OK, so everyone, from the most banal of bloggers to the esteemed Manolo and Spirit Fingers, are talking about Britney Spear’s soporific “comeback” performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. (Video is here.)
Unfortunately, much of the discussion is about how Britney looks in that admittedly slutty (oh? did I say that out loud? I meant, uh, “unforgiving”) little hot-pants and bra outfit. In the past, Britney wore outfits like that and looked perfect in a “Hollywood definition of perfect” style. Now she wears it and looks, in the opinion of Francesca, either really hot in a womanly way, or just really slutty, depending on how much you generally enjoy watching any woman in hot pants and a push-up bra traipse around a stage on international television. If, before she bore two children, you thought she was slutty, well she’s still slutty. And if before, you thought she was hot, she’s still hot — Francesca would give two eye-teeth to look like her, only Francesca would still wear clothes over the bra– she’s just hot in the way a woman is hot when she is a little older than she was 4 years ago, and has had 2 children, but works out all the time and has lucky genes and is still really, really hot.
She’s certainly not fat, as some of her former fans, mostly teenage boys who want Britney to be 17 forever, insist.
But Francesca brings this up not to excoriate the teenage boys with their unrealistic and unkind comments about the curvy body. No, Francesca wishes to use Britney’s train-wreck performance as an example of the difference between between being mediocre and being on top of one’s game, regardless of one’s weight.
The problem is not that Britney has gained weight. The problem is that here she is supposed to be entertaining us, either with her singing (hah!) or her dancing (that’s what we want), or both (but we’d settle for good dancing and semi-realistic lip-synching). Instead of entertaining us, though, she went onstage and walked around a little (is it Francesca’s imagination or does poor Britney look like she’s taking tiny steps so she won’t fall over in the high heels?) and did a few gyrations while standing in place. Francesca is sorry, but Britney Spears did not build her empire by lip-synching and moving at 5 miles per hour. She built her empire by being one of the most talented, precise, enthusiastic dancers anywhere. She cannot rebuild it by performing like this:
Francesca submits that, had Britney been dancing her tushy off, had she acted like she was sincerely excited to be at the VMA and having fun, had she come prepared and put in the sort of effort and sweat that made her famous, fans would have been pleased no matter what her tummy looks like now. And Francesca submits that when the talent and effort are not there, it makes no difference how sculpted is the body.
Let this be a lesson to us: A gorgeous, sluttily-dressed body can never make up for mediocrity. And: curvy women can get away with a little bit of lumpy-squishies here and there when we are confident, happy, enjoying ourselves, and giving off positive vibes.