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Am I the only person in America who watched Britney Spears perform at MTVÂs Video Music Awards and was stunned by how absolutely fabulous she looked? The woman is only about a year post-partum, and to my eye she is toned and fit from head to toe. SheÂs curvier now than she used to be, sure, looking downright buxom. But it took a lot of guts to wear that sparkly little boy-shorts bikini get-up in front of God and everybody and shake her, well, guts. And she worked it!
Okay, okay, so she looked a little sleepy. And her performance did, frankly, suck. Given her recent accomplishments in the field, she delivered about what I expected on the music and dance front: Not much. Clearly, sheÂs got a couple of problems. But being a Âfat pigÂ is not one of them.
So I was flummoxed by how much the press—and I use that term loosely, since IÂm really talking about all the tabloid and blogosphere entertainment ÂjournalistsÂ who follow the unraveling Britney story 24/7—jumped all over her body size as being at the heart of the VMA disaster. Even babble.com, a parent-oriented Web site, picked on the poor girlÂs size, noting that had illusionist Criss Angel showed up to saw her in half, ÂheÂd need a pretty big saw.Â
As a mom, I have a lot of empathy for Britney; thereÂs almost nothing about her behavior that canÂt be chalked up to post-partum madness, if you ask me. Yeah, she shaved her head. But I can remember looking at my own hair about six months post partum—after it had all fallen out from the estrogen crash—and thinking IÂd be better off starting over (had I been in my 20s, rather than my 40s, I might have been tempted to shave away). Yeah, itÂs been a while since sheÂs put out any new music. But sheÂs got two kids—a full-time job if ever there was one! Yeah, she went out without her panties. But who among us doesnÂt walk around in a mommy-brained fog, forgetting little details here and there?
I have absolutely nothing in common with her—and I never liked her music, or her look, or her dance moves. But whenever I read about BritneyÂs latest exploits, I somehow see myself. OMG, I think, what would people think if they could see every stupid little thing I do? What would they say about MY ugly outfits? How would they assess MY bad parenting decisions? What if MY every lapse in taste and judgment—and they are plentiful—were captured on film for all the world to see? Yikes! I doubt that IÂd fare much better. Would you?
(Not that IÂd be flaunting what IÂve got—which is considerably more, especially on the backside—in such a tiny little outfit on live television.)
I do want Britney to come back, I guess, so IÂll feel a little more like I can come back, too. Having a baby (or two) isnÂt the end, it can be a new beginning. Still, I guess a good lesson for me and for her—and for everybody watching her—is that life after baby doesnÂt look the same anymore. And what she looks like to me is a toned new mommy. I hope sheÂll give up on the skinny, skanky horny-teen nymphette act, calm down a little, wise up, and get on with her life—stop trying to go back, and instead go forward. ThatÂs all we can do, right?
Meanwhile, IÂm pasting BritneyÂs VMA pix on my fridge as motivation to keep working out and eating right. Someday, I hope to look as good as she does on a bad day.
Hillari Dowdle lives and writes in Knoxville, Tennessee. Contact her