August 28, 2010

Kinderwhore Britney

Pop just released their Fall 2010 issue's covers, which feature a veil-clad, seductively-posed Britney Spears in a flowerbed, shot by Todd Cole with artwork by Takashi Murakami.
They're tacky and gaudy and kitschy and not unlike teen Japanese magazines, and that's the point, and I love it. And she's wearing Rodarte, which sounds so out of context, but makes so much sense visually. Apparently they got Murakami first, and he had this idea of a Japanese schoolgirl vibe, so they then contacted Spears as a result of that. She really is perfect, not only for her young face and blonde hair, but because of her place in pop culture. Using her turned the idea into a real story, and I don't think many other fashion magazines could pull that off.

Unless you've lived in a cave your entire life, and unless you ever wanted to or not, you know The Britney Chronicles pretty well, and one of the most fascinating sides to her product is as a prime example of the ways in which culture builds up celebrities only to tear them down. One commenter on The Fashion Spot compared this to the sacrificing of virgins (and that's before we even get into her virginal-but-sexy image as a teen pop star,) and then linked it to how young, pure, and bride-like she looks in the covers. She's wearing a veil, and bright pink lipstick, and giving that innocent, plastic smile. The cartoons and backpack alone give it all away. It is, in many ways, imitating the way she was sold and perceived when she herself was a teenage girl, but something is different now. Maybe that she's 28 years old.

Many people have noted how much she looks like Courtney Love here, who popularized the Kinderwhore style in the early 90's, dressing in babydoll dresses and Mary-Janes with smeared makeup, messy hair, and baby barrettes. A grown woman following all the requirements of the "female ideal" as dictated by American culture is shocking and disturbing when she ends up bearing a striking resemblance to a little girl. The irony, whether intentional or not, says a lot about how our culture fetishizes young girls, and 20 years later the concept still has its place. Think about how many fashion magazines persist with images of 15 year-old waifs as a point of aspiration for women. And how creepy is it that the American public demands to be so informed on Miley Cyrus's sex life? And yet, it is the public itself that could be to blame for her recent "slutty" behavior -- girls are surrounded with images that tell them their bodies and sexuality are the only factors in their self-worth, so when it comes to trying to establish their identity as a woman, that's what they turn to. It is pretty much written in the How To Grow Up: Teen Girl Pop Star Edition handbook for Cyrus-types to do the same, and Britney Spears is the perfect example.
In 1999, she appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone with a David LaChapelle-lensed spread featuring her in settings such as her childhood bedroom or with props like a hot pink bicycle, wicker basket and all. The teenage aesthetic makes it easy to compare this spread with Pop's, but Spears was 17 when these photos were taken, making the erotic images more Lolita than Kinderwhore in concept. Courtney Love herself once said that it doesn't make sense for actual teenage girls to dress in that little girl style, since they're not too far from the age it satirizes in its message. In fact, concerns questioning the motives behind citing Seiji Matsuyama, whose manga has raised controversy for its depictions of underage characters, as an inspiration for the spread have already come up, but I would say that what Pop did is Kinderwhore-like commentary on that image more than it is playing into it. She's grown up. These covers shock us because, even though this is how we've been used to seeing Britney Spears throughout her entire career, she's finally the one to comment on our culture's disturbing obsession with her.

Maybe I'm reading too much into things that may not even be there, but I tend to overanalyze anyway. This is kind of a rare happening, though. It's not often that fashion magazines offer up a cover that elicits such questions, or could take aspects of society we try to pass off as "the way things are" and shine a light on how creepy it all really is.

Edit: This article includes more analogies between the covers and the notorious Matsuyama work and might be of interest to you if you too are so intrigued by the ideas here. I highly doubt Britney Spears was "bamboozled" into this, though -- like I said, she's older now, and probably knows what she's doing.

Photos: Pop covers, RS cover, RS bedroom.

129 comments:

chandraisgreat said...

Damn Tavi droppin bombs today..*thumbs up*

Lyviia said...

Hole&Manson
TOUR MADNESS!!!

:)

Gil Lima said...

For someone that just started high school you are very wise for your age. That is a good thing, because it means that the future of this world is not entirely lost.

