In the Zone
Zomba Recording Corporation
"In the Zone" makes the complete leap into adulthood and it belongs in an "adult entertainment" section. It says a lot
about capitalism that this is not just a bonus CD attached to a Penthouse, Playboy or other pornographic magazine
We will hand it to Britney Spears for spelling out that it's all about capitalism and competing on business terms.
In reply to the wife of the governor of Maryland, Kendel Ehrlich, Britney Spears asked: "Why? Why are they mad
at me? Spears said. "Why are they not going at Christina [Aguilera]? Have they seen what she has on?...Beyoncé
dresses provocatively. Why don't they say something about her? What is 'too sexy' to them?"(1) Beyoncé
has the new Pepsi endorsement deal, so Britney Spears has a great point about capitalism. There is no need to shoot
just Britney Spears and shooting her won't address the issue, when it's a whole class of people responsible for
Ehrlich later apologized and backed off her saying Britney Spears should be shot for her influence on teenage females.
At MIM we share Ehrlich's original sentiment. When MIM comes to power in the dictatorship of the proletariat, entertainment won't be for profit, and we believe
we will suddenly see a drop-off in pornography when there's no money in it. It may rightly be considered artistic expression
under capitalism, because that's the best capitalism can do anyway, but once the money element is gone there won't be the Britney Spears phenomenon anymore.
For many, perhaps most adult wimmin, it will come as a shock that Britney Spears's customer base is teenage
wimmin now turning adult as she is. It's very important for wimmin organizing for liberation to understand the existing
diversity of wimmin and not to assume that all imperialist country wimmin share the same basic persynal attitudes.
Understanding the popularity of Britney Spears is part of what knowing sexual reality is in the imperialist countries.
Without knowing that reality, it will be impossible to devise a line to move forward in unity toward liberation.
What the popularity of Britney Spears means is that someone paying 10 digits a year and owning a promotion
machine can get what s/he wants--in this case phone sex taken as hip music in the teenage set. We do not consider
this "natural" behavior. It's very much constructed by mega-corporations. For that reason, MIM has taken a line of
waiting till after socialist revolution to see what the sexuality of well-off people really is. Right now there is so much
connection between money and sex, it is difficult to see what is "natural" and what is constructed, what is a fad or
what is literally bought. There is no way to know in any individual life; although many falsely protest that they do not
live lives of one sort of prostitution or pornography or another.
Men make Britney Spears consistently the most sought after image on the Internet. Thus the marketer has
taught teenage people that what Britney Spears does is entertaining and in demand by men.
Let's be clear though, that the Britney Spears rage is not just pictures on the Internet and men wondering when
they will finally find a good nude photograph. It's her lyrics promoting every aggressive male fantasy of how
wimmin should be. Talking as if to southern men, Britney Spears seems to have fun taking catcalls in "(I Got That) Boom Boom."
It's also how she uses a bedroom kind of voice consistently groaning as if having sex.
Britney Spears is the proof
that pseudo-feminism can never succeed. The question is not individual consent or what wimmin want subjectively.
People pushing for an end to sexual harassment should never fall into the trap of upholding the subjective or the
individual. The patriarchy can easily counter with wimmin like Britney Spears. "What if s/he wants to be cat-called?
What is she wants aggressive men? Who are you to tell all wimmin that men should not whistle at them on the street?"
There will always be someone or even a substantial minority willing to say anything for enough money. It's the same
problem in non-U.$. government leaders going on CIA payroll as sell-out wimmin going on pornographer payrolls.
Pointing to the privileged individual will be the line of the Liberal patriarchy against the Liberal pseudo-feminists--and among those claiming to uphold the individual as the center of the universe, and not oppressed groups of people such as classes, nations and genders, that should be the end of discussion. The only result of such a discussion fought on Liberalism's turf is a lost battle for
wimmin's liberation, which has to be a group-oriented, revolutionary process which decides on one path for the
whole group of wimmin.
In a move toward equal opportunity pornography, we also hear quite a bit of Indian influence in the album. Following
this album it will be
difficult to think of Indian TV music without thinking of starving wimmin exploited for sex. We can just hear
Britney Spears complain about her competitors like Beyoncé and then switch to the topic of how Indian culture
also has its pornography--as a defense of her own business. It's enough to make us
think this is one instance where internationalism is not intermixing of cultures. If Britney Spears finds something outside Anglo-Saxon culture useful for her album generally devoid of music, that is damnation, not inclusion.
It's quite possible to be Indian
and think that Western culture is too trashy and sex-motivated and then turn on some music or movie about
some poor pathetic, starving or otherwise powerless but attractive Indian womyn. To hell with Indian porno too. Even if it shows less skin, it has its faults in some ways worse than Western pornography. If some rich womyn wants to show her skin like Britney Spears, that's not the same thing as the position of most wimmin in the world. We at MIM do not believe that oppression
of wimmin is only cultural. Nor is it merely a Western or Western-influenced thing. Those saying so merely seek to replace one kind of pornography with a worse kind.
