Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Au naturel?

Move over Jean D'Arc. Shift your keister Emmeline Pankhurst. There's a new symbol of female empowerment in town, and she's taking no prisoners.

In the last few years she may have seemed about as stable as a wobbly bar stool, but Britney Jean Spears is finally back in control. She's cleaned up her act and decided to do something nobody ever expected. Besides singing live, of course.

When it was first revealed that Britney was going to be advertising a new range of Candies clothing for Kohl's department stores, preliminary artwork for the campaign was released to showcase the expensive-looking photography involved. But commentators were more interested in how much Photoshop had been employed, given that Britney looked about as realistic as Heidi Montag.

However, nobody was expecting Britney herself to decide to release the un-retouched photography alongside the actual campaign images. Despite a career built on artifice and image over content, Britney is apparently concerned about "the pressure exerted on women to look perfect" and wanted to show that she's "proud of her body - imperfections and all."

It's a bold gesture, albeit one that was probably easier for Britney to make given the fact that the original images were pretty complimentary. Sure, her legs are a little chunkier, her waist a little broader, and there are some unattractive bruises on her thigh. But given the fact that she's wearing an unforgiving hot pink swimsuit and heels, she's still got plenty to be confident about.

The idea of Britney striking a blow for female empowerment is a troubling one. If we're going to willingly accept this brave new world, maybe we also need to reappraise Britney's previous misadventures. Perhaps she's been sending out positive messages all along?

When she shaved her head, it was a gesture of sisterhood for women with alopecia. Those mimed concert appearances - an exposure of the artifice of the recording industry. And when she attacked that photographer's car with an umbrella she was making a statement about the impending threat of climate change.

The other explanation is that she was sitting in Supercuts, waiting to have her weave re-glued, and decided to flick through the new Marie Claire. Incensed by Jessica Simpson's unretouched, make-up-free cover image, she vowed not to be outdone by a pretender to her throne.

Whatever her motivation, it's clear that Britney wants a fresh start. And the fact that she made this decision indicates that she's running her own career, rather than relying on an ambulance chasing 'manager'. Looks like our girl is now a woman.

1 comment:

  1. Personally I'd have kept the original under wraps to hide those crotch creases - looks like the worst "camel toe" ever...