CP said...

i love you blog

http://not-like-the-movies.blogspot.com/

XOXO

mila said...

I don't know...the fact that it's Britney Spears take away some of the awesomeness...but I do love the rest of it...especially the Rodarte!!

Hope said...

I loved the David LaChapelle RS shoot...I bought it when I was in the sixth grade, and it was my first ever issue of RS. I remember thinking Britney was perfect after seeing that shoot, ha. I still have it.

Caroline said...

will you be my doppelganger please?

Booga said...

I've always routed for Britney. She takes mainstream desires, chews them up and spits them back out at us, she's like a societal mirror. :D

maria...fashionista said...

well britney its old she is not 17 anymore and looks tacky, good for rodarte and Takashi Murakami but they dont fit there

watchingtheimages said...

I wish I could have worded my thoughts as well as you at that age. You're a gem - and I mean that. Keep up the good work!

LUU H. said...

unnskyld, det ser ut som barnepedofoli ellerno

T. said...

Love the cover (above)! Britney is perfect for that role!

Fraîche said...

I was selling sandwiches with a food truck in Brooklyn recently and got snapped for the Japanese mag Fudge. I thought I looked filthy and embarrassing at the time, but when I saw the pic in the mag I realized I looked like a schoolgirl. Also, they wrote a fake bio for me and said I was much younger than I am. Point being, America gets a bad rap for sexualized youth, but we seem to have gotten this whole angle from Japan...

In New York Paris Tomorrow said...

Fascinated by your take here. I see an homage, Murakami-helped, to Marlene Stewart - Desperately Seeking Susan.

Vapid '80's and undressed with leather and barb wire.

A sort of New Jersey visual of then.

isabelle said...

I love your writing. Articles like this and the one addressed to Seventeen magazine open our eyes to what we are exposed to on a daily basis. Values and self respect are so important for girls. That's true beauty

pilonstein.blogspot.com/

Camilla said...

your blog is realy cool

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
camilla-fashion.blogspot.com

Sarah Margeurite said...

I love the way you dissect things like this that we wouldn't normally take into perspective. Thumbs up, interesting read.

Sincerely, Sarah Margeurite

Café Naïveté said...

I think that simply the fact POP magazine decided to do a cover like that is important. Important as it talks a lot for itself and it's almost impossible to remain neutral on this subject as it is becoming a serious issue in our society. For example here in Italy all the small girls have for example are nude girls dancing in the TV, it's horrible to think what consequences this can have on this growing generation.. and the thing is we may not know it until they have grown. Unfortunately the pressure in this matter is very strong for the small ones and they do not have any childhood anymore.. I appreciate you wrote though about this, it's important as well!:)

Sending you sun from Rome,
Merilin.

Ky Oso Archivist said...

WERD.

Lee said...

Normally I wouldn't have appreciated having Miss Spears' face grace the covers of POP but I must say, in the context of the shoot she is a perfect fit.

Murakami's work is amazing, I love his very Japanese depiction of cuteness, such as in the Turning Japanese music video he did with Kirsten Dunst.

The kitsch Japanese tackiness of this cover just works for me on so many levels and I've been waiting for one just like it for a while. Cannot wait.

Just annoyed you beat me to this post. :P

sojourned in style said...

i never would have thought about all that, from just the cover of a magazine. so insightful and smart :)

Julia said...

I think it's interesting to see Britney in that way, and I like the idea that this cover isn't just pretty, but is also adressing a cultural issue.
xoxo

Paula. L said...

Hey you know I love your blog, and I find it ridiculous to be using the google translator ... Well I'm from Spain, and I would like to visit my blog (yes, in Spanish) Well Tavi, a great blog, I love it:)
Big kiss. http://paulaesunagenio.blogspot.com/;)

Kathleen Anne said...

I love that you understand and defy the media's perception of women. I also love your blog because you view fashion as an art and love your comments on middle school and now high school.

coco.moloko said...

thank you Tavi for exposing those ideas! i couldn't agree with you more in any aspect. and yes, maybe you're reading too much into things that may not even be there, but i hope, since we're speaking about a POP issue, that it was actually intentional to depict Britney by that idea. otherwise sometimes it's not that bad to "overanalyze" things, because doing so you bring up interesting subjects that our society tends to ignore. (this has become to long sorry) thanks*

eat me said...

