As it did for most people, Framing Britney Spears made me feel “some kind of way” and I’d like to take the time to discuss that here, thx.
Gird your loins, this is going to be a rant. I’ve thought about this for a few days and it really started to piss me off.
Watching Framing Britney Spears upset me a great deal. It was very good! But so, so upsetting. As I was watching it I had a hard time figuring out exactly why I was so upset. I even cried. My boyfriend was like, “Should we turn this off? Is this even healthy for you?” I couldn’t say.
But after…I was able to discern where my feelings were coming from.
Beyond sympathy for Britney, which I have a lot of and I do think she should be freed and simultaneously left alone to have fun and run around her backyard in a bikini with her sons in the sunshine until the end of eternity, I also felt sympathy for myself and other women my age and also women older than us and maybe ones like up to 10 years younger than us.
I think that covers everyone. If not please feel free to include yourself in my sympathy BECAUSE WE WERE WRONGED.
WE WERE SO WRONGED.
During my formative years at ages like 10 to 25, all day every day it was about whether or not women were “sluts,” based on what they were doing, wearing, or thinking. And women and girls lived in constant fear of being labeled “sluts” because once they had that label all hope of being taken seriously, listened to, respected, etc was completely dashed. Like once you got this label it was like a “thing” and people could completely disrespect you and you had zero credibility. It was like calling someone a witch. And they actually did mean “slut” centuries ago when they said “witch” but luckily they couldn’t kill you for being a “slut”in the late 90s/early 2000s…at least not in any kind of community organized way.
Or could they? Did I live to write this blog post? Or is this another dimension?
If you dressed or acted a certain way as a young woman people had the self righteous audacity to declare that you “weren’t girlfriend material” or “men would never respect you” or “no one will want to buy the cow if they can get the milk for free.”
Uhhh…what if I don’t WANT to be a girlfriend? Or what if I DID but I don’t want a BOYFRIEND that thought any of “this” <points to my outfit and my self and my life as I want to lead it> is a problem? Do you think I value “respect” that is based on these kinds of conditions? BECAUSE I DON’T.
AND I LOVE COWS AND HAVE BEEN CONSIDERING BEING VEGAN DUE TO MY LOVE FOR COWS BUT I WOULD MISS CHEESE BUT FREE CHEESE WOULDN’T MAKE ME VALUE COWS ANY LESS THIS IS THE LAMEST METAPHOR EVER UGH.
The late 90s and early 2000s were trash for women and the trashiest part is that we thought we were actually progressive at that time. Or did we?
The truth is no, I didn’t think we were progressive at the time but I was like 15 so what did I know. There wasn’t yet a word for “slut shaming” but I knew that was wrong and lame and never felt right when people did it. When kids in the hall at school or “journalists” in People magazine were like, “Look at her short skirt! She’s asking for it!” I wanted to be like, “Who the f*&K cares you idiots?!” Actually I didn’t just WANT to be like that I ACTUALLY SAID THAT but I was fighting that battle alone for a number of years and no one ever listened to me until like 2015…ALMOST TWO DECADES LATER, YOU GUYS.
I’m not saying that I’m like, the hipster of social justice for women and I invented slut shaming or knew about it before it was cool. I’m just saying there was OBVIOUSLY a problem and we all SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.
Like, leave women alone! Who gives a shit what they’re wearing! Just because they’re wearing anything in particular doesn’t mean they’re a “slut” and if they are, ALSO WHO CARES. GET OVER IT. WHY IS THIS A THING PEOPLE THINK THEY CAN HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT?! And before you’re like, “well people can have opinions,” please take into consideration that this is a DANGEROUS AND DAMAGING OPINION and essentially ruined Britney Spears’ life and the lives of many others when it comes down to it. Like be careful who you throw your ridiculous AND RUDE opinions at because THEY HAVE CONSEQUENCES. This is the same thing as saying people can have “freedom of religion” and are allowed to practice it at will when all religion is very dangerous and manipulative and preys on the weak and stole and hoarded all the money and knowledge from the majority of people in various societies for centuries but that’s a conversation for another time.
