Not everything has gone smoothly in the wake of Britney Spears’ “Hold Me Closer” success.
She is still dealing with strained family relationships, many years of trauma, and friction on social media.
But supporting Britney and her freedom does not mean cheering her on even when she’s wrong.
Fans are accusing her of body-shaming over a post from Monday evening. Others are asking if Britney even knows what body-shaming is.
Before we delve into the understandable controversy, let’s address the post itself.
First, Britney shared a photo features a quote: “I found there was only one way to look thin: hang out with fat people.”
“I wish I could have chosen the nannies for my children … my dancers …” she began her caption.
“I mean if I had Christina Aguilera’s dancers,” Britney mused, “I would have looked extremely small…”
She then asked: “I mean why not talk about it ??”
Britney added: “Don’t you think my confidence would have been a bit better if I could choose where I lived?”
Britney continued to wish that she could have chosen where she “ate, whom I called on the phone, dated.”
“And,” she added, “who was on stage with me !!!”
Britney then expressed: “It’s hard sometimes now I see how much of my womanhood was stripped away at that time.”
“And,” she lamented, “every person sat back and didn’t say a thing !!!”
Britney concluded: “Anyways … I will be here talking bout things people NEVER talked about !!!”
In general, it is of course good that Britney is free to speak her mind. But some words hurt, even unintentionally.
Simply put, it certainly sounds like Britney is — among other things — body-shaming Christina Aguilera’s dancers.
(Christina seems to have thought so … because she has publicly unfollowed Britney)
Quickly, comments poured in, imploring Britney to delete her post, or to edit it. And of course to apologize.
Obviously, a lot of Britney’s longtime supporters felt torn over this.
Is Britney a secretly bad person who is making fun of backup dancers? Are people just misunderstanding?
Britney made so many good points about her freedom … so why did she bring other people’s bodies into it?
Meanwhile, there were some very vocal fans who urged people to stay out of her business.
It is understandable to be happy that Britney is free and can speak her mind.
They would rather she speak freely without criticism than receive feedback, let alone condemnation.
Obviously, supporting Britney and her freedom does not mean cheering her on when she’s wrong.
Well … it can. But it definitely shouldn’t.
That said, there may be a nuance here that explains why Britney didn’t think anything of her post.
First and foremost, Britney spent nearly 14 years in a conservatorship.
She did not have the normal social opportunities that most human beings are free to enjoy.
It is hardly surprising to hear that, in some ways, she is “stuck” in the culture of 2008. In that time, body-shaming was widespread.
People aren’t infantalizing Britney when they ask if she knows the term “body-shaming” or what it means.
First, she grew up and attained stardom in the 1990s, an era when even skinny women were targets of vicious body-policing.
Obviously, Britney has body-image issues. She has expressed this numerous times on social media, if not in those words.
Also, do we all remember that anecdote that she shared at the start of the year?
Britney had heard her friend’s 12-year-old daughter request a sandwich without cheese, and asked if she was calorie-counting.
Why? Because Britney herself had started doing so at the same age. She felt surprised by her friend’s hostile reaction to the question.
Britney clearly did not understand why that question, rooted in diet culture and disordered eating, was unwelcome.
Why? Because that kind of toxicity is the only attitude about the human body that she has ever known.
With that in mind, body-shaming is not okay. But we can acknowledge that Britney was robbed of the chance to learn that.