I really enjoyed the covers. It makes Britney seem more down to Earth and the covers bring back who she used to be. Which I'm not sure she even knows she did.
And once again Tavi, your writing is inspiring. Love it.

Evelyn Halim said...

Britney looks weird here.
I don't really like her shoot.
However, nice post Tavi!

xoxo,
stilettonizer

Paulina said...

It's great that you're voicing out the ideas you have. At least overanalyzing things is also one of the things I tend to do. So I couldn't agree more.

Great Post, Tavi.
x

Amy said...

This is all really interesting. So, these Japanese covers are recent, then? I can't get over how young she looks in these.

MadeleineAyers said...

I bought it today. Have no energy to go into the outs & ins but think it's brilliantly fun...and will be an inspiration to designers until POP Spring Summer materialises.

Kinder whore 4 life.

That feels like a hashtag. Ignore. Those stickers will get some serious abuse.

Nolita said...

Not a big fan of Britney, but she looks good on the Pop cover!


--Nolita Vintage--

Paper-Rock-Scissors said...

I think it looks successfully eerie, any image of Britney is overcast by the dark shadow of what 'media success' costs people in terms of emotional health.

The plastic doll theme certainly emphasises the fact she was sold to the world as a product and the resulting high demand for more had horrendous implications for a girl who grew up wanting to be a popstar.

FASHION SNAG said...

I feel sorry for Britney because we churned her up and spit her out.

www.FashionSnag.com

cancercowboy said...

hard to see that she's 28 underneath all that diffuser. i don't see much ironic refraction here, instead i see the (failed) rewarming of her old image, clad in the imagery of the (huge) japanese schoolgirl/lolicon fetish. it may confront modern society with its omnipresent yet never acknowledged obsession with (female) youth, but not in a forceful or convincing or actually shocking way. these pics sell her the same way she was sold some years ago, imho. sorry. maybe i'm too desensitized already, but it looks rather generic, adding no new angle or any edge to shatter this sugary fairy land scene.
maybe Ms Spears really has nothing to offer other than her youthful looks. if she has it surely does not show in this shot. maybe i'm just a cynic. lets see what happens to the next Disney product. and any product needs buyers.

btw, i'm judging solely by the photos here, haven't read any accompanying article. so i beg your pardon if i'm heavily misjudging.

Tavi said...

cancercowboy- I haven't read the article either, so I can't say. But I think all the colors and cartoons are enough to push it over the edge from legitimate to parody.

SomedayNewYorker said...

I remember when that Rolling Stone came out. Amazing and scandalous. I wish we all stayed young.

Christina said...

I really had no idea that was what this magazine was trying to accomplish. I guess you don't notice when you're so used to it.

kristy eléna said...

i love this post. and i don't think you're being all that overanalytical. even if pop wasn't aiming to create such social commentary, it nevertheless is. your observations are spot on.

Vogue Gone Rogue

SheikChan said...

I really liked this blog post, Tavi. :] I agree with a lot you had to say in it.

cancercowboy said...

well, for me her earlier photos already were (unintentionally) parodistic in nature. they relied so much on thinly veiled sex whilst claiming to promote her as innocent that you could either call it hypocrisy or parody. since then it seems to have become a PR routine.
i can't exactly lay my finger on what forms my opinion about these pics, or even provide valid and unassailable arguments to back my point of view. its more of a feeling, honestly. these fluffy cartoons swirling around Britney are pretty normal for japanese publications targeting certain audiences, though. they are considered moe or kawaii. hope you don't mind me being so frank. either way, your interpretation adds a lot more depth to these photos than mine ^__^ and i think we're not that far apart regarding the general depiction of females in the media.
i'm off to bed now, good night.

Maria Irene said...

you strike again Tavi and hit it exactly on the right spot!
This is fantastic and wise.

lemonochrome said...

Is it sad that the first thing I really noticed about the cover was the free Cindy Sherman bookzine?!

Other than that, I somewhat agree with your analysis. The reinvention seems to be more of a reinterpretation of whatever Britney once had as a pop princess. Regardless, it's interesting.

