Tits, Tunes and Tabloids

By Emily Condie

Conversations surrounding the entertainment media’s treatment of young women are more prominent recently than ever before, following the recent documentary ‘Framing Britney Spears’, which explores her struggles with fame, legal conservatorship and bullying under the guise of journalism. Although the attention is finally on the press’ mistreatment and misogyny – which has taken the careers, spirits and even lives of far too many – the question still remains: why has it taken this much to confront the media, and why is it a phenomena rooted in sexism?

Framing Britney Spears is the story of the singer’s rise as a global pop phenomenon, and how her downfall became a cruel national sport. People close to Britney Spears and lawyers connected to her controversial conservatorship reassess her pop star career as she battles her father, and the courts, for control of her life. This new film has re-ignited a wave of support for Britney Spears under the hashtag #FreeBritney. Can it change celebrity culture? Subscribe for more: http://www.youtube.com/skytv​​ Find #SkyTV​​ on: 👉 Twitter: https://twitter.com/skytv​​ 👉 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skytv​​

‘Think about what happened to _______’

‘Oh, it was so sad’

Jesy Nelson, Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse.

‘Think about the way they talked about _____’s body!’

“It was so awful’

Adele, Lizzo, Billie Eilish.

‘Remember when the media was obsessed with _____’s love life?’

‘Yeah, that was so wrong and invasive’

Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus

It’s not a secret that being in the public eye isn’t glamorous; it’s such a vulnerable position to put yourself in. Imagine creating music, putting all of your time and effort into something you love and are so proud of, only for the headlines to focus on something completely unrelated. Instead of headlines raving about a new album, a purposely unflattering photo of you is plastered on the front page of a celebrity magazine, with separate zoomed in photos of cellulite and stretch marks, posed as if they aren’t completely normal and natural and good. Why are women the targets of abuse, and ripped to shreds at every opportunity?

Britney is a prime example of being targeted at every stage of her career, starting when she grew out of her Disney poster child reputation and began experimenting with music and costuming. The ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ music video is most commonly associated with the ‘sexy schoolgirl’ trope, which in itself is a deeper societal issue – the innocence and naivety of a young girl shouldn’t be fetishised or deemed desirable at all. This ‘new’ Britney was both sexualised and shunned, with the media criticising her for stepping away from ‘Christian family values’, as well as becoming obsessed with the question of her virginity. It shouldn’t be a relief to know that no 2021 interviewer would harass anybody about their virginity, as this should never have been the case.

Later on, following her split from Justin Timberlake, Britney was labelled a cheater by the media – she said herself that this was a real turning point in her relationship with the press, in which they just collectively opted for a public image breakdown. All of this, among other factors, ultimately led to her big breakdown – one which was completely trivialised and ridiculed. 

Even now, throwaway comments about feeling like ‘2007 Britney’ are on my Twitter timeline at least once a week – it’s interesting that the narrative around mental health is completely different depending on the gender of the person struggling, and that one person’s mental health issues can become an international inside joke. The FREEBRITNEY movement shouldn’t forgive the last 25 years of pure misogyny and torture.

While progress has been made since the 00s, the 2021 tabloid perspective of women is still not where it should be. The focus is still not primarily on the music, but on other things – who broke Olivia Rodrigo’s heart? Did you see that Camila Cabello is embracing her curves? Billie Eilish took her big baggy t-shirt off! 

Even when framed as praise, this microscopic attention to women in music can come across as incredibly insensitive. Billie Eilish posted ‘NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY’ to combat this exact issue – in it, she says ‘if I wear what is comfortable I am not a woman, if I shed the layers, I’m a slut’. The entire aim of the video was to point out that assumptions are made by people, including the media, based on size and what women choose to wear, and she goes on to tell everyone that their opinion of her is not her responsibility. A protest against body shaming, a look at perception of femininity, an empowering short film which explores something so intimate and personal, but also so relevant.

a short film originally produced for and seen on tour made by billie eilish

In response to Billie wearing tighter clothes, a genuine headline: ‘Billie Eilish ‘wine mom body’ tweet sparks outrage’. The most subtle nuance, and yet an unnecessary excuse to bring the opinions of trolls to the surface, rather than the video itself.

We MUST treat women better. We can’t keep buying into the celebrity gossip narrative, and letting tabloids bully women in mainstream music just because they’re relevant and easy targets. We must speak up. We must question them, and ourselves. Why are we allowing ourselves to be entertained by shallow outlets, giving them the platform to produce even more sexist bullshit?

I see Facebook comments quite often on online tabloid articles asking ‘why is this news?’ in response to famous women being photographed on the beach. And while Andrea, 67, is honestly just annoyed that her timeline is clogged with celebrity gossip, she is asking the exact correct question. Why IS this news?

Free Britney Army : End Conservatorship Abuse

“I Am Traumatized”

Britney Spears

The #FreeBritney movement advocates ending the conservatorship of Britney Spears.

http://www.freebritney.army

For more than 13 years, Britney Spears has been denied basic human rights under a legal tool reserved for incapacitated individuals. The conservatorship generates millions of dollars in revenue for her team, yet 39-year-old Britney has no access to her own money.

Conservatorship abuse affects thousands of families nationwide. Let’s take action to effect change!

Read Britney Spears’s June 23 court statement against her conservatorship.

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