasn’t the best either. Brown says of Spears’ flop.

Anchor: It wans’t just her outfit it was her outfit on her current state of physique. If you’re going to wear a two-piece you better be tight.

Brown: This is the thing–Britney didn’t look ridiculous in the outfit. In comparison to how she USED to look–I think that’s the disappointment.

Need we be so harsh on a woman who’s had two kids, despite the fucked-upness of those circumstances? I’ve never given birth but I’d guess Britney looks much better than most American women who have. (The amount of fame she endures isn’t exactly the fountain of youth either.) I don’t think she looked that bad despite her tasteless outfit. Besides, she probably looked big because we’re so used to looking at images of starving women. Every female celebrity I’ve interviewed–and I’ve interviewed many–looks unnaturally thin in person. But that’s what it takes to reach today’s standards of “looking good” in pictures.

Why these two women are so hard on her appearance befuddles me. Women should stand up for normalcy. While Britney herself is a far cry, her body isn’t. She isn’t 18 anymore, and I don’t think we should expect her to look it.

If Britney had worn a conservative black body suit, I’d guess today’s reviews would merely say her lip-syncing was lackluster and leave out most of the commentary about her looking fat.


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