I will always love Britney Spears
Britney and I are about the same age. I've loved her ever since I laid my hormone-addled eyes on her for the first time at 15. I knew there was some feminist power being expressed in her "oh baby baby", and dreamed of the day when we would be together. I co-existed in the toxic patriarchal era of the late 90s and early 2000s with her and felt personally victimized every time her body, appearance, intelligence, talent, worth, morality and sexuality were scrutinized and vilified. I experienced the same kind of scrutiny.
In 2007 when she had her epic meltdown and shaved her head and bashed a paparazzo's car with an umbrella, I saw it as feminist performance art and protest, and I loved her more than ever. I was having my own public meltdowns as performance art at the time. It was the thing to do in the aughts. We even went to rehab around the same time.
In 2008 I made a zine called Sundries, which included this collage about Brit calling her (among other things) a martyr, a public servant and a vigilante.
A few days ago I watched the Britney doc by the New York Times called Framing Britney Spears and I loved it but was grossed out by seeing my experience of her being publicly pilloried played out over time, in subtly different ways that at the time seemed okay to people, but never seemed okay to me and mirrored sexist violence I experienced or feared in those times, and it made me feel kinda... like, triggered. But I snap myself out of it by reminding myself that it's not 1998 or 2004 or 2007 it's 2021 and I'm a free bitch baby. I want that for Britney too. #FreeBritney
The doc reminded how hot she was with her head shaved, and of this painting I did of her for my friend Emily in 2016, called Klimtney.
In 2018-2019 I wrote a series of poems about some of my fave celebs (Brit, Bey, Lindsay & Amy Winehouse). Here is the poem I wrote for you, dear Brit Brit!
I make tracks through LA for public display
I can’t stand staying at home alone anymore
And it still feels like the crowd is saying give me more.
You can see the tracks in my hair
and the traces on my cheeks
Of postpartum blues
In Juicy Couture.
When they want a piece of me
it’s me against the music
I pump gas in bare feet
but I am not a part of this
and you are all phlebotomists.
Dance like a zombie, pound vodka, take Dilaudid
Jump in pools, get in cars, start a fire, swear on it
cameras are flashing my smeared sweat, a dropping eye,
My aerobic mind - bouncing off its cellular walls,
too active to be contained
Like nuclear fission
I drive like hell toward the sunset
With Jaiden clutched to my chest
Trying to outrun daylight
Trying to catch flight.
And don’t I deserve this?
I shilled for Pepsi and the president
Mourned at 9/11 monuments
Moaned like porno for their mixtapes.
Driving into the sun
I saw my life - like mitochondria
Under a microscope
Me, an ameoba, in media res
Teeming, among multitudes
Debased of meaning - as is.
And on that last night of freedom
wavy lines sprang from my eyes
I screamed in fear at EMT guys
Who looked to me like goblins
As they wrenched me from my bathroom
My only hiding place.