Analysis: Britney Spears’ battle is a lasting consequence of the age of the most ruthless celebrity gossip

Now, scrolling through popular sites like Perez Hilton, Lainey Gossip, and TMZ feels a lot like looking back at the most grueling years of digital adolescence. But when they reign, no young star is safe from continuously messed up, paparazzi-infringed photos and humiliating headlines. The coating is caustic and scum, and thirsty devotees will sip it all as faithfully as a mid-morning latte.

The era of ruthless blogging, for all intents and purposes, is over.

But not with Britney Spears.

For more than 10 years, Spears, now 39 years old, fought with the conservatorship given for a long period of personal defeat started in 2007. At the time, celebrity gossip writers were at the height of their influence, and they happily recorded and detailed every stumbling block: Britney shaved her head. Britney used an umbrella to attack a paparazzo’s car. Britney at the custody hearings for her two sons. Britney reappears at an uncomfortable awards ceremony performance. Britney, at her lowest, for all to see.
In 2008, what was supposed to be a temporary arrangement to get Spears back on track turned into a series of permanent legal restrictions that has influenced Spears’ personal and professional life ever since. Meanwhile, popular culture has evolved and so has Spears’ career. But all in all, her legal struggles remain a lasting consequence of an era where no personal struggles were the limit for the Internet’s powerful arbiters.

Through squeegee

The crowd photographers Britney Spears & # 39; in October 2007 when she went to family court for a hearing to resolve custody agreements with ex-husband Kevin Federline.

In fact, Britney Spears is always talked about. The icon was only 16 years old when her schoolgirl dress and “…Baby, One More Time” braid changed pop culture in 1998, branding the image as profound and lasting as it was. Michael Jackson’s white gloves or a pair of blue suede shoes.

Since that time, she has captured a global passion that seems to never go away, including her troubles.

As it happens, the worst of those troubles comes in a particularly productive period for the burgeoning chatter machines. Her divorce, custody battle, mental health issues, and an episode of involuntary hospitalization in it paparazzi made headlines to get a picture of Spears on a gurney, all of which happened sometime between 2007 and 2008. At the same time, Lindsay Lohan, another favorite gossip target, have faced countless legal troubles and stand trial of her own. Interweaving is the achievement of other It-girls such as Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson, Christina Aguilera and Tara Reid.

What do these women have in common? They are all young, beautiful, rich and successful. They’ve all driven a lifetime of fame, many of whom have made the arduous transition from child stardom to young, independent adults.

And in the nascent cathedrals of the internet gossip world, they deserve to be taken down.

“We love to see people get up and fall again, come back up and fall again,” said Erin Meyers, an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at Oakland University.

“Especially someone like Britney Spears, who came out in Disney movies and then became a teen star.”

Out of the forest

Popular gossip blogger Perez Hilton in 2018.

The advent of social media helped end the highly influential grip of tabloids and gossip blogs as it allowed celebrities to control their stories. With a well-organized tweet or Instagram post, a star can effectively defuse any hysteria on a blog or detract from paparazzi photos, while also building a presence that resonates with people. fans more accessible than even the most beloved gossip.

“Prior to this point, the best way for celebrities to redefine their image was through their professional work,” says Meyers. “Spears did this too. Songs like ‘Piece of Me’ and ‘I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman’, although not written by her, were clearly in response to the replies. criticize and own her narration.”

“But with social media, suddenly, celebrities can say exactly what they want to people, when they want to say it.”

The rise of new social norms and the #MeToo movement also contributed to stamping out the ruthless celebrity trafficking. While the praise blogs mocked Spears in her comeback performance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, and rush to rip off Jessica Simpson’s high-waisted jeans During a 2009 appearance at a chili cooking party, today’s young stars were quickly bite back body shaming. The idea of ​​scribbling derogatory names or crude scribbles on a photo of a famous female character, as Perez Hilton has been known and actually published it on any platform, feels inconceivable.
In this new context, Paris Hilton, Mischa Barton, Megan Fox and other celebrity favorites spoke openly about feeling abused and diminished by the toxic celebrity culture of the time.

The question is when will it be Spears’ turn?

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Spears did not have access to social media freely, as dictated by the restrictions of her conservatorship. She does not have the freedom to choose her finances or her profession. Simply put, the measures other women took to regain their identities after being taken out of the spotlight were not available to her.

Farther to go

Spears rarely talks openly about her situation, which is why her comment in a recent trial, sharp and clear, very noticeable. During the hearing, Spears asked to be relieved of her management role, calling it “abusive behavior.”

“I just want my life back,” she said.

Among the revelations about her life under the installation, she gave a brief summary of what it was like to live on opposite sides of public opinion; be envied, but ridiculed. Idolized, but demolished.

“I thought people would mock me,” Spears said, explaining why she was hesitant to talk about past situations. “Or laugh at me and say, ‘She’s lying. She has everything. She’s Britney Spears.”

A week after her testimony, a judge denied Spears’ request to remove her father, Jamie Spears, as custodian of her $60 million estate.

Many of Spears’ contemporaries have voiced their support, and notably many of them have weathered their own traumatic seasons in the public eye.

“Free Britney!” Miley Cyrus sang during the 4th of July performance.
“Give this woman back to life,” Madonna posted on Instagram.
“She deserves her freedom,” Paris Hilton said on social media. “I’ve been saying Free Britney for a long time, and I’ll keep saying it until she’s free.”

After years of being haunted by ruthless gossip headlines and unforgettable images of her lowest moments, Britney Spears has finally spoken the most important voice in her story. : She. | Analysis: Britney Spears’ battle is a lasting consequence of the age of the most ruthless celebrity gossip


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