Monday, April 30, 2007

Final Blog Post

"Members of distinct genders, classes, races, regions, and sexual preferences are going to receive and process, as well as react to different situations and circumstances in different ways" There are many audiences that Britney has appealed to over her 10 year stint in the celebrity spotlight. Teeny boppers idolize her, mom’s support most of her actions, and dad's and brothers want to look at her on the cover of Rolling Stone. However, in light of recent events in Britney's life such as getting married and having children, these audience perceptions have been less than stable. Her typically younger fan base consisting of teen and pre-teenage girls, who began listening to her music at the start of her career during the mid to late 90's, has transformed significantly from when she was the innocent virginal school girl that everyone grew to love, into something much more: a growing societal obsession with popular culture within the realms of media and advertising. Britney just happens to also be in the center of that realm of frenzy today.

Stalkers and the never ending presence of the paparazzi in a stars life has gotten to the point where the safety of the individuals involved is being questioned due to the unruly lengths some people will go to extort a star. With the growing technology our world today has to offer, it has become increasingly easy to access the most recent information and/or pictures and video's of Britney, which adds to the pressure of being a good role model for her fans and her children. In addition to increasing the ease of which we view information, technology has also led to an outlet for consumer thought, in the forms of blogs such as this one, allowing us to better understand the ways in which the pop culture populace views and reacts to Britney's actions as a normal person and yet still a role model.

Until she went through puberty and became a sexually expressive young woman, who was and is looked down upon by many in light of her transforming image, Britney Spears was at the top of the pop world; selling millions of albums and being judged on her music, not her extra curricular activities. Our recent infatuation with celebrities has driven many stars to their wits end, wishing they had never become famous in the first place. But without their fans, what would a star be?

The audiences that are and have been attracted to Britney and her music and her persona are all convinced of one thing: Brit is Hott! Ever since playing the naughty school girl in her first record breaking single "Hit Me Baby, One More Time," Britney has been constantly transforming herself as a performer and a person, similar to career and life of Madonna. Just like Madonna, Britney has " emerged in a time of dramatic image proliferation associated with MTV, fashion, and the intense marketing of products.” We can correlate her particular intended/unintended audience’s reaction consistencies/inconsistencies to "a study of women’s use of harlequin novels and show how these books provide escapism for women and could be understood as reproducing traditional women’s roles behaviors and attitudes, yet they can also be empowering by promoting fantasies of a different life and may thus inspire a revolt against male domination" This analysis can be applied to the evolving lyrics, videos, and photo shoots of Britney as well.

“’Fandom’s’ of all sorts form communities that enable people to relate to others who share their interests and hobbies.” For example, the young girls first exposed to Britney’s music idolize her image, her money, her music, her love life, her body, her star status, and want to be just like her and buy all her stuff. Their perceptions and reactions have been consistent over the years, mostly in support of Britney and understanding of the rough patch she has gone through recently. Older girls find the lyrics and videos Britney sends to her fans sexually empowering and by expressing herself in the way she feels comfortable, she reinforces the notion that women today are encouraged to express themselves any way they wish, but also understand the consequences and adverse reactions of those around who are not in agreement with what that particular individual may be expressing. Britney does this regardless of what the public think of her.

Mother’s whose children grew up listening to Britney Spears, as a whole originally liked her. When she started to go through puberty (a.k.a. did she get a boob job or was it natural development?) and express her sexuality within her music and videos, mom's began to demonize her behaviors, saying that she is too sexually charged for their children and that she is a bad role model because she smokes and drinks. Men and adolescent boys on the other hand view Britney in a much more positive light, simply because they typically look at her as an object of sexual gratification, and symbolic figure comparable to the Madonna/whore complex, and possesses qualities of both.

For the most part, audience reactions to Britney’s actions have been relatively consistent to the rest of the world. Recently most audiences perceptions such as the general public interested in following the lives of stars, have changed due to her wild and crazy behavior as of late, looking at her not as a person going through an extremely hard time in their life, but as an object for our personal enjoyment, and to feel better about ourselves.

Douglas Kellner “Cultural Studies, Multiculturalism, and Media Culture.” pg 15-19. Gender, Race and Class in the Media, 2001