Katja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katja said...

creapy, i must say! Gives me some weird pedofile thing. I find it so wrong and sick that britney that is around or pushing 30s is giving an image of beeing a young maybe (12 year old) school girl. Im just asking my self, why??? i cant even find words for this, i dont know who this is good for, the old creapy men turning on her innocent come and f*** me look or young lost not even teen girls.

where's the respect for a woman... where is this leading us?

rosemaryx said...

you're my hero tavi.

Caroline :) said...

woah...very informative :), gave me alot to think about :D

www.redrosemanhattan.blogspot.com

Joon. said...

I have to say that I really think this post is extremely interesting. I was just talking about this subject the other day with a friend. And that I'm jealous at how well you organize your thoughts and can write them out (what seems like) so easily for a girl in middle school. I'm sure you get that all the time and it must get old, but you have an amazing future ahead.

-Shevah
shevahh.blogspot.com

Joon. said...

I have to say that I really think this post is extremely interesting. I was just talking about this subject the other day with a friend. And that I'm jealous at how well you organize your thoughts and can write them out (what seems like) so easily for a girl in middle school. I'm sure you get that all the time and it must get old, but you have an amazing future ahead.

-Shevah
shevahh.blogspot.com

Becca D'Bus said...

Actually, the images remind a lot more of Ciciolina. Through a Koons lens. With a Murakami overlay. and now apparently, a Tavi endorsement. :)

Tavi said...

cancercowboy-I always enjoy your comments, and it was nice to hear someone challenge what I was saying here -- I'm always up for an interesting discussion that I can learn from. Thanks for your insight and for giving me more to think about :)

Kelly said...

creepy, yes. i don't think you're over analyzing, i think you're ultra aware.

kelly

metrode said...

excellent post. these thoughts are insightful, well-composed, and are, I think, a genuine help to those who read them

Sarah Dee said...

you my dear, are wise. I really love your blog! Its insightful and very interesting.

Sarah
theantiquepearl.blogspot.com

Olive said...

she's so cute even i can't understand the idea of bald-headed -___-

M said...

Great analysis, I wonder if the powers behind this cover were aware of all the layers presented. It’s an onion!
Yes it’s creepy that every teen sexual escapade is translated to covers only to be condemned by the same people who create the need for such information in the first place.
But then again it is simplistic to assume her “slutty” behavior is a result of the public demands on her, I would like to give her credit to being smarter than that, even if in the end she plays into it. From a very young age girls are bombarded with information to absorb but what results after digesting it all is a mixture not directly a product of one thing but many starting with parents & friends.
This reminded me of the Rolling Stones cover with part of the Glee cast with a panty shot courtesy of Leah Michelle (so not necessary), not a big deal if she was being herself but in that particular picture she was representing her character a highschooler, as if teenagers were not sexualized enough as it is. But are girls going to run out to panty flash the world because of that image alone? Not likely.


xx
MarielsCastle

Fashademic said...

Hey Tavi you should have a look at melindatankardreist.com. Melinda is an Australian feminist activist for women and girls and she has just started a campaign called 'Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation' to fight the sexualised depiction of girls in pop culture and advertising. Her work is amazing.

Claire said...

I'm in university and we are constantly being encouraged to question and critically think about 'the way things are', it's great your doing this at such a young age. I know you get this all the time but you really are much wiser than your age, no wonder you have such a successful blog!

raphaellenet said...

I like the last ! So cute !

http://artbyraphaellealicemartinez.over-blog.com/

Moniaka said...

Cute!
www.moniakowy.blogspot.com

Nicci Bruce said...

whew. agreed

Juliet said...

I don't like the editorial, doesn't do the trick for me -though I am Britney fan-but I do agree 100% with everything you said about it!

juliet xxx

Jess said...

Dude, you are one wise 13 year old! Your like a miniature Buddha all covered in hair.

Noumia's papers said...

Britney, Baby on more time etc...

Lol

xoxo

http://noumias-papers.blogspot.com/

FashionLifeCoach said...

A bit too cheesy for my personal taste.

82Brute said...

