Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Britney as a Gender/Pop Culture Icon

Britney Spears, once an innocent, virginal 16 yr old on the top of the Pop Music World, seems to going through a rough patch, growing up way to fast for anyone around her, whether those people should have a say in what she does (like her husband and/or mother) or not (like the public, who tend to judge and assign labels rather than analyze and delve deeper into the life that is Britney Spears). Living her life in the public eye certainly has taken some obvious tolls on her self confidence/self worth, and as she continues to grow and discover herself, she seems to be rebelling in extremely odd ways. By using a few well known examples of Britney's behavior, I will try to look into the world that is Britney, and connect this as I see fit to the concept of gender and media in the celebrity/reality-obsessed society that we live today.

As a Celebrity, Britney possesses everything a girl could need or want, if you were to look at her from outsider's perspective, and not under the microscope she is currently viewed under. Our obsession with celebrity has come to a point where it is making other people a life living, namely the paparazzi, who will do anything they need to to get that “one shot” of Jayden James or Britney with her sons, which is still not out on the market yet. With her enormous success as a singer and mega-pop-star, with merchandise and things of the like, she has far surpassed any challenges in the consumer world she ever faced. Owning 3 homes, a handful of cars, and a 24 hour entourage/security far surpasses the typical goals of an upper-middle class living.

In a piece by Laurie Ouellette entitled “Inventing the Cosmo Girl; Class Identity and Girl-Style American Dreams. She surmises that female sexual desires are linked to a males potential for upward mobility. However with Britney this is not the case. Due to the fact that she can do and buy what she wants when she want, the financial and class mobility is not an issue for her. She is free to fall in love with anyone she chooses. Kevin Federline, not being of either high class standing or in a financial situation to care for both of his families, has nothing to offer Britney but the love and devotion she deserves. However, his inability to do this substantially has led her to try and “fix her marriage” by having children, once again deepening her ties to this man who in no way has tried to help her before. On the other hand, Ouellette points out that “female sexual desirability is linked to the cultural codes of the working class prostitute.” Britney does this very well for K- Fed, running around without underwear, and rebounding like it's her job, personifying the prostitute image that she has tried so hard to work off.

K-Fed by the way is coming out looking like the dad of the year, and not passing judgment just commenting, anyone who leaves their kid's pregnant mother to date a Teen Pop Queen must know that they will be labeled as a gold digger and a user, sorry K-Fed. NOW WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MING WOULD THINK THAT GETTING MARRIED AND HAVING KIDS IS A REBELLION? Apparently everyone and their mother, or at least the writers and editors of weekly celebrity magazines such as Us Weekly and Star, who help shape the opinions we as a society view these larger than life figures. Getting married and having children in most situations should be the happiest times in a woman's life, not something looked under a microscope and judged/analyzed by the entire country (and even world). Having every photo published, court papers released, and random video's showing up on YouTube of a private night in a hotel room in some random country.

Finally, Britney is a HUGE pop culture icon, making her a mainstream phenomenon, and thanks to her booming music career and unpredictable life decisions she has made, she continues to capture the publics attention whether they want to admit it or not. Trivializing the things that one is going through in their life is not only wrong, but adds another dimension of craziness to her life. BY being a controversial topic in the pop culture relam today, we simply cannot dismiss the flood of gender related and pop culture related information she is giving us on a nearly daily basis. Britney is and will continue to be a huge influence in gender and pop culture/media issues simply because she is a good looking girl with lots of money and celebrity status, and hopefully she can conquer her demons, and come out on top with another huge album soon! Lets Go Brit!!!