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Vice: Britney Spears Just Told the World How Bad Her Conservatorship Really Is

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Britney Spears has had enough.

The pop icon virtually went before a court Wednesday to speak publicly for the first time about the conservatorship, overseen by her father, that has controlled almost every aspect of her life for 13 years.

“It is my wish and dream for all of this to end,” said Spears. “I want my life back.”

(cont.)

This really broke my heart yesterday.

I haven’t been following #FreeBritney all that closely, but I had a general idea what was going on: she was under conservatorship controlled by her father who made all of her financial and personal decisions for her. The fans felt like Britney was essentially being held hostage and got the word out through social media, while Britney herself generally avoided the topic online. I saw videos on Instagram where she said she was the happiest she’d ever been, that the documentary about her was unauthorized, etc.

I expected her to show up to court yesterday, tell everyone to back off and that she was just fine, and maybe nicely ask to have some of the restriction lifted.

Britney Spears is being emotionally tortured, She hates her dad, she hates the conservatorship, she lies on social media — probably at the urging of her dad and lawyer — pretending to be okay. She’s in full control of her mental faculties, and her father won’t let her go because he’s making so much money keeping her as his his personal puppet and ATM.

I didn’t know it was this bad.

 

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Athletes

Why do female gymnasts wear leotards?

Unitards may become more commonplace in the near future.

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Less than three months after the Olympics, the 2021 World Championships took place in Kitakyushu, Japan last week. At the Worlds following an Olympic Games, you would expect to see the next crop of athletes to look for over the next four year cycle. In some cases we did. Leanne Wong and Kayla DiCello missed out on competing at Tokyo but took home Silver and Bronze, respectively, in the All-Around. Since this competition was so close to the Games due to the COVID delay for the Olympics, a lot of the athletes who ended up on the podium were holdovers from August. All-Around winner Angelina Melnikova finished third in Tokyo. The Floor Exercise winner Mai Murakami also finished third in Tokyo.

One new bright spot of particular note: There was a full unitard on the podium.

Germany’s Pauline Schäfer placed second on beam at the 2021 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, and she did so while dressed in something rarely seen at women’s gymnastics meets: a unitard. Earlier this year, German gymnasts debuted these long-sleeved, long-legged leotards at the 2021 European Gymnastics Championships, and they wore them in other competitions such as the Tokyo Games.

(cont. Yahoo, UK Style)

This is her routine from podium training, but if I see the scored routine uploaded, I’ll edit the post.

I couldn’t find any other instance of a female gymnast winning a medal wearing a full unitard and I hope this marks a turning point in women’s gymnastics where the athletes feel more comfortable bucking the trend of a leotard and choosing more coverage if that makes them feel more comfortable.

Men’s gymnastics made its debut at the 1896 Olympics, but there was no women’s event for the sport for another 40 years. In 1936, women got their chance to show off their athletic prowess in the sport, but the qualities looked for in judging greatly differed from their male counterparts. Georgia Cervin, former gymnast and author of Degrees of Difficulty: How Women’s Gymnastics Rose to Prominence and Fell from Grace, says, “When the sport was developed for women, they adapted the men’s sport to make it ‘appropriate’ for women. Women were expected to do soft, rhythmic, flowing, graceful movements that emphasized beauty and flexibility. [Men] were expected to emphasize strength instead.” This was a time when intense physical activity was discouraged for women, because their primary job was to bear children and run a household. Medical science of the day thought strenuous exercise negatively impacted fertility.

The remnants of that graceful, feminine requirement are most evident in beam, with its many flourishes, and floor exercise, where women perform to music and men do not. Women were expected to dance and show grace and poise, while men were expected to tumble. After a marked shift in gymnastics in the 1970s, women too are focused on tumbling. Simone Biles performs acrobatics that many men will not attempt, yet she’s expected to smile, dance around, and show how graceful she is in addition to the athletic tumbling now required.

(This is me saying men should be able to perform artistically to music if they want, and women should be able to just do a straight out tumbling routine like the men if they want.)

Anyway, if your job, as an athlete, is to show how graceful and feminine you are, you are performing marriageability and attractiveness. Part of that will be a competition outfit as revealing as cultural norms will allow while also being able to move about.

Material science has progressed and norms have allowed for higher cuts, so now the standard attire for a female gymnast is a high cut leotard that you aren’t even allowed to adjust. (Seriously — there’s a deduction for adjusting your leo, so you can’t even pick a wedgie out of your butt.) I’ve watched gymnastics my entire life and I’ve always known deep in my spirit that if I was a 16-year-old girl, I would not want to be on worldwide television in what amounts to skintight underwear. My best friend was a gymnast growing up and she basically said the same thing — she was uncomfortable wearing them.

The leo isn’t required though. There’s nothing in the code of points that says you have to wear one, so why is it the standard? I asked Bestie this morning if the girls weren’t aware they could opt for a full unitard and this is what she had to say.

Me: I wanna write something about the women’s gymnastics unitards. Did you know back when you were doing gymnastics that you didn’t have to wear a leotard? I feel like most gymnasts don’t even realize it’s an option, or if they do know, it’s so far in the back of their mind they wouldn’t even consider it, because everybody else is wearing a leo.