For years I've found Shoicci Aoki's "Fruit" books to be at once horrifying and fascinating. The Japanese youth culture flies the lurid flag of cheesiness with pride and it's fabulous to see it trotted out here so effectively by POP magazine. You make so many astute points about our fetishizing of teens, and you've put into words something I could not define for myself, but has been gnawing at me for years. As the mother of two girls, I've never been able to look at BS or MS without cringing. I've expressed my dismay with them many times in long rants but never so succinctly as you just have herein. Your command of the language and understanding of the broader concepts of what comprises America's zeitgeist is quite astonishing. I'm going to tell myself that you have a very good editor helping you to hone these concepts, if only because it makes me feel a little less inadequate. :) Keep on keeping on.

WONZ FASHION said...

OMG
Britney is total cute and like a doll!
it is like madonna in 1985
Very impressive
And Tavi.
i post it about u in my blog
i just want u to come to see

Kim said...

Hey Tavi,

Here's some more background regarding the shoot's concept and inspiration.

http://kotaku.com/5623330/nsfw-was-britney-spears-bamboozled-into-virtual-child-porn-protest-art

Even if Britney was unaware of the other underlying messages, her self-representation as kinderwhore parody still shines through to western eyes. I enjoy the multiple cultural layers to this shoot.

Miss Launderette said...

It shocks me even more to think people might believe it is, in fact, her body showing (especially on left side cover) because it is without a question totally photoshopped and manipulated. It seems they took her head and put it on another girl's body which is even creepier.

vodkasoup.com said...

I love anything Britney, and the fact that's she wearing Rodarte - ha! that's the icing on the cake for this one

favio said...

"Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life"

- Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying

Olivia said...

Very interesting! Disturbing! Appealing! Creepy! And the like

Oliviaivia.blogspot.com

Engreida said...

Brilliant post... I actually love the artistic and aesthetic value of these new photos, but something about the magazine text and graphics totally takes away from all of that for me... Its like they're discounting the brilliance of the photos...

Mouthwash said...

great post Tavi.

The craziest thing is to compare her body from when she was 17 to her 28 year old "body" now. Is it even hers?? So strange.

Amber
ambersmouthwash

hope505 said...

IMO the Murakami shots are mostly "kinder" with not so much "whore"...it makes sense that after all Brit's been through, she would want to (consciously or subconsciously) reclaim her own (stolen) youth...Jap/pop culture would provide that vehicle for her, and it happens to be hot in fashion/ popculture now...just right for Britney!

if you want scary "kinderwhore" let's take a peek at whatever's up with TAYLOR MOMSEN....
!! ew! & bleh..! Courtney Hole's clone-gone-wrong....

Leah said...

great post, tavi. although, i think britney looks just a touch like your (our) lady love (no?!)

Anna Idermark said...

So true! Poor britney.. Have u seen the documentary "For the record"? It's really sad..


http://idaremark.blogspot.com/

thwany said...

great post!

Alex Ingram said...

Britney is so hot.
Love the Blog.
Be sure to follow mine at tuxandtie.blogspot.com and follow me on twitter at tuxandtie
Thanks Alex www.alexingram.com

Shannon said...

exactly what i have been thinking. as i much as i aspired to be like courtney love when i was in HS, it was right at the beginning of the britney era. i am the same age as britney. i was immediately obsessed with how sexual yet how childlike the media portrayed her. i started collecting photo stickers from 50 cent machines to put on my hairbrush. hell, i even bought 'crossroads' the day it came out on dvd, much to the dismay of my custy punk friends. all that said, i want that magazine so bad. where the hell do i buy it?

Yves said...

I love the Artwork of Takashi Murakami and the covers as well! :)
Amazing! :D

cancercowboy said...

my pleasure, Ma'am ;-)

tee said...

First of all, the correct term is "prostitot". Secondly, great commentary. :D

Meagan said...

I love Takashi Murakami's art, especially the happy neon-colored flowers and the weird 3-eyed bunny people! I've noticed how much better Japanese teen magazines are, and it makes me kind of jealous.

cash moni said...

your intelligence and fresh outlook on fashion is inspiring!

www.cashmoni.com xo

Aubrey Mayne said...