The first time someone called me a slut was on the school bus in 4th grade. At first I doubted they knew what it meant, because I didn’t know what it meant and I was obviously a vocabulary genius so if it WAS a real thing I figured I would have known. Until this shrill little brat followed it up with, “My mom said that’s what you are.” BITCH, your MOM said that?! What the heck is wrong with you people?! I am 10 years old!
No idea if she made this up or not. Maybe her mom didn’t even say it. Or maybe she DID…4th grade seems a little young for that type of judgement but…I don’t know. We’ve done worse and more offensive things to our young women when they were even younger. It’s a losing battle we’re fighting around here. Or at least it was for a long time, even when we thought it was over because all the moms that were feminists in the 70s said it was.
These were the same moms that were basically telling me that I was slutty and a pawn to the patriarchy for being a cheerleader. This one I am NOT making up and remembering perfectly correctly because I was a little older then, I think around 12. I was at dinner at a friend’s house. At their huge dinner table, in front of her brothers AND ALSO HER DAD, and this “feminist” mom said, “Don’t you think cheerleading is demeaning? Running around in a short skirt and basically being a slave to the boys that play sports?.” It was so incredibly embarrassing and ridiculous. And the only thing I could think of to say was, “Well…I like it!”
BECAUSE I DID. IT WAS CHEERLEADING AND IT WAS FUN. I CAN BE CUTE AND LOOK CUTE AND HAVE FUN AND STILL BE A FEMINIST. I CHOOSE MY CHOICE. IT’S CALLED 3RD WAVE GO BACK TO COLLEGE AND LEARN IT BECAUSE YOU SUCK.
Hopefully she did. I wish the best for her expanded knowledge of feminism. We all need room and grace to grow and learn. And to do the work. But god DAMN I wish I didn’t have to listen to that ridiculous shit. I guess you could say it was a defining moment of my life though, in that it made me completely outraged and I never stopped being outraged but I also never stopped fighting against it.
Unfortunately along with the fight against it came…not fighting against it. Like when idiot preteen dudes would snap my bra or grab me in the hallway in middle school. Yes grab. They grabbed my ass! They grabbed my boobs! It was ridiculous. So much ridiculous, you guys. This topic makes me unable to stop saying “ridiculous.” But for whatever reason I felt like I couldn’t say or do anything. I felt like this was how it was and the price I paid for wearing whatever I felt like wearing and looking however I felt like looking. I had to pay the misogynist toll troll to continue existing in the world in the way that I chose.
DIDN’T POOR BRITNEY HAVE TO DO THE SAME?!
I remember everyone always talking about what she wore, or didn’t wear. About whether or not she was a “virgin.” WHY DID PEOPLE CARE ABOUT POP STARS BEING VIRGINS THAT IS PSYCHOTIC. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND PLZ MAKE IT STOP. Seeing this stuff in the documentary and remembering it happening, and looking at it through the lens of now, WAS MIND BLOWING. I couldn’t believe I kind of forgot that things used to be like that, and that people just accepted it.
In the end, they were able to turn this “slut” narrative they created against her so completely that they deemed her too “crazy” to take care of herself and her children. She is a creative genius and a highly experienced and talented business woman. She would have been fine. But they were able to do it because the world ate it up. They were like, “Yup, bitch is crazy. Let’s laugh at her as we burn down her life.” And then they did.
This isn’t even fully getting into the whole thing because I haven’t even talked about the mental health issues she may or may not have been suffering from that were never properly addressed, diagnosed one way or another, treated, or even given an OUNCE OF COMPASSIONATE CONSIDERATION. Like no wonder generations of women and actually maybe even just people overall were scared to talk about their feelings because once one person labels you “crazy” it makes it a ton harder to be a person in the world or get anything done.
The “slutty” narrative really hit home for me in a lot of ways as you can see but the mental illness part does too.
And it just makes me so mad. I guess that’s all I wanted to say. Like yeah, Britney got the worst of it. But we all suffered in that world. And some of us still suffer when accosted by people with that worldview. It’s not an acceptable way to be a dick anymore but it lingers. And it’s not cute.
SO STOP IT.
STOP IT NOW.
DO IT FOR BRITNEY.