Bestie: It was never an option to not wear a leotard. Even during practice, like now some can wear the small shorts and such, we weren’t allowed to do that. (But that was all pre and up to 2001 for me.)

I think the hard thing is that when you’re representing the team you have to wear the team leo, and if they don’t even make the unitard version you’re in a tough place. So if you’re on a team, you’d have to run it up the flag pole very early that you want a unitard because I assume it will be more expensive (you pay for your own leos—unless you’re sponsored, I think—and they probably will take longer to make/need to be made custom plus use more material). This could all have changed since though.

I hadn’t thought about the team aspect and that makes perfect sense. You need to look like a unit and, even if you’re uncomfortable in the leo, you might not raise that objection because then you wouldn’t look like a team. The German team all wears the same unitard, because they decided as a unit to eschew the leo, but some gymnasts prefer it. Have you ever wondered why some gymnasts have chalk on their legs, particularly before floor exercise? It’s for the grip. You want to be as tight as possible to complete your rotations in a piked position and the chalk helps you grab your legs. Getting that same grip on a leg covered in fabric takes some adjustment.

Will we see more winners in full coverage like Pauline Schäfer? I think so! Gymnastics as a sport (in the USA particularly) is having a reckoning with sexual assault, and while a leotard doesn’t keep you safe (you can be assaulted in anything, this is not a “well, what was she wearing?” moment), it does put you more firmly on a path of bodily autonomy. Being able to say you’re not comfortable in a garment is an exercise in asserting yourself and claiming ownership over your own physicality. The more we see unitards on the winners podium, the more young girls will opt to train in them, and the more we will see elite athletes who are used to (and more comfortable) competing in them.

It’s all about choice, and Pauline Schäfer’s win is a reminder to female gymnasts that they do actually have a choice in what they wear.

 

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Billy Porter’s Ego would like for you to know he wore dresses before Harry Styles.

Billy Porter is the latest in a long line of blurred gender lines in fashion.

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Our beloved Harry Styles is in the news because he was minding his business and Billy Porter got salty about it.

I’m mostly joking. I don’t really care that much about Harry Styles (even though! his albums are immaculate), but it’s unfortunate that this necessary conversation has to happen at his expense. Harry Styles is just doing Harry Styles. He doesn’t bother anybody, he’s nice to everybody, and he just wears his little outfits. The praise he receives for those outfits is hyperbolic in relation to any ground that he’s actually breaking, because he’s not doing anything that scores of musicians haven’t done before him. I did not now for sure that Boy George was a man when I was a child. That is groundbreaking non-binary presentation in popular entertainment, not Harry Styles putting on a dress.

Harry Styles has the enormous privilege of being a straight, white, cis male sex symbol who was in a boy band. Anything he does that is counter to what that mold would typically do is going to receive way more praise than that same event would garner if performed by anyone else. That is what Billy Porter is trying to say in this interview with The Sunday Times.

“I feel like the fashion industry has accepted me because they have to. I created the conversation (about non-binary fashion) and yet Vogue still put Harry Styles, a straight white man, in a dress on their cover for the first time…I was the first one doing it and now everybody is doing it. I’m not dragging Harry Styles, but… He doesn’t care, he’s just doing it because it’s the thing to do. This is politics for me. This is my life…I had to fight my entire life to get to the place where I could wear a dress to the Oscars. All (Styles) has to do is be white and straight.”

Billy Porter is absolutely right. All Harry had to do is be white and be straight, but let’s not make assumptions about what he does and does not care about. Harry himself has said that he’s always liked “fancy dress” from a young kid and his sister, eyewear designer Gemma Styles, says their mother used to dress them both up, but Harry was the one who actually liked it. Harry’s philosophy on style is the same one I have:

“You can never be overdressed. There’s no such thing. The people that I looked up to in music—Prince and David Bowie and Elvis and Freddie Mercury and Elton John—they’re such showmen. As a kid it was completely mind-blowing. Now I’ll put on something that feels really flamboyant, and I don’t feel crazy wearing it. I think if you get something that you feel amazing in, it’s like a superhero outfit. Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with. What’s really exciting is that all of these lines are just kind of crumbling away. When you take away ‘There’s clothes for men and there’s clothes for women,’ once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play. I’ll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they’re amazing. It’s like anything—anytime you’re putting barriers up in your own life, you’re just limiting yourself. There’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes. I’ve never really thought too much about what it means—it just becomes this extended part of creating something.”

Is Harry Styles non-binary? No. But gender shouldn’t be boiled down to what clothes you wear, because clothes don’t have a gender. They’re just clothes. I am not non-binary, but I’ve been doing my nails and wearing heels off and on since high school.

That said, I didn’t know who Billy Porter was in high school. I didn’t put on “girls’ clothes” because Billy Porter made it okay to do so. I didn’t realize men could wear “women’s clothes” because Billy Porter opened the door for me. Billy Porter’s ego has erased all of the people who opened the door for him to wear his outfits of varying taste level on a red carpet.

