Over on Feministing, Jessica Valenti blogs todayabout Britney Spears at the VMAs last night, saying "... if I hear one more person comment on how 'fat' she was, I'm gonna lose it. Whether it's a news story saying she has a "paunch" or a cable news dude calling her chunky and fat--it's ....gross and wrong. When was the last frigging time a male musician's beer belly made news?"
I'm honestly conflicted on this. While I tend to agree that it's wrong and misogynistic (Etc...) that society imposes a certain standard of beauty/appearance on women, I can't help but think that Britney Spears sure as hell benefited from that system. Don't we all remember her writhing around with the snake around her shoulders? I might even go so far as to argue that her behavior and image (up until recently) sent a darn high physical standard for other young girls to fail to achieve.
Sure, I feel bad for her, in a way. But I'd be more likely to agree with Jessica on this if Britney had attempted in some way to call out this impossible standard of perfection (maybe by not wearing a bra and panties onstage), rather than what it appears that she did: try to convince herself that she still conformed to it.
To be clear: I don't think that women need to be a certain size, shape or hair color to dress however they see fit. But I think it's disingenuous to pretend that the audience, or the performers, or Britney herself -- agrees.