exactly that

Posts tagged ‘Britney Spears’

Monday Random Ten

A mock-up of the album cover of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", featuring the Death Star instead of a prism. The title reads "Pink Floyd Dark Side of the That's No Moon".
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Well, a flood, an internet crisis, and now, catch-up time!

But it sure is time for some tunes, because there always seems to be time for those!

  1. Hazel Eyes — The Darkness
  2. If You Leave Me Now — Chicago
  3. Maneater — Nelly Fertado
  4. Stronger — Britney Spears
  5. Zebra — John Butler Trio
  6. Invincible — MC Mong
  7. Beautiful, Dirty, Rich — Lady Gaga
  8. Mama Kin — Aerosmith
  9. New Genious — Gorillaz
  10. Fireworks — The Tragically Hip

If iTunes hasn’t broken up with me, as it seems to have with a few of my friends here in Korea (some weird thing going on) I am hoping to explore some new music suggestions soon.

In the mean time, how ’bouts a vid, huh?

One of my favorite Britney songs, “Stronger”.

Video: Britney, close up of her well made-up face looking at some dood who gives her a shrug as we see another woman, presumably a new relationship after ending one with Britney, wrapping her arms around him. Britney says “Whatever”, and walks away. She cuts to an all black stage where she is dressed in all sparkly black and has obtained a metal chair, and proceeds to do a kickin’ dance routine with the chair that mimics many actions taking place in the mostly white-decorated club scene that is frequently cut to. In the club scenes, a rotating platform allows Britney to continue walking away from this dood as he falls and trips over things while trying to follow her.

Then, she ruins the whole video by choosing a crap car to drive, but we get the message that she is still doing really awesome despite poor car choice, but she gets bonus forgiveness for at least opting for the vintage Mustang for her speeding through empty desert scene. She stops the car and gets out and dances a bit in the rain until the scene freezes, and the rain is repelled, presumably by Britney’s awesomeness, and she is dry again.

Lyrics:

Hush… just stop
there’s nothing you can do or say (baby)
I’ve had enough
I’m not your property as from today (baby)

you might think that I won’t make it on my own
but now I’m

CHORUS
Stronger than yesterday
now it’s nothin’ but my way
my loneliness ain’t killing me no more
I…I’m stronger

Than I ever thought that I could be (baby)
I used to go with the flow
didn’t really care ’bout me

You might think that I can’t take it
but your wrong
‘Cause now I’m

Chorus
Stronger than yesterday
now it’s nothin’ but my way
my loneliness ain’t killing me no more
I…I’m stronger

come on now
oh yeah
here I go
on my own
I don’t need no body
better off alone

here I go on my own now
I don’t need no body not any body
here I go

alright

here I go

stronger than yesterday
it’s nothin’ but my way
my loneliness ain’t killin’ me no more

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A Bird in a Cage

miley cyrusMiley Cyrus, a girl with long brown hair in a cantelope colored shirt and white pants. Text reads "How very kind of her to leave this large space for our insults".

Which is pretty much how I feel the world is treating her lately...

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(Note: This post contains a lot of links to YouTube videos. I apologize for that inconvenience. I iz tired.)

Well, she did it. Miley Cyrus has made her obligatory “I’m not a little Disney girl anymore” video. (Vimeo doesn’t allow the video to be shown on outside sites)

I watched it. I shamelessly admit the song is catchy, like her other non-Hannah Montana songs. She is coming dangerously close to “coming soon to a MRT” status. Dammit. As Sady and Amanda said at Tiger Beatdown, if she doesn’t want to wear pants, they can’t make her wear pants, or something to that effect that I agree with (down with pants!). Apologies for the loose paraphrase…it was hilarious.

This video is not some new concept. I liked it, but this coming of age idea was already done by plenty of formerly squeaky clean Disney kids before her who just had to say OOPS I AM NOT A KID!, I AM IN FACT A SEXUAL BEING! This is not a criticism of Miley Cyrus. I embrace the letting go of the Hannah Montana personae, and we have to know that eventually girls are going to become young women and that they are going to embrace and explore their sexuality, whether they are celebrities or not. And in the off chance that they are celebrities, they are probably going to do some of that a little bit publicly. I can’t help but notice that teen girls seem to need to emphasize this in their careers more so than teen boys. I don’t really remember Justin Timberlake making a sooper sexxay video out of nowhere and spouting his new found freedom to not wear pants.

Or that society expected it of him if he was going to fit into an industry that demanded he perform beauty, or that someday he might be shamed for losing that beauty.

I find it telling, also that a young woman breaking into the mainstream industry feels pressured to go from squeaky clean girl, AKA Disney Mouskateer, to sex symbol a la Christina Aguilera’s shift from her self named album to “Stripped”. One side of the coin we have the girl with the unique voice, the one who could hit the high note above C, who sang the theme from Mulan, and then we have her splashing around in chaps and getting dirrty! Not that either of those are notably bad. I, as a matter of fact, am a huge fan of both of those albums. Her vocals amaze me to this day, and shamefully I have not invested more money into updating my inventory (this is an ongoing project, there is just too much good music out there for me to keep up with and my taste is so varied!). But the point is, that as a woman in the pop industry moves up in her fame it seems that sex appeal is demanded, or at least that the pressure is there. The conventional beauty privilege is there among these women, and I can’t hardly fault them for playing the game.

