The Pop Tart in WinterOctober 29, 2004
A few months ago, Lynne Spears wrote in an online column that her daughter Britney’s new video—for the single “My Prerogative”—possessed “an element of old Hollywood glamour and mystery.” Her statement may puzzle some viewers; namely, those with eyes. In the video, Britney drives her car into a swimming pool; emerges from the water, dripping and squirming; writhes on a bed in her undies; and poses in lingerie and garters, stroking herself while a man puffing a cigar ogles her. That final scene, in particular, is a uniquely Spearsian take on adult-child arousal: all smoke and leerers. Sadly, the singer herself seems unaroused. “My Prerogative” arrives along with a disarmingly candid message on Spears’ Web site. In this self-described “Letter of Truth,” the pop star declares her need for a break. “My prerogative right now is to just chill & let all the other overexposed blondes on the cover of Us Weekly be your entertainment … GOOD LUCK GIRLS!” She continues, “I understand now what they mean when they talk about child stars. … It’s amazing what advisors will push you to do, even if it means taking a naive, young, blonde girl & putting her on the cover of every magazine.” Spears has already taken a lot of flack for her vigorously punctuated cri de coeur. But the fact is, she’s absolutely right. She is tragically overexposed. Perhaps it’s time for the pop tart to go home and eat some Pop-Tarts (which she has publicly longed for), and ponder what happened to her—or her publicists’—masterful navigation of the fine line between self-exposure and self-destruction. Having made an art of inviting viewers to wonder just how knowingly she has participated in her own hyper-sexualization, Spears can’t find anyone willing to cut her the break accorded to most young naifs in the world of showbiz.