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I Allowed Others To Decide How I felt About Britney Spears

The media shaped my thoughts on Britney

“I bought a Britney Spears cd just to see why everyone likes her so much, and then I cracked it in half and threw it in my pool,” my former classmate said. We in junior high, at the age where our celebrity crushes still seemed obtainable to us. I assumed she hated Britney Spears so much was because she was dating Justin Timberlake, but I can’t be sure. Whatever the reason, Britney Spears was living in this girl’s head rent-free. There wasn’t a day that went by where she didn’t mention Spears. She attacked her looks, her talent, her personal life, and even her intelligence. This girl brought Britney Spears up so much, that I was afraid to admit to enjoying some of her songs.

I also made the mistake of cutting my hair in a style that was like Britney’s. I didn’t know that she was currently wearing that style, but this girl made sure I knew she thought Britney Spears was ugly. She also demanded to know if I was trying to copy her. She let me know that she would think of me as a loser if I had purposely chosen the style based on Spears. I hadn’t even known how her hair was styled before stepping into the salon, but I was getting sick of hearing this girl bash Britney Spears whenever she got the chance.

I don’t remember much about the girl, aside from her hatred for Britney and her unfulfilled need to be popular. That’s all I needed to remember since the girl’s hatred was like venom. I’m sure there was a girl just like her in every middle school and high school. They're probably still is, but she’s bashing someone new now. I found myself affected by her poisonous behavior and hatred for Britney and I stopped buying her music (I’d only bought the first cd, but I did enjoy her music at the time). I started growing as annoyed with Britney Spears as the girl had been, and I even started insulting her music myself. It was easy to place Britney in the villain role, but why was that?

I’d like to place all the blame on my former classmate, but I must admit that the media is to blame for some of it. We were told that we weren’t supposed to look up to Britney because of how she dressed and danced. It only got worse when she broke up with Justin Timberlake. He trashed her in interviews for his benefit and released “Cry Me A River”, which was said to be about Spears. The pair breaking up was all entertainment media talked about. There were rumors of Britney cheating, and I was inclined to believe them. It didn’t seem out of character for her to cheat, or at least the character that the media had created. I was seeing the picture of Britney Spears that I was expected to see.

Soon, the tabloids were linking Britney with every single male she had the nerve to even wave hello to. Fred Durst was playing the part of a heartbroken man and fueling rumors that he’d had a relationship with Spears. I don’t know if this was true, but I remember believing it at the time. Rapper, Eminem released multiple songs panting Britney in a negative light. I can’t help but wonder if her career suffered because of the negativity since her film flopped around this time and I don’t remember how well her songs performed.

I was working at Walmart when Britney had her breakdown, and I could still remember the images of her that were splashed across every gossip magazine in the store. Her head was shaved, and she was holding an umbrella while making an aggressive face. She needed help, but all the magazine saw were dollar signs. No one was having conversations about mental health, other than the late-night comedians who were making fun of Britney. Several of the magazines were insulting her. It wasn’t acceptable to have mental illnesses when Britney had her breakdown.

Now that I’m an adult, I see Britney differently. I see her as a young woman who was ripped apart by the media, and by jealous teenage girls. I see a woman whose music I disregarded because others were so willing to turn their back on her. I see a woman who was likely told to do things she didn’t want to in order to better her career. I also see a young woman who was ridiculed instead of offered the help she needed.

I know it’s unlikely that Britney would read this, but I still would like to apologize for the things I thought of her when I was younger. She was a young girl trying to obtain her dreams, but maybe those dreams turned out to be nightmares instead.

Jade McCulloch
Jade McCulloch
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Jade McCulloch

Jade is an indie author from Louisiana. Her first book failed, but she isn't going to let that stop her from living her dream. She has a min pin that she calls her little editor. You can sometimes see them on her youtube or twitch.

See all posts by Jade McCulloch

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