It’s a problem that each of us grapples with every day, consciously or otherwise:
How much of our true selves should we reveal to the world on social media?
The question is especially complex in the case of someone who has 42 million followers and wasn’t allowed to answer it for themselves until the age of 40.
As far as we know, there’s only one human being on the planet who has ever dealt with those very specific circumstances, so it’s not like there’s anyone she can turn to for advice.
We’re talking, of course, about Britney Spears.
If you’re one of those 42 million followers, then you probably know that Britney likes to make the most of her newfound freedom by posting (censored) nude photos and speaking her mind on the issues that matter to her.
For most of her adult life, Britney was under the strict control of a conservatorship, and her Instagram page was censored by her father and other overbearing authority figures.
Now that she finally enjoys the kind of independence that most adults take for granted, Spears is showing fans her uncensored self for the very first time.
It all makes perfect sense, and it stands to reason that Brit would seek to make up for lost time by sharing the sort of risqué content that she wasn’t allowed to post in her twenties.
But as the comments on Britney’s latest nudes remind us, a lot of people have a problem with this.
Many followers griped that Britney needs to be reigned in, and now, that line of complaint has been picked up by The New York Post, which published a scathing critique of Britney’s social media content on Monday.
“Such unhinged pleas for attention should worry fans,” wrote columnist Johnny Oleksinski.
“Instead they feed the fire with likes and perceive the pop princess’s internet stripping as the ultimate expression of the #FreeBritney movement and the completion of what her lawyer called a ‘decade-long nightmare.’”
Yes, it’s true that Britney can do no wrong in the eyes of many of her fans — but that’s the case with every mega-famous pop star on the planet.
The singer also receives a good deal of criticism, and it’s a strange sight to see semi-legitimate newspaper joining the pile-on.
But amid all the pearl-clutching and puritanism, Oleksinski did make a valid point about Britney’s sharp tongue.
“Her social media mania isn’t just harmless fun,” he wrote.
“Often Spears’ posts are targeted accusations or low-blow insults that have consequences.”
From there, the author described one genuinely problematic moment in Britney’s recent social media history — the incident in which the pop icon bizarrely fat-shamed former Christina Aguilera backup dancers.
In all likelihood, Spears is still dealing with a good deal of rage over the years in which she was essentially locked away, and there are times when she seems to choose inappropriate targets for her fury.
But this is the sort of impulse that should be checked by her PR team, not by a team of conservators granted legal authority over her life and finances.
“Every so often the ‘Circus’ singer will deactivate her account only to go back to her racy, incomprehensible online ways a few days later,” Olensinski concluded.
“She should do away with it for good. The activity is tarnishing a legacy of hit songs and memorable performances.
To be clear, this guy couldn’t care less about Britney’s legacy, and he’s just engaging in the most cowardly form of criticism by pretending to be concerned for her welfare.
As for the suggestion that she permanently delete her social media — well, Britney has been tossed about by one drastic measure after another for her entire adult life.
How about we let the 40-year-old millionaire make some decisions for herself now?