Amanda Palmer (who, thanks to her very gracious invitation, I am now totally seeing tonight in Chicago!) has updated her blog with more info and some clarifications about the whole Roadrunner kerfuffle, as well as pix of more beautiful bellies, and I just love this bit:
my a&r guy (my main contact at the label) sat me down in his office and said he wanted to discuss the "leeds united" video. he told me that there were certain shots that they wanted to either cut completely or digitally alter to "be more flattering".First of all, this is just fucking brilliant: "I'm a guy, Amanda. I understand what people like." What he means, of course, is that he understands what men like him like—and note his eminent willingness to substitute the universal people for men like him. Isn't that precious?
my favorite quote from that meeting: "i'm a guy, amanda. i understand what people like."
to which i reply: where have you been for the last five years? do you have any idea who i am, what band i've been in, what kind of music i write, who my fans are….who didn't send you the memo that i'm not britney spears? i'm not TRYING to look hungry. i'm trying to look HOT. there's a difference.
Secondly, not only is Amanda Palmer not Britney Spears; Britney Spears isn't even "Britney SpearsTM" anymore—and doesn't want to be. The whole head-shaving episode was fodder for endless jokes not because it was funny, but because we are an absurdly cruel society. It was as clear an anguished cry as I've ever seen: A woman who shaves off her hair in a fit of pique doesn't want to be herself anymore. And who the fuck could blame her? No human being can live up to the unyieldingly rigorous expectations of physical perfection to which Britney Spears has been subjected.
Remember last year when Britney "reemerged" to perform at the MTV Video Music Awards and looked like this?
She was widely denounced as having gotten fat. "Was media unfair to call Britney Spears fat?" asked the AP.
The consensus is clear: Britney Spears performed like she was sloshing blindfolded through mud at MTV's Video Music Awards. No one disputes that the troubled pop princess royally mangled her much-heralded comeback.Unfuckingbelievable. Or it would be, anyway. If it weren't so goddamned believable.
But what about the nastiest comments of all — those about her body? "Lard and Clear," read Monday's headline in the New York Post. "The bulging belly she was flaunting was SO not hot," wrote E! Online. And so on.
Was it fair? Did Spears, lest we forget a mother of two, deserve to be held up against the standard of her once fantastically toned abs, sculpted by sessions of 1,000 tummy crunches? Or was she asking for it by choosing that unforgiving black-sequined bikini?
…For many observers, the issue was not so much the body, but the body in THAT outfit.
It may be as clear a rationale for feminism as I've ever seen to realize that, while Amanda Palmer may have fuck-all in common with the carefully molded-since-childhood, constructed, packaged, and marketed "Britney SpearsTM," she has a hell of a lot in common with Britney Spears the woman, the person, the struggling soul whose belly had the temerity to defy expectations. As do we all.