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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

So THIS Is What Passes For Fat, Huh?

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      Is it any wonder our teenage girls have body-image concerns?


      Britney Spears performed on the MTV Video Music awards Sunday night, and the concensus seems to be that she didn't have her A-game going.     


      They weren't just talking about her singing, or lack thereof.


      "Out of shape" was one of the more kind things written about Spears who chose to perform in what amounted to a sequinned bikini.    An overseas paper described her as "not as fit."    The gossip site said Britney tried  to bring the house down, but "she just looked like a house" before tossing in this little barb: "A little too early for the skimpy outfits, perhaps?"     


       And then, it really gets ugly.     The New York Post headline: "Lard and Clear: Britney Bombs at VMA's".     The reveiwer wrote, "Spears was stuffed into a spangled bra and hot pants and jiggled like Jell-O as she sleepwalked through the song."     Even the Associated Press review spoke of "paunch in place of Spears' once-taut belly."


      You get the drift.      Or the middriff.


      Say what you will about her parenting skills, her musical chops and the way she dances, but isn't this talk about Spears' alleged girth a little much?     When I see the pictures I see a woman who is a long, long, long way from being either as pasty or bloated as one would be led to believe.     Is she the Britney we remember from years ago?      No, but she's also had two children since she first broke onto the scene.       I can think of scads of women who'd KILL for the current incarnation of Spears' frame.     


       How many women, let alone young girls, will match the reviews to the video and decide that THIS is what fat is--that you'd better get on the treadmill and make your lunch a single unsalted lettuce leaf if you're to avoid similar judgement?      Is it any wonder that American females are confused by the mixed messages they get--or that some take it further by practically starving themselves to death because of poor body image?


       Maybe one invites such comparisions when once minces onto stage as a taut hard-body and then tries launching a comeback at the ripe old age of, what, 25?       If the act is sex appeal, the performer has to deliver the goods.


       And that's my point: I think she looks pretty damn good for someone who went through all the stuff she did, self-inflicted or not.     She may be a little thicker than we all remember but  she's hardly "fat".


       I know--should I be wasting perfectly good blogspace on Britney' waistline when there are headier things on the agenda (9/11 and General Patreaus come to mind)?   


      Yes--because this is about something more than another star's fall from grace.     It's about the unreasonable goals we set for women in this country when it comes to self-image.      We're creating a world where size-two is considered beefy.     


       I can't help you bust a better move, Britney, and I cant lip-synch to save my a--.      But when it comes to your waistline, I've got your back.








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