Water is wet, the desert is hot, your grandma doesn't know how to pronounce "quinoa," and Christina Aguilera will always be bitter about being overshadowed at the 2003 VMAs. ALL OF THESE ARE KNOWN TRUTHS.
Another known truth: Britney Spears will ALWAYS be singled out for being too sexy by the original keyboard warriors, PARENT ADVOCACY GROUPS.
Britney's battles with parents have followed her every step of her career starting with, obviously, "Baby One More Time."
"All I did was tie up my shirt!" she says, addressing the critics who would hunt her down like a gay Teletubby. "I'm wearing a sports bra under it. Sure, I'm wearing thigh-highs, but kids wear those — it's the style. Have you seen MTV — all those girls in thongs?"
Then Britney did this Rolling Stone cover and everyone lost their goddamn virginal minds.
The American Family Association called for a boycott of stores selling her CD and thus a revolution was started.
Tim Wildmon, of the American Family Association, said: "The mixing of childhood innocence with adult sexuality is troubling. It would bother me if my daughter was the subject of lust by men in this way."
"When I saw the cover, I thought, 'Wow, this is hot,' but I guess other people thought it was too sexy. I'm not going to walk around in hot pants and a bra on the street, but when you're an artist you sometimes play a part."
KEEP IN MIND, this was also the time when people criticized her for getting breast implants.
Britney had to respond to the breast implants rumor in an interview with People.
"Like I'm really going to get breast implants at 17? It's a personal decision, and if women are doing it to make themselves feel better, I think it's fine."
Literally everyone was obsessed with her sexuality. Put simply: The kids weren't dictating Britney's career choices. The parents themselves were pushing their own sexual agenda on her. Remember the whole virginity thing?
In 2000, the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding released an entire newsletter about how to deal with your child liking Britney Spears. It said:
We must point out the inconsistencies between Spears’ faith and her emphasis on sexuality and the externals of body appearance. We should use Britney Spears’ music as a springboard for discussions of God’s consistent truth that speaks to and informs all of life without contradiction.
Also in 2000, she was attacked for wearing a "see-through" outfit during her performance at the VMAs, which BTW wasn't even see-through to begin with.
In 2001, the Cornell Daily Suncalled for a literal boycott of her CD Britney:
We as a civilized society need to stop Britney and her immoral ways. She must make a choice: either sex symbol or role model. You can have one or the other, but not both.
That same year, Brandon Holley, the editor of ElleGirl magazine, said Britney needed to "button up a little bit":
"Every time I see her, she is wearing less and less. It's crazy. She needs to button up a little bit. Between the kids and the parents in that argument, I would side with the parents, certainly."
Parents were even complaining about how hard it was to go school shopping because "'baby Britneys' and 'teeny Christeenies' are pestering their parents to have a wardrobe that's beyond their years." One parent wrote a letter to the Washington Post complaining about SCHOOL SUPPLIES. She said:
"Kerrington Hill McCoy (was in) total disbelief to find school supplies for sale carrying the image of Britney Spears, scantily dressed, curvaceously posed, hair windblown, complete with pooched lips and flirtatious eyes. Let's call it what it is — soft porn."
In 2003, it got even crazier, when the literal governor of Maryland's wife, Kendel Ehrlich, said this at a DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONFERENCE:
"You know, really, if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would," Ehrlich said, laughing. "I hate to say that, but you know, like I said, I'm raising a boy…and I think, 'Oh my goodness, what would I do if I had a daughter who is seeing these images and having peer pressure?'"
That's when Britney responded with her best clapback yet. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Brit said:
"She probably needs to get laid,” Spears says, rolling her eyes, when asked about that trigger-happy governor’s wife. ”These parents, they think I’m a role model for their kids, that their kids look at me as some sort of idol. But it’s the parents’ job to make sure their kids don’t turn out that shallow. It’s the parents who should be teaching their kids how to behave. That’s not my responsibility. I’m not responsible for your kid.”
In 2006, she was accused of being a bad influence on teens.
That same year, the American Parents Television Council tried to get her song "If U Seek Amy" banned from radio.
Megyn Kelly got involved.
And Britney clapped back by parodying her in the music video.
In 2010, the Parents Television Council was pissed over her Glee episode:
They said because she had been in rehab, literally years ago, that she couldn't be considered a role model:
"Considering her stints in rehab, her very public breakdowns and her questionable parenting skills, there is absolutely no way Spears should be considered a role model."
In 2011, they came for her performance with Rihanna.
Like, I can't:
“The overtly sexualized performance by Rihanna and Britney Spears was no accident or mishap, but a deliberate effort to target teens with images and lyrics that glamorize whips, chains and other sexual fetishes."
And finally, now as a 34-year-old woman — A 34-YEAR-OLD WOMAN — she's got the parents coming for her yet AGAIN.
Melissa Henson, a program director for the Parents Television Council, told Gossip Cop:
On the one hand, you had these outstanding women athletes from the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team and they’re up there praising the female performers for being strong positive role models for women. But when you watch the performances, there’s a lot of self-objectification, self-sexualization going on.”
For instance, says Henson, whereas G-Eazy was fully-clothed when he took the stage, collaborator Britney Spears wore a risqué outfit and grabbed his crotch. “It was disheartening to see that from the female performers, because it’s such a strong contrast with the real upstanding role models.
Which, like, are you kidding me?!
The problem here isn't your kids wearing '90s figure skating leotards and humping the ground. The problem here is you are terrified of female sexuality.
There is something scary about a woman feeling good about her body.
There is something scary about a 34-year-old woman being comfortable in her skin.
It's 2016 and this whole "women scarring your kids with costumes" is a tired-ass narrative. It's time to move on!
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