Sunday, October 7, 2007

For some reason, I've been slightly obsessed with this Britney Spears drama. I think it's ironic, with all of these unoriginal morons like Christina Aguilera trying to be Marilyn Monroe, that Britney actually is. People forget that Marilyn wasn't the pinup, she was a tragic, lost individual whose identity had been completely wrapped up in what others had created for her. I can't help but wonder if the media had been as intense and as exploitative as it is today if we wouldn't have been just as horrified but Marilyn's personal battles, which from a more distant perspective, seem glamorous and interesting. I think there's a lot of tragedy in what we do to women in our entertainment industry. Where there used to be talented actresses and singers who were self made, with only the lucky breaks they got along the way to help them climb the ladder, we now have a fame factory that can program any girl in the world to be an idol if they're skinny and impressionable enough. What this does is stunt the development of individuals and create a thin, shiny shell of glittery sex appeal to be sold anywhere and everywhere. But what happens when that individual starts to get restless and what happens when that individual realizes they can't compete with the illusionary image of who they've been made out to be? Maybe this is why I like Britney Spears, and hate celebrities. I like her vulnerability, because as fucked up as she may be, at least there's a part of her that still maintains some sense of the fact that she's a human and who wants to be a human. It seems pretty easy for celebrities to believe they're gods because their agents and magazines tell them so, but don't realize that they're not worshipped for their merit or talent or greatness, but for their shred of entertainment value to us, like trained monkeys on rollerskates. We don't care who they are. I think Britney, like Marilyn, wants someone who care about her, not her image. I think she hasn't diluted herself into believing all of her success and all of the attention she has received has anything to do with her, and I have to respect that. We as a culture ought to look at the impact we're having not only on the girls we're turning into media whores, but also the generation of girls who are saturated by it. Hell, when I was 13, Britney and Christina were still virgins. There were no stories of 18 year old pop stars getting DUIs without licenses, going to rehab and doing coke in public with their shirts off. I'm sure it was happening, but it wasn't being thrown all over teen magazine. There was still such a concept as "role model". And as a former camp counselor, anyone who wants to argue that young girls aren't influenced by all of this should try spending some time around them. I'm only 21, I can't even imagine what kind of warped culture we're going to have when I have children.

A few years ago, I was at an opening for an Andy Warhol exhibit in Chicago. While "society" was downstairs flocked around the hors d'oeuvres buffet, I was upstairs, undisturbed, able to really concentrate on his work. I'd never had a great appreciation for Andy Warhol before then, but I remember one blown up photograph of Marilyn Monroe in which I noticed that her lipstick was literally painted on in the shape of her famous, pouty lips. As gorgeous as she was, it wasn't good enough... her real lips weren't good enough. Everything had to be made bigger, brighter... just like Warhol's lithographs. We all look like people, and we all have to accept that we are what we see in the mirror at the end of the day. As Gwen Stefani wrote, "the magic's in the make up."