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britney spears: you’ve come a long way, baby (one more time)

There are few artists who have ever had as much attention as has Britney Spears: the woman’s been around for 13 odd years, and has had her various successes and failures on public display for our viewing pleasure. Most recently, she has gotten engaged – something we can only assume at present to be good news – and I, for one, am happy for her.

See, I thought it brilliant when advocates for same-sex marriage were using Kim Kardashian’s 72 day post-wedding fling as evidence for why straight people are annihilating the sanctity of marriage, but most of Ms Spears’ mis-capades, particularly in regards to her relationships, haven’t really played into my desire to judge celebrities’ poor decisions.

This is probably because I was 10 when ‘…Baby One More Time’ was released, so I have the kind of early-formed affinity for Britney that makes it difficult for me to mock her without feeling like I’m offending my inner child.

But more importantly, Spears herself was only 17 when she achieved a level of fame that so few ever do. She was thrown into what looks to have been a veritable media circus, with an image so carefully constructed and executed that there’s little wonder she eventually rebelled against it; most of us do rebel against the standards set by our parents/teachers/etc at some point, but fortunately, we get to have these tantrums away from camera lenses.

I can’t pretend to know what Spears’ experience of fame has been, but I think this understanding that she was in a position and an environment that are virtually incomprehensible to us commoners, allows most of us to cut her some slack for the Vegas wedding, umbrella incident, Federline fiasco, etc.

Kardashian, on the other hand, has, according to Wikipedia, been “active” (I’m not sure anyone has determined exactly what she has been active doing) since she was 27. Personally, I’ve seen a marked difference in my ability to make considered and calculated decisions in the six years since I was 17, and I expect this ability to continue in a relatively upward linear manner until I have to use a nose hair trimmer.

If you’re 27, get inexplicably famous, get swept up by the hype and do dumb things, you’re old enough to know better. If you’re a teenager and get famous and eventually lose the plot a little bit, just about everyone who’s not profiteering off said plot-losing isn’t going to feel good about it. And just about everyone I know is glad that she’s back to making music that they hate, because it now at least looks like she’s making it (although I’d of course rather that she was making it in costumes other than sparkly bras), not like she’s being dressed, pushed out on stage and told to dance.

Britney Spears’ return to glory isn’t somehow better qualified because she’s getting married, but I’m sure that most of us would rather be feeling good both at home and at work, rather than just one or the other. Frankly, it gives me the warm fuzzies that a young woman who, not that long ago, was predicted as one of the celebrities most likely to die prematurely, has pulled herself back up and seems happy.

Good luck to the future Ms and Mr Britney Spears!

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