Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Britney/Michael Connection

Okay, we all know by now that Britney Spears gave a less-than-wonderful performance at the MTV Video Music Awards the other night. Many of us tuned in just to see what would happen, myself included. What happened was pretty much what was expected, perhaps even worse than one might have imagined.

It's pointless to dwell on the imperfections of the performance, or the performer. I have imperfections, too. We could probably dwell on them for hours. It would be less than interesting, partly because I have never been held up as an object to be emulated but mostly because, in the end, there's not much to say beyond the first stinging barbs.

But here's what I do want to say: much has been made of Britney's physical appearance -- she's been called paunchy, jiggly, lard-like. I wouldn't go that far myself -- I'm thinking she looked thicker, but less than lumpy or droopy, which, as anyone who's had kids can attest, is a feat in and of itself. Still, the talking heads have been brutal -- and then, naturally, there's been a backlash. It's been a busy 36 hours.

The real question becomes, however, why would someone who knows darn well that they'll be held up to vicious scrutiny, and who is clearly not in the best shape of her life, slip into a sparkly bra and undies and put herself on display? I mean, seriously, think about it. Why?

Here's what I think. It's something like the Michael Jackson Syndrome (which I have just invented), that disconnection between reality and fantasy.

Consider this: Most of us women don't see ourselves as we really are -- we look in the mirror and, typically, see flaws before all else. I think for folks like Britney, it's the opposite. She goes to photo shoots, and then sees these pictures (touched up, of course) that make her look amazing -- all the lumps, bumps, extra width are miraculously gone. She has (I'm guessing) surrounded herself with hangers-on that tell her everything a girl wants to hear -- you look great, better than ever, they're all just jealous -- because she's the meal ticket, and who wants the fun to end? So how could she possibly see herself as we do -- warts and all?

There's no other explanation for leaving the house the way she does, and I'm not being glib.

Someone needs to save her, and quick, before she finds her own Neverland.
photo from MTV.com


Christine said...

Your take on poor ole Brit sounds right on target. It's like the emperor's new clothes.

As far as the cultural frenzy surrounding her - we love to mythologize our entertainors and turn them into icons. Then, if they show any hint of mortality, we tear them down. Our heroes have feet of clay, and we can't stand it.

I wish someone would step in and save her. Prince Chatming maybe?

the individual voice said...

You know, as a psychologist, her performance made me feel very frightened for her. She looked both panicked and sedated and like she could barely walk, much less dance. I really hate to say this and I hope I am wrong, but she looked to me like a suicide waiting to happen. I thought of Marilyn Monroe.