Britney, Paris and who’s-it: liberated sisters or nasty little whores?

I’ve been thinking about Britney’s bits recently.  Hard not to, really.  I hadn’t – you know – looked at them.  Or for them.  But the webgeist is full of Britney’s bits, Paris’s pudendum and what’s her names what’s-it and it is all a bit hard to avoid.

My first reaction was contempt.  I dislike prick-teases more than I can sensibly say and so I won’t try; but what else do you call a woman who displays herself without sharing herself?  I have more respect for Anabel Chong who at least put out for the 70 guys than I do for la Hilton, Ms Spears and who’s-it.  (I ought to look up her name, but if she’s doing it for the publicity should I give her the satisfaction?)

I also thought of the bored and pampered Roman aristas who whored themselves out to slaves and soldiers.  I thought of the symptoms of decadence in society.  I thought of concepts like integrity, responsibility, duty, self-respect, respect for others and controlling one’s power.  I thought of the contempt these women are showing the rest of us.  We can look but we cannot touch.

A couple of days later I started wondering if this is about freedom from control.    Whenever a man calls a woman a whore, he calls her that because he cannot control her.  Are these actually women who are comfortable with their sexuality and using their positions to reject male control?  Even if they are not bright enough to be doing that consciously, it is still possible that they are doing it instinctively.   Is this what is happening?

To be honest, I doubt it.   And if they are, then it has badly backfired.   The language which is used about them wherever the snatch-shots are shown is disturbingly misogynist.  Two examples will do:

Ugh, it looks like a rotten, , maggot-infested, diseased slab of meat. How disgusting. She needs to go to Dr. 90210 and get a vaginoplasty on that thing. … I bet it has teeth, it’s probsbly like a swamp in there. She has NO shame, class or intelligence. I guess money can’t buy EVERYTHING, huh? She makes my skin crawl, the gross, diseased, rotten slut. …

More briefly: 

Ugh. So….shriveled and overused looking…..I wonder why?

To me they just look like labia.  I am disturbed by an event which lets people describe labia in those terms.  I don’t want anyone’s labia described like that.   And this is another thing which disturbs me – that this contemptible behaviour can be used to justify such contempt.

There is another worrying thing about all this.   People are using these girls’ crotch shots to boost their blog stats.  There is something unpleasant about these bloggers who latch on to these beaver-shots like blood-sucking ticks, behaving like web-enabled vampires.  (I, obviously, am discussing the feminist and societal issues and not using it as a way of getting cheap hits.)  I am uncertain what to make of the relationship between the blogger who is using the socialite’s crotch-shot to get hits on their blog and the said socialite, bearing in mind she has knowingly chosen not to get out of a car while wearing a very short skirt and no knickers.  Who is exploiting whom here?  Is anyone being exploited at all?  I don’t know the answers to these questions or even if they are the right questions, but I cannot escape the feeling that there is something nasty going on here.

So, Britney, Paris, Lindsay (I cracked and looked her up) Ladies – please – it isn’t big, it isn’t clever.  Half the human race has one.  Please.  Put it away.

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12 responses to “Britney, Paris and who’s-it: liberated sisters or nasty little whores?

  1. Indeed there is. I hadn’t thought about the reactions to this stuff which are shockingly hateful.

    But I am surprised that anyone would raise so much as an eyebrow at these images.

    Didn’t Madonna already do all the baring of body parts we needed for this sort of thing to lose its impact? Apparently not. What’s interesting I think is how Madonna was so cold and intentional about baring herself, in control of the everything she exposed. So that’s one thing that’s different here — these women are behaving as though their uncovering is entirely accidental, as though they’re innocent of these revelations about their sexuality. (Didn’t Britney Spears have a song that began, oops?)

    There’s more to say about this, and about how these three are part of some odd myth of not-so-innocent sexuality but I’m not the one to do it. The whole thing? Makes me feel tired and sad.

  2. Like Bloglily, the whole thing made me rather tired. I pity Britney and whoever else did it… For the sake of equality, why isn’t there any male actor or singer who, oops, accidentely bares some body parts (I’m not talking perfect abs here)? Why is it always women who do that, however irresponsible and ridiculous it is? I rather doubt there would be people to describe male anatomy in such awful terms as the ones you pointed.

  3. Didn’t Madonna already do all the baring of body parts we needed for this sort of thing to lose its impact? Apparently not.

    I suspect the people this frenzy is being marketed at were not around at the time of Madonna’s, ah, peak. Or at least, probably weren’t paying much attention to celebrity news.

    (Didn’t Britney Spears have a song that began, oops?)

    Oops, I did it again.

  4. Gosh! Comments!

    Bloglily – I think you are right about Madonna, she was being deliberately and even intelligently provocative.