E!Online News did a thorough review of Britney Spears: "'[I've] been into a lot of Indian spiritual religions,' Spears told Newsweek.
When the magazine's correspondent asked if Hinduism might be one of them, the singer replied: 'What's that? Is it like Kabbalah?'"(1)
This is actually a damnation and statement about the true function of Eastern spirituality today. When someone inevitably
asks if Britney Spears is one-dimensional as in all sex, she and others prepare a reply about Eastern religion. The most
sex and money-obsessed people turn to Eastern spirituality as an excuse and prop to cleanse the individual for another
round of meaningless gluttony.
The Britney Spears phenomenon is inevitable under capitalism, partly as progress over previous economic
systems. As it becomes less and less important to have children to support oneself in old age, people date
more and more for purely leisure-time reasons. The question becomes: how do well-fed and sheltered people
entertain each other and should they entertain each other or is there something inherently wrong with
some kinds of entertainment. Religions based on family values that come from older
economic systems become increasingly irrelevant. The well-off peoples of the imperialist countries will never
go back to the social values built on previous economic systems and levels of prosperity.
At the same time,
we all have to be clear that those of us still living traditional lives should not mix things that do not go together.
People who need to concentrate their efforts to raise children successfully should not be spreading the
Britney Spears type of pornography. It sets a standard of entertaining men that is too hard for someone
trying to raise kids. Raising children as support for old-age is not a pure motive and today
people who raise children may do so to entertain themselves, but they should also realize
that kids are a kind of entertainment that comes with "humyn rights." A CD or porn video can be watched all night
or put aside or completely trashed--not so for children. When the dynamics of porn and children mix the result is not
The overall trend toward asking how to entertain oneself is inevitable and unstoppable as society prospers, especially
in imperialist society living off the labor of other peoples. Even when socialism abolishes exploitation, the
portion of time dedicated to leisure-time and its importance will only rise. In the meantime, men thinking about
children need to draw the line against some kinds of entertainment. Children are a full-time, all-life commitment the
way society is now. Men can draw the line now and also work toward revolutionizing child-rearing.
Shame on "Spin" magazine for giving a positive review.(2) There's hardly any music in this pre-recorded phone
sex CD. The instrumental aspects are plain stupid and do nothing to distract from the sex message.
"Oops!...I did it again"
Zomba Recording Corporation
What we like about Britney Spears is that she is very clear-cut in her sexuality at least verbally;
even though, she targets teenage girls as a special audience, her consumer base so to speak.
"Oops. . . I Did It Again" is about interpreting how someone might trifle with another romantically.
In "Stronger" she says she's not "your property."
The word "trashy" is one of the most overused in the dictionary, but Britney Spears is on the
trashy side of the trashy/porno continuum of pop while pop star competitor Christina Aguilera is more directly
on the soft-core porn side. Christina Aguilera orients her music to creating a soft-core porn effect
while Britney accomplishes much the same with her voice and even more with her direct lyrics.
"Dear Diary" could be a schoolgirl's crush on a boy. It asks what she should do to make him notice her.
When we picture Britney Spears singing to young teenage girls, and we see her express
heterosexual desire as a womyn, we have some willingness to overlook what we would just
call porn for older people. Britney Spears's lyrics are direct, if trashy.
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Zomba Recording Corporation
In this album, Britney Spears confronts directly the issue of her age and sexuality
and says she is neither a girl nor quite a womyn in her song titled,
"I'm not a girl/Not yet a Woman." The present reviewer believes her
voice is even more childish in age than she is and that it could well be the voice
of a 13-year-old.
"I'm a slave" admits the age question but says that she is a "slave" for her
partner. Next in "Overprotected" she calls herself a girl not knowing how to act.
"Anticipating" is just about putting on cosmetics and going out to party. It's
typical for all her material in being shallow.
It's troubling that Britney Spears's global popularity is so high and her voice
even younger than she really is, not because we have anything against child singers
hitting it big. It's troubling because Britney Spears is selling herself with
supermodel-type photos on her CD jackets and her voice and lyrics push pretty close
to being kiddy porn. We would rather have our superstars use their most adult voices
rather than play with issues of innocence and sexuality.
Britney Spears has been the most popular singer of recent years. This remains true
despite her shallow and typical love song material and its lack of recentness. Her
staying power and icon stature stem from being part of soft-core pornography.
Britney Spears lyrics talk about "cute" boys and desire. At MIM, we would say she
is the spokespersyn of the gender aristocracy--biological females who claim to enjoy sex
in a way that men do. Although she is wildly popular, Britney Spears's lyrics are
made-for-pornography or made-for-radio fantasy and not addressing the oppression of
most of the world's girls and wimmin.
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