I can believe I’m sympathising with Britney Spears, and I’ll try not to make a habit of it, but here goes:
I am appalled by the way the media treated her when she went back on her word to remain a virgin until she married. Here with have someone who, in her early-mid teens, proclaimed her Christian values and that she would remain a virgin until her wedding night; in her late teens or early twenties she changed her mind. Because, like, no girl has ever done that before. Unless you count me. And all my female friends. And I assume a fair percentage of women in the western world. At one point, we were all damn proud to be virgins, until hormones and temptation kicked in and we decided it was a bit unrealistic.
In other words, I would say Spears’ change of heart is fairly common and, dare I say, has happened to a majority of young women in the western world. And yet she was publicly chastised by the media, and almost everyone I know took the viewpoint that she was a hypocrite and a poor role model.
Interestingly enough, whenever this came up with someone and I pointed out that Spears did nothing that most women haven’t done at some point in their lives, I had far better luck making women see my perspective than men. The women, probably thinking of their own experiences, would say something like “˜I never thought of it that way’ but the men would continue to denounce her as a hypocrite and poor role model.
Even more interestingly, the most vocal men were the ones who were well into their twenties and still virgins, not from choice but from lack of opportunity, usually caused by a major personality flaw. Maybe it was a mentality of “˜well, at least someone ELSE on the planet isn’t getting laid’ combined with this sense of entitlement that men seem to have that women have little or no sexual experience – all the less to realise how much you suck in bed, perhaps?
What the hell gives anyone the right to crucify Spears for changing her mind? In no other situation would a teenager be expected to maintain the same values as they become adults. I assume her gender has something to do with it. I can’t imagine the press taking to task a male in the same situation.
And how, exactly, did the media find out about this? Because boyfriend Justin Timberlake had blabbed it to anyone who would listen. To me, that’s a far greater breach of basic human decency then Spears going back on an earlier decision to remain a virgin.
This is how it played out to me: she’s in a longterm relationship with a childhood sweetheart who she believes she’ll marry eventually, making him the one and only man she’ll sleep with, so as temptation (and dare I saw pressure from Timberlake?) starts to kick in, she thinks, well, since I’ll sleep with him eventually, why not now? Then the relationship goes sour and Timberlake decides to announce, on national broadcast, that yes, they slept together; he deflowered the world’s most famous virgin. Really, the way he did it, well bragging would be putting it mildly. He made it out to be the biggest accomplishment a man could have. I could just imagine him in a conversation with a bunch of equally Neanderthal men; I fucked two dozen women. Yeah, well I fucked Britney Spears. I was absolutely disgusted, and thought Spears’ greatest crime was dating someone who was such an absolute asshole.
And did anyone take Timberlake to task for being such a rotten, tasteless human being as to tell such details to anyone who would listen? No, they were too busy judging Spears for being a poor role model.
I hate the way we have such double standards when it comes to men and women and their sexuality. I believe there was a similar campaign about Brooke Shields a while back, although a) I was too young to witness it and b) apparently Dean Cain was far more a gentleman than Timberlake. But the point is, why the hell should women be exposed to such campaigns? Why should women past the age of consent be branded poor role models for having sex? More important, why should women past the age of consent be branded poor role models for having sex when men aren’t?