My first reaction to this article: Britney Spears is only 29? She was never a significant part of my childhood (my parents refused to allow her CDs into the house), but she’s certainly an icon for my generation, although perhaps not an unambiguously positive one. It seems odd to realize that she’s only a few years older than I am.
That said, the reason she was resurfacing was even more interesting. In a new campaign for Candies, Spears released un-retouched photos (lnked above) next to digitally altered versions. I’ll let you guess which ones were for the ad campaign.
The article was a little confusing, but the Daily Mail certainly seemed excited to see the photos. “It’s refreshing,” the reporter wrote, “to see one of the world’s most famous pop stars allowing all of their imperfections to be highlighted.” Apparently this is an “extraordinary” move. An unnamed source said, “Britney is proud of her body – imperfections and all.”
I’m not sure if I would go so far as to call the move “extraordinary.” Certainly, I’m glad that Britney Spears is joining the train of celebrities (who now include Jessica Simpson sans makeup in this month’s Marie Claire) who are openly admitting that many media images are unrealistic and actively created. But the unretouched photos are not exactly what I’d call unflattering, and Britney Spears is certainly not exhibiting all of her imperfections, as the Mail seems to suggest.
And is this even the way we want to be talking about airbrushing? Artificially retouched photos don’t create perfection, they manufacture a non-existent ideal of beauty. Britney Spears’ body is not “imperfect,” by any stretch of the imagination. And while I am excited to see more and more celebrities stepping up to reject these fake images, I’ll be even more thrilled when someone like Britney Spears refuses to let the airbrushed photos be released at all.
Photo from Samlavi's Flickr photostream.