Britney is such a diva. My friend is on the slow Glee and Britney has been filming a show for them this past couple weeks. She said that whenever Britney was on set, they were told that non of them were allowed to look at her or talk/whisper at all even to eachother while she was there.

geeeeezzz Brit get real.

http://aubreydoesthings.blogspot.com/

walrus said...

~Liking the point that
Pop makes~
oh, and pretty much all fashion objectifies women.(Alexander McQueen was really,really good at it.)
Why do we have skimpy and hell tank tops and shorts? And way-too short skirts and "dresses"? so that men can look at us easily while we attempt to prance happily in our six inch platforms feeling good about ourselves because were in 'style'.
The whole thing is a gigantic ploy to get women to wear as little clothes as possible so that we are easily viewable and to distract them from the truth.
happy monday...

sortedrage said...

Your writings remind of what I have known since I was young - that the brain of 12-13-14 year old humans is exeptionally clear and brilliant..!
In the years to come hold on to your self and the way you think - you are very special...

anne :D

Londyn said...

Very interesting post. I couldn't agree with you more on how society creates this crazy obsession with young girls acting / looking overly sexy. It's really sad, and sets everyone up for failure.

Blood Milk said...

YES

yui said...

haha this is so great! britney really is perfect for this cover.
murakami and his hentai/anime references are getting kind of old for me, but i agree with you, when i look at the photo, i think more about britney and her life than child porn. if only they didnt photoshop her body like that...
(the kotaku article was interesting!)

MarishkaRI0tkhsiram said...

like this post!

Mary said...

maybe you already read it, maybe not - but it might be of interest to you - natasha walters: living dolls, the return of sexism

Nasty-Maggie said...

Hi ! My name is Magalie. I saw you on VOGUE France. You are so amazing !
Your blog is nice ! Good Job !

xoxox

Schmutzie said...

Brilliant, girl.

zoomslow said...

When I first saw these, I thought they were OK - but didn't think something was quite right? On the surface it looked like another kind of pop confection cover - but somehow the images seemed a bit raw?

Your analysis has helped me understand what I think is going on. The colours, textures, cartoons, flowers, hair, skin & make-up are all there - but the expression on (an older, wiser, more battle-hardened) Brtiney's face isn't. It doesn't match.

Everything else is a bit provocative & seductive, but Britney's face (in both pics. but especially in the one on the right)is saying, "Are you still buying all this bullshit?"

carothers.katherine said...

gosh, you are so right on(smart and a great writer)........will you be my best friend!?x

E... said...

I'm wverytime shocked from the Tavi's capacity of analysis...her post seems made from an expert Vogue's fashion editor...

http://fashiondoesntexist.blogspot.com/

kristy said...

I don't really remember how Britney Spears was received when she first came on the scene (being a whole lot more interested in nickelodeon than mtv at the time) but in my memory, she was mainly met with interest more than disapproval. I think the dichotomy between how Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus are perceived has everything to do with well, perception.

1. Whereas Britney was seen solely as a music artist Miley Cyrus is still seen as a child star dabbling in music, despite her pedigree. Everyone knows Hannah Montana, but how many looked at Britney and thought, that's the girl from Mickey Mouse Club?

1.1 Miley Cyrus and company's simultaneous commercialized forays into music, acting, fashion, etc. (Britney was never quite so ADD) cement their reputations as talentless celebrity personalities rather than multitalented entertainers. This further opens them up for ridicule.

2. Although girls who buy into these role models (fortunately it's not everyone) seem to be "maturing" at earlier and earlier ages paradoxically they're perceived to be younger at older ages (a 17 miley dressed in a provocative school girl and for longer (see: paris hilton, britney spears, the future taylor momsen and miley cyrus). They're sexualized, but not woman-ized.

3. The Media: The people who grew up with Britney Spears are now the ones writing about Miley Cyrus. 17 seems like a whole lot as a younger age when you're not anymore. The 20-somethings now who write the blogs and the gossip see Miley and the like young enough to just be little girls, but old enough to inquire about their sexuality. They consistently (subconsciously and consciously) compare her to predecessor Britney whereas Britney didn't really have one. Many speak from the viewpoint of slightly older peers rather than concerned chaperones.

