Being Britney by Jennifer Otter Bickerdike review – once again | Biography books
The industry built on Britney Spears is a vast and adaptable beast. Since the singer first appeared on the scene in 1998 at the age of 16, she has been a profitable asset. She has sold millions of records and concert tickets and has given her name to countless products, from soft drinks to cameras to perfumes. His personal life has also sold, and continues to sell, newspapers and magazines. She’s kept gossip sites and paparazzi operations healthy for decades. Now the world seems to be asking, what was the cost?
An old South Park episode asked this question as early as 2008. It was made around the time Spears was admitted to a psychiatric ward, and she and her estate were placed under the care of her father, Jamie, in an arrangement. controversial that has only just begun to change. The episode, Britney’s New Look, was a scathing satire on the brutal treatment of young women in the public eye; it ended with the cartoon Britney being ritually sacrificed by the townspeople, with the blame shared between the press and the people.
The current phase of the ever-changing Britney industry owes a lot to the tone of that 20-minute old animation. He is both fascinated by her suffering and disgusted by this fascination with her, trapped in a conflicted state of worry and curiosity. For a while, the #FreeBritney movement, which began as a fan campaign to free the singer from the tutelage that remained in place for 13 years, looked like a well-meaning conspiracy theory, at least to outsiders. Fans have been looking for signs that the singer may seek help with her Instagram posts. But as allegations about the dark nature of the Guardianship surfaced, the fan cause became widespread.
This year, a number of documentaries have attempted to uncover the truth about what has happened to Spears since 2008. These films – Framing Britney Spears, Controlling Britney Spears, The Battle for Britney and Britney vs Spears – have used the dismantling of the guardianship to reassess Spears’ place in the cultural canon. They employ a tactic of revisionism that takes the media coverage of the time and condemns it with a 2021 perspective. Yet they also rely heavily on the material they condemn and can fall into a nauseous state of piety.
Now Being Britney: Pieces of a Modern Icon joins the fray. The book does not seem to report anything new; instead, it pulls together snippets of news, fan gossip, documentaries, discussion forums, opinion pieces, and more, to put together a sort of biography. This fractured style is suitable for the digital age we live in, and its tone is reminiscent of the rapid hustle and bustle of the internet.
Otter Bickerdike is an academic and cultural historian who devotes each chapter to a big talking point, scandal or victory in Spears’ career, from video… Baby One More Time to the famous double denim look she wore during from an event with Justin Timberlake, to media speculation about whether she had breast implants, her rivalry with Christina Aguilera, the horrors of her 2008 crisis, and the fallout unfolding from that time on.
She takes an interest in Spears as a “culture vessel,” and the book presents the star as a blank canvas on which audiences can project whatever they want. Spears can be a businesswoman, a shrewd pop genius, a victim, a survivor, an icon, depending on how and when you look at her. But its broad brushstrokes can make a crazy reading. There’s a chapter about Spears fleeing a supposedly haunted house, which she sold to actor Brittany Murphy and her husband, Simon Monjack, both of whom later died there. “Maybe the ‘disturbed’ couple Spears met were the future ghosts of Murphy and Monjack?” suggests Otter Bickerdike. May be!
Importantly, Spears is positioned as relatable, with the author claiming that despite the star’s troubles, she “shows us all how to be bloodied and bruised but seemingly unbreakable no matter how intimidating the circumstances are.” But I’m not sure the Spears saga lends itself to universal lessons about triumph over adversity. What is lacking in this argument is surely the uniqueness of Spears’ situation.
What happened to him is grotesque and extreme. She is one of the most famous women in the world, living with unimaginable control, and yet she has spent more than a decade allegedly under the control of her father – who she told a court in June. , treated her, threatened to send her to a mental health unit if she disobeyed orders to work, and gave her a contraceptive implant to prevent her from having more children. In response, Jamie Spears said he had no power over his daughter’s personal affairs for nearly two years, and that when he was the curator of her personal decisions, he did everything in his power. power to support her well-being, including consenting to her marriage in 2012. and sharing guardianship duties with her fiance.
“I just want to get my life back on track, and it’s been 13 years and that’s enough,” Spears said. But the pieces of his life continue to be arranged and rearranged, for our entertainment.