I.n her song “Piece of Me”, Britney Spears, once one of the greatest pop stars on the planet, sings: “I’ve been Miss American Dream since I was 17. It doesn’t matter if I’m on stage or I’m off to the Philippines, they’ll publish a photo of my bum in their magazine after all. You want a piece by me? ”What the 39-year-old singer described at the time is an example of the life of an artist, which was mainly formed by external attributions.
Britney Spears became “America’s Sweetheart” practically overnight, an idealized icon somewhere between naive innocence and seductive Lolita. Their dismantling in the noughties was unprecedented. The pictures went around the world: Britney Spears, who, accompanied by hundreds of paparazzi, marched into a hair salon and shaved off her hair. Britney Spears striking a paparazzi’s car with an umbrella. Britney Spears strapped into an ambulance on a stretcher. 13 years later, the multi-million dollar singer is still under her father’s tutelage. What was intended as a temporary solution to the problems of a stumbling young woman has become permanent. Fans around the world are calling today: Free Britney! A new documentary from the “New York Times” is fueling the movement. But how did it get that far?
Britney Spears has been on stage all her life. She grew up in a small town in Louisiana, in the heart of the so-called Bible Belt. Her parents discover her talent early on. As a child, she sang on the TV show “Mickey Mouse Club” alongside Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. Then at the age of 17 the first record deal. In 1999, her debut “Baby one more time” became a global hit – and that at a time when the music industry was primarily focused on marketing boy bands. From the very beginning, the Britney Spears brand was designed primarily for the greatest possible contrasts. She was the innocent girl next door and the sexy Lolita rolled into one. Millions of girls wanted her to be friends or to be like her, men all over the world wanted her. The devout young woman who attended church every Sunday in her homeland was officially a virgin. Playing with their sexuality was borderline from today’s post-MeToo perspective. It was the starting point for the scandals that followed when the image that was imposing on her, especially the public, began to crumble.
When her relationship with Justin Timberlake becomes known, Britney Spears is at the peak of her career. The tabloids and fans love the couple. Britney and Justin – there is only more perfection in their perfectly coordinated jeans outfits. But love doesn’t last. In the eyes of the American public, the main culprit for their end was Britney Spears. Infidelity rumors, lies about her alleged virginity, a Timberlake revenge song, Britney Spears kissing Madonna at the MTV Video Music Awards – in front of her former partner and the whole country. The signs were bad for a woman growing up in the public eye. She is repeatedly asked in interviews about the most intimate details – about the reasons for the relationship, her sex life or her alleged breast enlargement. The excessive reporting and the sexism that the singer had to face are difficult to grasp from today’s perspective.