Get Clucky!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Britney's pregnant. Deeply pregnant.

Okay, so picture this: I’m sitting in Starbucks (it’s an ugly picture, I know) trying to write an application essay on why I want to teach in the gender studies dept. next year—and it is not going well . So I’m sitting there, struggling, thinking about gender when—what should I see?

A tabloid headline screaming the news of the day: BRITNEY’S PREGNANT.

My responses to this news are various: I’m sympathetic (poor kid) I’m irritated (poor non-pregnant me), and I’m bitchily anticipatory (can you imagine the fashion?). But here’s what really gets my gender theory goat:

The fact that she thinks being pregnant makes her DEEP.

You wanna know how I know she thinks it makes her deep? Go check her website. Go log in, as I’m sure thousands of young girls* will today, and be forced to watch a horrible flash web site load slowly, oh so slowly. And what does this website display but all sorts of crazy “fantasy art” featuring a range of goddess mother imagery including but not limited to: moons going through their cycles, bubbles floating away like sperm-laden eggs, ripening flowers, goddesses blessing the fertile moon (it’s unclear from the symbology if Britney is the moon or the goddess…), Britney in some sort of tribal turban, and, of course, balloons—because when there’s a baby, there always has to be balloons.

There is no stork; yet.

And I just want to say: oh, Britney, you sad little lady. I mean, I am all glad and stuff that you feel like you are moving into a womanly and deeply symbolic phase of your life, and I guess I would rather have you be projecting pro-goddess-woman imagery to all your little fans* than some freakish Christian shwag. But really, I think it’s so lame for her to think, or her to project the illusion that she thinks, that pregnant time is “fantasy” time? I mean, what does all that mean to her? Does she not see that to try and make pregnancy into both “fantasy” and “deep reality” at the same time might not quite work? Especially if she also wants to include, as the final image in this curious montage, a photo of herself showing off her perfect, girlish cleavage?

I guess what I mean is—you can’t have it all. Babies may give you the feeling that you’re a more vital part of life’s rich pageant, but they also give you responsibility by the shitload, literally. And they also are not good for your boobs.

And I think it sucks that so many people, clearly Britney among them, want to believe that having a baby will put them in the register of deep meaning were they don’t have to think about the real and the personal—they just get to coast on through, showing pictures of balloons and goddesses, assured that they are doing something Very Important.

What they are really doing by shifting their own experiences into archetypal ones is avoiding the real, hard work—not of figuring out symbols, but of figuring out themselves.

I think one small index of this difference can be find in surfing the internet for pregnancy blogs—what you’ll find over and over is that the blogs of women who are actually pregnant are full of stupid storks and clichés, while the blogs of women who aren’t or can’t get pregnant are full of careful, genuine, soul-searching and humor. Which is ironic, because it’s that sort of soul-searching that, it seems to me, will ultimately make you a good parent.

I hope the girlies checking out Britney’s site, even as we speak, think about that.

Anyway, so that is the gender trouble that I’m thinking about today. Lest I seem too judgmental, lets all carefully notice my subtext: how dare Britney claim that she is deep? I am the deep one. Yep. Me!

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*Young girls like, um, me.

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