So back to Cyrus. I am not surprised at all that she has taken this step, and to follow with her cliché, spread her wings in a most literal way. She has done what she has decided she needed to do to reinvent herself, distancing herself from that image that some parents want to push on their children. DON’T BE A BIT SLUT LIKE THAT BRITNEY GIRL! SEE THAT PRETTY GOD LOVIN’ HANNAH MONTANA! SEE HER! But as she says, “My job isn’t to tell your kids how to act or how not to act, because I’m still figuring that out for myself. So to take that away from me is a bit selfish. Your kids are going to make mistakes whether I do or not. That’s just life.” This is very true. Kids need a secure environment to make their own mistakes, and loving arms to comfort them when they do. No amount of pop culture is going to prevent that from happening.

The bigger truth is, that teen girls are not broken into two categories, Hannah Montanas or Newly Freed Sexxay Pantless Birds. They are teenagers who are young women (I am having trouble with interchanging “girls” and “women” because I am not even sure when I stopped using one and started using the other, and I hope I am not offending anyone) who are defining themselves, their interests, and yes, their sexualities and figuring that all out while discovering how their bodies work through all of this. If some parents are having trouble understanding that teens are sexual beings, I recommend some light reading, or maybe checking out Scarleteen, both are good resources. I wish that growing up in the industry didn’t make it feel as if these were ends of a spectrum as opposed to colors within it.

I feel I should re-emphasize, that I do not find anything wrong with Miley Cyrus performing beauty, performing her sexuality, or any other pop star who does or has done the same. I applaud those who feel comfortable doing so, especially among teens (and more so for those who are open about being safe about their sexual choices as well). If I am not mistaken there was not a straight up hetero-centered message here either, although admittedly I didn’t watch ultra closely. Sexuality is a normal part of growing up, and I know that I have all these wacky notions about teenagers being people and having thoughts and feelings and all, and how they should have rights to explore their sexualities with each other in consenting situation…and that a good number of people will disagree with me.

So, Miley, keep rockin’ with yourself. Please, make more videos. Don’t wear pants if you don’t want to…Ceiling Cat knows I don’t many days. Oh, how I wish that it could be that a young woman could break away from a child like persona in the music industry without feeling that she has to hatch from a shell into her sexuality so publicly.

Piece of Me

A few weeks back Britney Spears, whom I think most people around here are probably aware by now, is someone whom I admire the fuck out of did something else I kind of admired. We’ll get to that.

We kind of grew up together, Britney and I. She’s a year younger than I am, give or take a few months (we are still on the “give” end, right now), and there were stages in her music and over-exposed by the media life that hit the stride w/ my life that really helped me cope. She was the first pop star who was around my age who normalized the idea that it was OK to struggle between the idea of the Madonna-Whore dichotomy, and prove that you could come through the other end of it defining your sexuality on your own terms and really decide for yourself what it all meant to you.

While I lamented that Britney had to go through in public many things that I was desperately trying to keep private, I secretly was relieved to have someone to look up to and see that there was this celebrity, this literal nigh rock star who bounced back from it, to tell me that I was going to be just fine. Here is this mother, this woman, this divorcee, this person who lived while wearing all of these hats, and didn’t have to do it perfectly, and yeah, people were really fucking harsh on her. But here she was, and if she could do it all with all of these people watching her, then surely I could come back and heal and do it OK for myself and maybe find the fight inside of me. I did and she did, and I think we are both still healing a wee bit. I haven’t asked her directly, but I would over coffee if given the chance.

But now back to that other thing that I just love that she did. Britney released the original, untouched pictures from a recent photo shoot with Candee’s shoes, showing all of the things that were ‘Shopped out for the advertisement.

Britney Spears, a white woman with blonde hair in a pink bathing suit and black high heeled shoes in a before and after photo shop shot, showing her waist slimmed, her thighs slimmed, and her bruises removed from her shins.

Not ignoring the fact that Britney Spears is not the majority of women who will consume this advert, I have to have a lot of respect for this. As a woman who opened magazines as a teen and wondered what the poop was wrong with her own knees, I appreciate this gesture. I have no illusions that Britney Spears has a great deal of privilege that allows her to be able to find more comfort that might make it easier to do something like this, but I also can’t ignore the fact that even thin women are allowed to feel insecure with their own bodies. We fat women don’t own the copyright on that. I mean, what kind of world do we live in when a woman who has been a professional dancer for most of her adult life isn’t deemed perfect enough? That she has to have the bruises one would find business as usual to that kind of activity to be unsightly erased to be considered conventionally beautiful; that her ankles have to be smoothed, that some of her muscle tone has to be smoothed away as if it were ZOMCC TEH UNSIGHTLY FAT!!!1!ELEVENTYONE! is telling of where women are in society.