    Pauline – don’t young drunken sportsmen drop their keks at the least opportunity? Not that young either. I know of a surgeon who is described as “the one who set fire to his pubic hair at his Med School 10 year reunion”. And there’s always Billy Connolly. But you are right, the shock-horror is because they are women.

    Niall – should we be worried by the amount you know about celebrity trivia?

    Thank you all for reading, and thank you all for commenting.

    Aphra

  5. I did happen to see the pictures of Paris Hilton, and wondered if I were the only person in the world to think it obvious that she were wearing flesh-coloured knickers. I haven’t seen Britney but have to assume from Aphra’s quotations that she was not. I know I keep going on about it, but this fab book by Oliver James about why we’re so much less happy now, says that by making us ridiculously aspirational, the media also encourages us to be viciously envious. The media cycle of promoting an individual only to then bring them down whenever possible, is part and parcel of this thankless treadmill of impossible aspiration and resentful envy. So if you ask me who’s being exploited, it’s pretty much anyone who finds themselves buying into that nasty media circus, for whatever reason or compulsion.

  6. I’m wondering if we’re one day going to get to a point at which sex, just, well, loses all its excitement. Isn’t that what happens after too much exposure to anything, and aren’t we, with so many different venues at this point, becoming overexposed to sex at younger and younger ages? Maybe it won’t be all bad. Maybe it will be a natural solution to the problem of overpopulation.

    Meanwhile, I would far rather see young women “baring” their brains out there and forcing the world to take notice. Britney, et al, you’re not doing anything new. “Beautiful” women have been using their bodies to attract attention since the human race began. Using their intellect for the same? Well, now, THAT would be new and different.

  7. Niall – should we be worried by the amount you know about celebrity trivia?

    Almost certainly. I frequently worry, and relatively speaking I know almost no celebrity trivia at all. 🙂

    Emily — I suspect if anything the problem will be dissatisfaction resulting from the distance between media images of sex and the reality. What the macro-scale consequences of that would be, I wouldn’t want to guess.

  8. Niall, you’re right. I didn’t think of that. Did I hear someone say “Stepford Wifes?”

  9. Make Tea Not War

    Webgeist- what a great word!

    I do think it is in poor taste to go out in a short skirt with no underwear when you must know the paparazzi will be lurking. However, she is only 25 & currently going through a divorce. People make mistakes but most of us don’t have the whole world scrutinize and judge our every move.

    In fact, I saw some incredibly cruel comments about Britney after some pictures were publicized of her looking tired and less than glamorous when she was heavily pregnant.

    She cannot win.

    So- in answer to the question: I don’t see her as a liberated sister or a nasty little whore but as a young woman probably with an artistic temperament and an exhibitionistic streak currently going through a bad time. I’ve known a few of those. She is not to blame for the vicious prurience of tabloid celebrity culture. She is more a victim of it than anything else.

  10. “So- in answer to the question: I don’t see her as a liberated sister or a nasty little whore but as a young woman probably with an artistic temperament and an exhibitionistic streak currently going through a bad time. I’ve known a few of those.” – I agree with Ms. Make Tea here. I’ve certainly had friends with exhibitionistic streaks in them who use their bodies to attract attention. I don’t know what’s happening with all of these young stars, but I do know it makes me sad and VERY scared to raise a daughter some day – how do we combat the images all these young ‘celebrities’ put forth?
    It’s exhausting.

  11. I don’t get network tv, and I send my kids to a religious school– so I only get the celebrity gossip when it pops up on Google news. I actually don’t have high expectations for famous people, and don’t think their opinions or private behavior deserve all that much attention. But then again, Arnold Schwarzenegger is Governor of California, so I suppose I should take more notice. What if OJ Simpson ran for office? As for Britney, I have read enough about her to know she has a couple of kids, and some apparent emotional issues. I hope she doesn’t self-destruct, like some of the 60’s celebrities did.

  12. I am sorry for ignoring the comments for so long. I have no manners.

    Litlove, you are so right that everyone who buys into the nasty media circus is being exploited – us as well as them.

    Emily, maybe we have already reached that point with sex. I also worry that as well as losing its excitement, sex will lose all intimacy and communication.

    Niall, I have read some well expressed and worrying essays suggesting that the more people orgasm because of pornography and indeed toys the less satisfied they will be with real live human sexual partners.

    Make Tea, you are right. These young women are not being allowed their privacy. It is interesting and telling that the Duchess of York seems to have stopped kicking up since she left the Royal Family and the spotlight is less relentlessly on her.

    Courtney, I have no idea how to combat the images of young celebrities. I know that the only things that stands a chance are a really solit values-system, and time filled with real things like walks or reading or biking or sport. I do know that eating together at the table was a key part of my childhood. We actually had to talk to each other.

    Marymom, you took the words away from my fingertips about how to raise children. But it is sad and worrying that we don’t have heros any more, just celebs.

    Thank you all for reading and commenting. I am sorry it has taken me so long to reply.

    Aphra.

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