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Britney Spears' memoir is painful to read as a woman... so much that this immensely talented woman went through for things that we take for granted in male celebrities!
Photo by Mathew Browne on Unsplash
I was very young when Britney Spears’s first album titled “Baby One More Time” skyrocketed to the top of the charts and became an overnight success. The album actually went on to sell a whopping 10 million copies in a year and became a chartbuster in 15 countries. In fact, it was the biggest-selling album ever by a teenage artist. And lo and behold, a star was born!
Those were the times of MTV and Channel V. I would rush home from school, just in time to catch this program called MTV Select. My mom and I would pour tall glasses of lemonade and settle down in front of the television in her bedroom. That truly was the best half hour in my entire day! And yes, Britney Spears was one of my absolute favourite singers. Her music, the beats, the lyrics, I found it all hugely uplifting.
Admittedly, her sense of style was unique as well, and inspired many young girls like me. Red leather, bling, sparkly boots, kitten heels, black eyeshadow, there was so much she taught us to wear with confidence and flaunt with attitude. I actually went through an entire “Britney Phase”, I even bought a gorgeous long wig in the hope that it would make me look like her. Then my girlfriends and I would have these sleepovers and we’d dress up, put on sparkly make up and high heels and groove to “Hit Me Baby One More Time”, pretty much through the night.
So, it wasn’t surprising that when I heard that her memoir had been released, I got my copy and started it right away. I already knew that she’d had a troubled life, and I was aware of issues she’d had with the media, her family, and some details of the infamous conservatorship. I have to confess though, that I hadn’t followed everything that had happened with her. So now that I had the chance, I wanted to know why her fans were screaming themselves hoarse, calling her a survivor and saying things like “It’s refreshing to see her in control.”
Let me tell you right at the outset that reading the book is like a journey, perhaps even a quest.
It’s not an easy read. Oh, the writing style of the book is simple and straightforward enough. It’s the content which is distressing. There is however, an uninhibited honesty from the very beginning which will warm the heart.
Britney has spoken candidly about her childhood and how despite all the troubles, her music came to her rescue every time. Her admissions about her parents, her sister, her relationship with Justin Timberlake and the dark places she disappeared into after the breakup, her marriage and divorce, and the subsequent heartbreaking separation from her kids, will make you stop and wonder how one human being could have withstood all this.
Wait, there’s more. The constant attempt by others to control her life, the insensitivity (that’s a mild word actually) of the media and paparazzi, the extremely disturbing conservatorship and institutionalization, were brutal to the extent that this huge star, this beautiful and successful “princess of pop” as she was called, almost lost her will to fight for herself. And then, just when you think it’s already too late, just when you begin to give up too, comes the light at the end of the tunnel.
This movement which was initiated by Britney’s fans in 2009 became a rage and ultimately gained so much momentum that it became the primary motivation behind this woman finally attaining her freedom.
Freedom. It’s something she’s defined very beautifully in the book as well. It’s honestly one of my favourite parts. After all, freedom can mean very different things to different people but most of us tend to take it for granted until the time it’s wrenched away from us. That truly is a revelation, a realization. It is no wonder that somewhere toward the end of the book, she expresses her complete and total gratitude to her fans. In her words, “If you stood up for me when I couldn’t stand up for myself: from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
While the book is extraordinary in its entirety, there is one thing that I feel deserves special mention. So, of course she isn’t perfect, after all who is, and she has made mistakes and misjudgements, she does at one point stop and question why the same treatment isn’t meted out to men in the music business. She gives several instances of male pop stars making the same mistakes, the same errors of judgement and yet, never were they ever treated with the same cruelty and ruthlessness.
And that’s what hit me the hardest. It got me thinking. Why are men and women, always, unfailingly, treated differently? Why is the world so harsh on women? Why?
“The Woman In Me” is the story of a pop star, a woman who truly took the world by storm. It is a book about the struggles of this woman, her battles, her successes, her inner demons, her life. But it is also a book about survival, about freedom and about human rights. It is a book about fighting for what is right, about never giving up. And that is why this is a book that should be read, must be read. As a fan of Britney Spears, but even more as a woman, as a mother, as a human being, I loved it. I hope you will too.
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Book cover Amazon.
Rrashima is a senior corporate analyst with over 20 years of experience in the corporate sector. She is also a prolific writer, novelist and poet and her articles, stories and poems are regularly published in read more...
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