Andre Leon Talley’s shiny muumuus and dramatic capes paved the way for Billy Porter.

B. Scott suing BET for being forced to take their make-up off and sport a ponytail to report on the runway paved the way for Billy Porter.

Miss Jay’s bobs and heels and ruffles on primetime television for ten years paved the way for Billy Porter.

And those are just the ones I identified with. That’s not even touching on Prince’s assless yellow lace awards show performance or Sylvester telling us we don’t have to take our clothes off to have a good time or Andre J being the first man in a dress on the cover of a high fashion magazine.

This is a lesson in ego muddying your point. You can have the most valid point of view in the word and initiate an overdue conversation that we probably should be having, but if you center yourself, a big chunk of your audience is going to bypass the conversation altogether. Very few people are actually breaking new ground. It is 2021. Somebody came before you. Somebody laid the cobblestones for the path you walk.

Harry Styles is the latest in a long line of glam rockers pushing the boundaries of masculinity. Billy Porter is the latest in a long line of blurred gender lines in fashion. Just because Billy Porter thinks he deserves a Vogue cover doesn’t mean his point is completely off the mark, but he’s not the pioneer he thinks he is.

 

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Tina Turner cashes in.

The Queen of Rock & Roll has sold it all.

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“I’ll give up all that other stuff, but only if I get to keep my name. I worked too hard for it, your honor.” — Angela Bassett as Tina Turner in What’s Love Got To Do With It, during the divorce from Ike

And now that she’s done using it, she’s sold it to BMG. To that I say…

Good for you, Anna Mae. Good. For. You.

Tina Turner has sold her music rights to BMG, the company’s CEO Hartwig Masuch tells Rolling Stone — marking the latest event in the trend of major legacy artists cashing in on their copyrights.

Included in the deal is Turner’s artist’s share for her recordings along with publishing rights, neighboring rights and her name, image and likeness.

(cont. Rolling Stone)

I know the entire script for What’s Love Got To Do With It. It has been one of my favorite movies for as long as I can remember and I can’t count all the people I’ve forced to watch it. When I was in boarding school, I had a little crush on a boy a couple of floors above me, and even though he had a girlfriend, I still made him watch What’s Love with me, because he was special. Fast forward around 8 or 9 months and he had broken up with his girlfriend. On a trip to a flea market he saw something I’d like and brought it back to the dorm with him. It was an old LP of Ike & Tina “Fool In Love,” a song he remembered from the first movie we watched together almost a year earlier. I still have that album too…

Anyway. I have a lot of memories connected to Tina Turner, so when I heard she sold all of her rights to not only her music but her likeness and her name, I was shocked. I knew how much she suffered building up that name, and I knew how hard she worked to rebuild it out from under the shadow of her abusive husband for the second act of her career. Why would she sell her legacy to a company? She has three living sons that she could leave it to. Isn’t that why we build empires and legacies, so our names and works can live on through the generation after us?

However, aside from the fact that I don’t know her family dynamics and it’s none of my business, sometimes money is better. Tina Turner has cashed out — if she wants to leave the money evenly to her sons, she can do that. You can’t split rights evenly. The heirs would have to agree on business deals over and over in perpetuity, and I’ve watched enough Prestige Dramas on HBO to never expect siblings to be on the same page about the direction of a company.

Perhaps more important than the next generation is the fact that Tina Turner is done. She started her victory lap with the Tina! musical and ended it with the Tina documentary on HBO. She’s been semi-retired from performing and recording since 2009, and now she has stepped completely out of the spotlight. Tina has been sharing pieces of herself with the public for sixty-five years and now she’s finished.

There’s something bittersweet about it. Cher will be performing until the wheels fall off. Madonna would rather launch herself into the sun than quietly retreat into private citizenry. We think of the great divas as women who can’t live without the crowds or the adoration or the creative act of putting new music together, but I’m not sure that’s something I ever felt from Tina Turner. Young Anna Mae was this great natural talent who didn’t sing like anybody else, didn’t move like anybody else, and didn’t look like anybody else, and she used her gifts. That’s what you’re supposed to do, but they’re forever intertwined with the man who discovered them and she’s never been able to find peace with it. When she said in the HBO documentary that she hasn’t had a good life, that the good doesn’t outweigh the bad she went through, I teared up. Here is the most iconic woman in Rock & Roll on the cusp of retiring from public life forever telling us she didn’t have a good life, because of all she went through to be Tina Turner.

And now she doesn’t have to be Tina Turner anymore. She’s done all she wants to do with it, so now she sold it to a company she trusts to protect her legacy. People build and sell businesses all the time, sometimes over and over. When Tom sold Myspace, nobody asked “what about your legacy!” He got the money from the sale to do whatever he wants to do with it. Selling the business of Tina Turner has netted Anna Mae millions (probably hundreds of millions) of dollars, but we only feel differently about it because we see a creative’s career as being more personally significant to the person than we do an entrepreneur’s career.

In this case, Tina Turner has been putting distance between herself and the public, herself and her career, for the past decade. And if anybody in music has earned the right to bow out on her own terms, it’s Tina Turner.

 

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