Britney Spears as we now know her, is the woman whose career soared from a young age when she performed on the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, skyrocketed to success and became a teen idol. Unfortunately, nowadays Britney is known mostly for her well-publicised relationship with Justin Timberlake and her infamous breakdown that many thought meant the end of her career. However, things have changed for her in the last few years. Yes, her string of relationships is still publicly documented but, whilst that is happening, Spears has been silently but surely re-building her career. Even though she currently is in the 3rd year of her Las Vegas residency and has released many well-received chart-topping songs, her comeback, if I may call it that, wasn’t well established until August 28th 2016.
Everyone for all of time, will remember that date as the day Beyoncé came out and showed us all why she is Queen Bey and made us glad that we weren’t Jay Z. For me, however, the date held other relevance.
It was the date Britney Jean Spears returned to the VMAs after 9 years. The VMAs IS Britney. It’s the stage where she ripped off a suit to perform with NSYNC, where she performed with a snake and made it look easy, where she kissed Madonna and, unfortunately, it also saw the beginning of her downward spiral in 2007. And, yes, Beyoncé is the true queen but it is a testament to Britney’s character and her fearlessness that she was able to perform directly after her.
The performance itself was not as mind-blowing or as memorable as previous Britney performances but it showed maturity. Yes, she came out in a scantily-clad outfit and danced suggestively against G-Eazy but she did it with class. Because she is Britney. The beginning of the performance involved beautiful shadow hands to symbolise the trends of music performance but her entrance and her outfit was true Britney.
The weaving of old and new is why Britney is coming back so successfully; she has learnt the importance of capitalising on the successes of her career and reputation whilst learning to incorporate aspects of the current music industry. Her performance is not only an example of her success, however, it also shows the strength of her character.
I truly loved Britney when I heard the song “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” and it is a song I continued to listen to in my teenage years. In that song she reminds us that vulnerability and weakness are aspects of everybody’s life. At the VMAs she has shown us that she had her vulnerabilities showcased to the entire world but now she’s strong, she’s finally a woman. I am hopeful and inspired as I watch her: mother of two, “the original pop princess”, 34 year old woman performing her heart out on the very stage on which it was once stomped on in 2007. And, rather than compare her to Beyoncé, we should applaud her for her achievements.
We should not be comparing these women, instead we should be celebrating their individual and separate inspirations to women, and men, around the world.