Britney Speared

FOR DOWNLOAD MORE GALLERY At age 53, I am not a Britney Spears fan, but you can put me in the category of people who actually feel sorry for the torrent of negativity that has burst forth over the past few days about her comeback performance on the VMA Awards.

Sure, she sucked. This is obviously a young woman in distress, her career and personal life in shambles, all played out in the press which allows millions of people to all dump on her at once.

But the thing that really pisses me off is all the comments about how fat and out of shape she appeared to be. Granted, it was a poor costume choice for a woman who has given birth twice, but there really is nothing wrong with her body. With larger women making their mark in popular culture, like Jennifer Hudson and America Ferrera, it would seem that the general public would be a bit more tolerant of a woman who has put on a few natural pounds since her teen fantasy days.

Rebecca Traister over at Salon has written perhaps the best assessment of exactly what is really going on here with the public execution of Spears.
Spears is living out our ur-nightmares -- showing up naked at school, or arriving at a test that we didn't know we had while everyone chortles and points and we fail. That is actually what MTV set her up to do on Sunday night and since, as we've passed around the video clip of her lameness.

It didn't stop with laughing. There was also the harsh but deserved criticism of her performance and, more horrendously, of her physique. Spears, it seems, two children and five years of self-abuse later, no longer pleases the public with her hourglass shape. No, her ill-fitting outfit showed off a figure that was not as compact and pink as it was when she was a teenager. Sure, she looked better in a bikini than probably 98 percent of the Americans sitting on their couches and howling at her, but she was no longer porn-star perfect. And in the American lexicon, that equals fat. Wonder why your daughters have eating disorders and hate their bodies? Maybe because they're reading reports that label the thin young woman dancing around in a bra and panties physically unappealing and obese.
In America, you can be overweight and accepted if your talent is "hot", you can be "hot" in appearance and totally lacking in talent (think Paris Hilton), but you cannot be overweight and mediocre or you will be skewered.

The hatchet job that has been done in the press and in the blogosphere on Britney Spears' physical appearance is a true moment of shame in American society.

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