Man this is long. I lost my train of thought. And I think I'm sorta off topic!

kristy said...

oops

*(a 17 miley dressed in a provocative school girl uniform would be seen as much more outrageous even though Britney was the same age when she dressed as such) *and for longer (see: paris hilton, britney spears, the future taylor momsen and miley cyrus). They're sexualized, but not woman-ized.

Hannah Cheeto said...

Aesthetically, I love the pictures, but if you kind analyze it it does get really interesting. I have to wonder if she/Murikami/Pop/whoever makes those sort of decisions intended for it to reference Britney's teenage years or if it was just an aesthetic choice, though it doesn't seem that way.

teardropsouffle said...

??????? If it's an ironic image which sophisticated viewers detect is some sort of post-modern comment, it's great, but if it's pretty much the same image but without the wink (or famous/cool artist), it's immoral and basically evil... and in fact is an instance of the public dictating the personal sexual choices of teens like Miley Cyrus??

I hope I don't sound snarky. Honestly, I get a bit frustrated because you seem lovely but you seem to follow a lot of cool/contemporary feminist thinking that just doesn't hold water upon closer analysis. This kind of stance of "Blame mainstream society and its imagery but cool art should be shocking and if that includes demeaning women in an subtly ironic way then great!"is just so sadly familiar and insular to me. Aren't there other ways to be pro-woman (pro everybody!) and feminist? I definitely think so.

Erik Peterson said...

Dear Miss Tavi,

I have been enjoying your blog for several months. I started own blog recently. It is called Vicissitudes of the Damned. http://filletofginch.blogspot.com
I posted a response to the Kinderwhore piece. I am most anxious to get your feedback and I hope that you become a regular reader.

Thanks!
Erik

nv said...

I like the irony of the cover, it's brave for a fashion mag... but I think a lot of people have over-looked that aspect and comments online seem to indicate that people don't like it just because it's Britney, not realising perhaps there's a message in it rather than the pretty, skinny girl in typical standing pose that they're used to. I like that there's a strong concept here and I'm biased because I luuurve murakami's work.

http://foxinthewood.tumblr.com/

pip-0 said...

Looks totally outdated.... about 10 years late

pip-0 said...

Looks totally outdated.... about 10 years late

goldminetrashvintage said...

It's a beautiful cover and great juxtaposition. And your observations are 1005 correct.

The sexual ideals of the hetrosexual male have traditionally dominated art, and continue to dominate the entertainment industry and. I say this with no misandrist agenda or bitterness whatsoever. It's just a fact.

Clara Bow was Hollywoods first offical 'it' girl, and was only a few years older than you at the height of her popularity. The average female prostitute enters her trade at age 13. And scientific studies have proven that adult men are (subconciously) sexually aroused by young adult females who have the softer facial features of 14 year old girls.

Stereotypical genetic hardwiring is always at play, whether we like it or not.

If you haven't read it already, I highly reccomend Nancy Etcoff's 'Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty'.
It's easy to read yet full of scientifically backed research on why our beauty standards are the way they are. You'll never look at the human face the same way again!

-SJ

goldminetrashvintage said...

^^ Err, typo! That should've been 100% correct, not 1005 correct : P

Lanna said...

read that: http://thegrinch-thisislife.blogspot.com/

Laura. said...

Really love the covers!

http://aforteforfashion.blogspot.com

Greer said...

Great article man, loved it.
It reminded me of a Hugh Hefner quote from the 1960s on the subject of feminism.
The Heff was claiming he was a feminist, stood up for sexual liberation and all the rest of it, and then said that the Playboy girl was clean, not complicated, happy. He said that was why he chose the image of the bunny - because Playboy girls (and they are definitely 'girls') should be soft and cuddly and easily dissected/analysed. He contrasted this with the negative image of the complex woman wearing dark stockings, smoking and drinking and mysterious.

The idea that a complex woman is not an alluring one is pretty astounding coming from a man who claims to be a feminist.

The full quote can be found in the book Female Chauvanist Pigs; the rise of raunch culture, but I thought it played into what you were discussing in the article quite well...just something to muse on.

oldFangled said...

