Monday, September 10, 2007

Britney's bod -- and lots of it, apparently

Everyone's making fun of Britney Spears, so there's no use in piling on here...OK, bad pun.

But the Associated Press story for today about Spears' MTV Awards Show performance brings up an interesting issue -- that of women's bodies and the messages we send when we criticize the mother of two for not being a size 2.

Here's a portion of the AP story:

Amid MTV debacle, harshest words are saved for Britney’s bod

NEW YORK — The consensus is clear: Britney Spears performed like she was sloshing blindfolded through mud at MTV’s Video Music Awards. No one disputes that the troubled pop princess royally mangled her much-heralded comeback.
But what about the nastiest comments of all — those about her body? “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. And so on.
Was it fair? Did Spears, lest we forget a mother of two, deserve to be held up against the standard of her once fantastically toned abs, sculpted by sessions of 1,000 tummy crunches? Or was she asking for it by choosing that unforgiving black-sequined bikini?
More profoundly, in an age where skinny models and skeletal actresses are under scrutiny for the message they’re sending young girls, what does it say that we’re excoriating a young woman for a little thickness in her middle?
On the morning after what the VH1 channel called Spears’ “already historic” performance, the blogosphere was buzzing with opinions. For every “fat” comment there was an impassioned retort. “Give her a break,” wrote one blogger on “The girl’s had two kids — I hope I’m a size 10 after having kids!”
“OK, she isn’t fat,” wrote another. “But she isn’t fit enough to be wearing (or not wearing) what she is.”
For many observers, the issue was not so much the body, but the body in THAT outfit.
“In that ensemble, you just can’t have an ounce of anything extra,” said Janice Min, editor of the celebrity magazine US Weekly. “Many women wouldn’t eat for days if they were wearing that.”
“Did she look better than 99 percent of women? Yes,” added Min. “But compared to her earlier form, she probably didn’t look as good.”
Besides, said Min, “Britney Spears has always been about the whole package. It’s never been 100 percent about the talent. Is it sexist? Probably, but she’s built a career on an image of sexiness.”