This is a far cry from “she is a manufactured pop star, what do you want?” also. As previously noted by Melissa McEwan, even Britney Spears isn’t Britney Spears ™ anymore. In fact, I kind of like this Britney Spears better, because she seems to have settled into a more creative and comfortable her — a Britney who is fine having un-‘Shopped pics of herself released because she knows that she is comfortable enough in what she has that she is proud of what each mark and bruise means to her. A stronger and more confident woman. A woman who is strong enough to say “This is the person I am outside of the image someone else carved out for me”.

She knows that she has come by all of this in her life and she knows the stories behind all of it. Every bruise, bump, fold, wrinkle and dimple.

Britney Spears, again a before and after, showing her tatoo removed, her cellulite removed, and her buttocks made smaller by Photoshopping.

I am glad to have someone who can do this to look up to. And while yes, beauty is a construct of society that at the end of the day is another hierarchy that is set up to privilege some women above others, I can not fault some women for abiding by it or even succeeding by it, not when there are so many things that are set in place to hold us pack within the Kyriarchal structure. Like Natalia Antonova noted once, beauty “goes hand-in-hand with terror”. Because, for women who depend beauty to get by in our society, “losing your looks is extremely hard in a culture that somehow manages to both reward and punish you for having them”.

We can argue all day the privilege of being a conventionally thin and attractive woman. We can argue all day that a celebrity sets hirself up for that by trading in fame for privacy (note: HA! no, you can’t do that here, on this thread, b/c comments to that effect will not be allowed, b/c I don’t believe that a celebrity has an obligation to trade those things for a job, nor are people the sum of their jobs, nor is a thin person or a conventionally pretty person not allowed to feel insecure, etc. Go get your own blog and argue that crap. I can search Google and find about a dozen celebrity gossip sites where that shit is just fine. This is not one of those).

What I will argue, is that I am shockingly low on all the news and magazines who are clawing all over themselves to run the photos of men in the buff — au naturale if you will, because it isn’t such a big deal. I don’t see men who are dragging themselves around to the same degree to be impossibly beautiful. I see pores and stubble and grey hairs and the signs of aging all over magazine covers. It is not the same standard, no matter how hard you argue it or how loud you yell at me. It’s not the same thing. I am not seeing young men killing themselves trying to meet impossible standards b/c the world’s most perfect men aren’t perfect enough, and haven’t read stories by any young men about how they didn’t know until college that their knees were really supposed to look like that.

It’s not the same standard.

But, thank-you, Ms. Spears, because, as has been said before, by women who have written it better, I admire the fuck out of you. It’s been a long journey, and you have walked it admirably.

Here’s to the next decade, and I hope it brings us great things, sister!

XOXO

Here and There…

A grey sriped cat jumps over an orange sofa. Text reads "this cat is not frozen in time, this is a photograph".Shameless Self-Promotion time!

I have a couple of new posts at Change’s Women’s Rights blog:

This Just In: Sex Isn’t Going to Destroy You! :

A study done by the University of Minnesota finds that only a fifth of sexually active youth participate in casual sex, or this rampant “hookup culture” we hear so much about from conservatives and the anti-feminist crowd. (And really, so what?) More importantly, the study found that, of those people, there was no significant decrease in their emotional well being. In other words, they seemed perfectly happy with the joy of a crash and go sexcapade, contradicting abstinence-proponents’ arguments about how sex before marriage or casual sex will destroy us, making us all bitter, unhappy, lonely people. (Think duct tape.)

Well, gosh, color me shocked! Shocked I tell you!

There is a link in that post to make a tax deductible donation to Scarleteen. There is also one here, and at their site. Please consider making one this holiday season!

Target: Breastfeeding Woman is a Threat to Safety:

A security guard told Mary Martinez that she would have to leave because it was illegal to breastfeed in the Target store. Ms. Martinez, and her husband, Jose, knew that this wasn’t the case. In fact, Jose Martinez is a Detroit Police Officer, and they told the security guard that they knew breastfeeding in public wasn’t illegal. The security guard called the police on them.

Veterans Affairs Centers Fall Short of Women’s Needs:

A recent investigation found that one-third of VA centers lack proper facilities for conducting pelvic exams or for the mental health care that women veterans need. I remember having to hunt around for a toilet in an ill-fitting paper gown at my own exit screening, past several other open, occupied exam rooms. I was the only woman there. They had no sanitary napkin to offer me and it was an embarrassing scene trying to find a place where I could insert a tampon. I was fighting back tears when I finally found a (presumably) unisex bathroom.

At Bitch Blogs, I have a piece up:

Transcontinental Disability Choir: The Public Consumption of Britney (there is a little kerfluffle over a snarky remark I make in the post about Fox News. Wev. I hate Fox, they are jerks, and usually the worst offenders of this sort of thing, and snark is what I do.):

As Britney’s life spun out of control we were spared no morsel, from that infamous hospital ride to Dr. Phil’s advice to her and every last bit of her painful emergence back into the world. Everything that was a part of her treatment or recovery that the media could get it’s hands on was plastered on every tabloid on three continents.

That’s what I’ve got. What have you got? What have you been reading or doing?

Photo: Average Cats

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