Ah there you go,another clever piece of press from le britney spears i see? overall though,let us celebrate how graphically exquisite the cover is!! fact is that i did not honestly recognise her image!good one britney this time?

Erik Peterson said...

Is Greer talking to me? If so, I'd love it if you could leave a similar comment on my blog.

Le Art Noir said...

I am absolutely in love with POP for doing this. It's like Britney's career has come full circle, and so has pop culture.

http://leartnoir.blogspot.com/

Sister Wolf said...

Oh god.

christie! said...

That was a very good criticism of the cover! I wasn't very interested in it at first glance but the ideas you brought up really made me think about something real. I also kept scrolling up to look at the cover again and again and now I love it.

Gabriella said...

Very interesting post and criticism of the cover...she looks lovely on it though :)

Check out my blog: Principessa Gabriella

SophieGrace said...

Just brought that issue today! Love the cover!

Tekquilla Brains xo said...

Why do you not have your own magazine coloum? And if you do what magazine I want to buy it!!
xo

www.tekquillabrains.blogspot.com

stefania said...

I don't see a problem with the rolling stones pics, she was 17, and she was a woman, obviously. the problem i see is society worshiping a person who hadn't really contributed anything. sure she was a sex symbol, what is wrong with that? oh as soon as a women turns 18, bam!thats it. now its okay to start taking sexy photos.

its really hard to draw a line with this kind of thing. i mean yeah there is the fetish thingy with young and innocent, but in our society it doesnt stop there. older women are sex symbols too. maybe in japan its a little different though...

Catherine said...

You're fantastic. Just finished my MA in Psychology...did some research/work on what you wrote about for my classes and personal development. You might like the book "Female Chauvinist Pigs" by Ariel Levy.

Catherine said...

You're fantastic. Just finished my MA in Psychology...did some research/work on what you wrote about for my classes and personal development. You might like the book "Female Chauvinist Pigs" by Ariel Levy.

Samantha said...

That is a very, very large issue to tackle, as I'm sure you know-- American "lolita complex" in the American media and how they try to claim deniability for what they do. I am glad you wrote about it! For further reading, might I suggest all articles by Vladimir Nabokov on that sort of hypocrisy. He wrote rather prolificly on that issue, especially when the movie based on his book came out. Although it was some time ago, I feel his comments are still very pertinent.

To change the subject, I'm very confused about the layout they've set Britney in. Is that supposed to be Japanese? "開知" is not a Japanese word, even. Did they run that by Mr. Murakami before sending it to press, or some other native speaker? And putting something that looks vaguely like katakana backwards and upside-down doesn't make it look "cooler" (although for some reason it is a popular trend recently). Also, even if it was meant to resemble magazine layouts such as "Seventeen" or "Popteen" that are popular with high school girls here (I live in Japan, btw), I really don't think it does. They should have done their research better, perhaps. This brings to mind sad mis-appropriations of culture that should, in my opinion, be completely avoided.

Chloë said...

Wow...I kept putting it in my mind (again and again!) to read your blog, and now I'm so glad I did. Very eloquent and objective - I like it.

x x x

moleculefresh.wordpress.com

Dull life, you don't have to be this way said...

The way your mind works is mesmerizing! I was really pleased to find your post on this. I've recently posted about these images, after seeing them on fashiongonerogue, and also found them to be quite revolutionary in the way they are critiquing and displaying pop culture. Thank you.

www.dulllifeyoudonthavetobethisway.tumblr.com

vanya said...

I was so impressed with your insight that I posted this blog to my FB, made my mother listen whilst I read it to her and interrupted my friends dinner to make her read it as well. General consensus: Gifted! You continuously blow me away. Thanks.

Alison said...

http://selected-scribblings.blogspot.com/2010/08/pop-princess.html

It seems great minds think alike (my blog from Aug 24th)...

Ruri and Kephsy said...

great bday present (by that i mean the 28 is my bday) tavi youre a pure genius i admire and envy you.

Eran Evan said...

Strikes again :-)
http://www.shutterself.com/2010/06/final-frontier-for-now.html
Here i've posted an old (and quite retarded)video i've made many yers ago for My Hole's most favorite song - Teenage Whore. and this post is written in both english & hebrew, one among a few.

Eran Evan said...
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