News Reality

10 Years Later, Britney Spears' Head-Shaving Moment Is Still Unforgettable

by www.huffingtonpost.com
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible);

The world had already been watching Britney Spears unravel for years when she walked into a hair salon in Tarzana, California, a decade ago and shaved her head. Days later, a bald Spears attacked a photographer’s car with an umbrella while at a gas station before speeding away.

Photos from these incidents have become lasting reminders of Spears’ downward spiral, and even spawned an inspirational meme declaring, “If Britney can make it through 2007, then I can make it through today.” 

It’s a moment in pop culture history that’s seared into the memories of anyone who even remotely followed celebrity culture in the aughts. But in the context of Spears’ overall breakdown, this event wasn’t even the “rock bottom” that would lead to a hospital stay and her current conservatorship.

While we associate haircuts in pop culture with positive outcomes — a post-breakup fresh start, a makeover — the drastic act of shaving one’s own head takes on a different meaning. Spears literally removed one of her most clearly feminine signifiers, one that was seen as “desirable” on a pop starlet who had been sexualized from the get-go.

Images of a wide-eyed Spears bald as the day she was born, gritting her teeth, are memorable not only because they are visually jarring when compared to her polished pop-star looks, but due to the nature of the act itself.

“She seemed to be trying, with befuddled brilliance, to tell the truth. She recoiled from celebrity culture by mortifying her own flesh. She stripped herself, publicly, of her sexuality. She presented herself as a grotesque,” Mark Stevens wrote in New York Magazine months after the incident. “Few gestures are as symbolically rich as the shaving of a head. That’s what monastics do when they reject the flesh to dedicate themselves to the spirit. In boot camp, soldiers lose their individuality with their hair. Delilah cut off Samson’s to make him defenseless.”

For Spears, this was an act of defiance and liberation; throughout her life and career, she was rarely the one in control.

“I was going through so much artificial stuff with my kids and Kevin at the time. He’d just left me and I was devastated,” she told MTV in an interview for the 2008 documentary “For the Record.” “People thought that it was me going crazy and stuff like that, but people shave their heads all the time. I was going through a lot, but it was just kind of like me going through a little bit of rebellion, or feeling free, or shedding stuff that had happened, you know?”

Spears’ message was hard to forget, but the circumstances that led to that moment are just as important to remember. 

She seemed to be trying, with befuddled brilliance, to tell the truth. Mark Stevens, New York Magazine

Spears burst onto the music scene in 1999 in pigtails and thigh-highs, openly promising to stay a virgin until marriage. She released three albums in as many years and became the reigning princess of pop, selling millions of records. But fame, success and wealth don’t insulate anyone from life’s problems. By 2002, Spears was dealing with a difficult breakup from Justin Timberlake and coping with her parents’ divorce. Not long after, the cracks started to show.

By the time Spears was distressed enough to shave her head in 2007, she had annulled one quickie Vegas marriage, wed backup dancer Kevin Federline, gave birth to two sons, and filed for divorce. Spears had already spent the last few years derailing the carefully crafted image her managers cultivated for her throughout her marriage to Federline.

“Federline gave Britney license to fully embrace her white-trash side — walking into gas-station restrooms barefoot, dumping ashtrays out hotel windows, wearing novelty tees like I’M A VIRGIN, BUT THIS IS AN OLD SHIRT and, most notably, not strapping the kids into car seats,” Vanessa Grigoriadis wrote in Rolling Stone in 2008.

Spears’ behavior was increasingly erratic, and after becoming newly single, she was a fixture in the Los Angeles club scene. Wild nights with Paris Hilton, among other things, eventually landed Spears in rehab in Antigua. She left treatment a day later, headed back to LA, and went to see her kids. But Federline, who had teamed up with her mother and her manager, refused to let her near the boys until she agreed to register for rehab in Malibu. Furious at their demands, it was in this state that Spears drove to Esther’s Haircutting Studio and shaved her own head.

The events that transpired in the months and years after this incident make it seem trivial in comparison.

After losing custody of her children, the singer locked herself in a room with her son Jayden and refused to hand him over to her ex-husband. This led to the singer’s hospitalization in a psychiatric ward, where she was held involuntarily for observation.

It was then Spears effectively lost her freedom. A judge awarded her father control of Spears’ personal and financial affairs  ? a conservatorship that remains in place to this day, despite the singer’s attempts early on to fight it. 

 “If I wasn’t under the restraints I’m under right now, with all the lawyers and doctors and people analyzing me everyday and all that kind of stuff. If that wasn’t there, I’d feel so liberated and feel like myself,” Spears revealed in “For the Record,” adding that she felt her life was now “too in control.”

 “There’s no excitement, there’s no passion, there’s no nothing,” she said. “It’s just like ‘Groundhog Day’ every day, you know?”

The conservatorship, which reportedly remains in place indefinitely due to a medical issue and has never been publicly disclosed, is not something Spears has spoken about since talking to MTV in 2008 ? that is, until recently. 

While her comments were ultimately cut from the final broadcast, fans at a September 2016 taping of the “Jonathan Ross Show” reported that Spears finally addressed the conservatorship. 

“I felt like a lot of decisions were made for me, so I wanted [’Glory’] to be my baby and I’ve been really strategic about it,” she reportedly said, explaining that she’s slowly been able to gain more control over her own life. 

Spears, of course, is a success story. Today, the 35-year-old singer headlines in Las Vegas, making $30.5 million last year. She’s clearly flourished under her father’s watch, but there’s an unsettling irony that history will remember her most desperate attempt at autonomy.

Hit Backspace for a regular dose of pop culture nostalgia.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


Read Full Article On www.huffingtonpost.com
Latest
Actor Michael Mantenuto, best known for his role as Jack O’Callahan in Disney’s Miracle, has died.        
Johnny Depp showed up at Disneyland and surprised the riders on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.        
Harry Derbidge opened up about his eating disorder in an emotional post [Getty] And now, Amy Childs' cousin has shared a dramatic before and after snap showing his transformation over the past f
Between single piercings, double piercings, gauges and cartilage piercings, there are a multitude of ways to deck out your ears. But just when you thought that ear candy had reached peak trendiness, t
What Queen Elizabeth wants, Queen Elizabeth gets.
Starz series based on Neil Gaiman's fantasy novel meanders but intigues        
Tess Holliday has a message for other moms out there and it’s all about self-love.  The plus-size model, who gave birth to her son, Bowie, last June, shared a selfie on Instagram Wednesday
Watch a clip from EW Reunites: Romy and Michele's High School Reunion!        
Michael Ruhlman long had a literary crush on Ann Hood. And now, at last, they are husband and wife.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development backed Volodymyr Lavrenchuk on April 27, the head of Raiffeisen’s (RBIV.VI) Ukrainian unit, to take over the country’s central bank and
Harry Styles opened up about his thoughts on equality [BBC] And now the 23 year old has shared some of his core values in an interview with French TV show, Quotidan.  The performer was ask
The survey found that teens’ social media breaks are typically a week or longer, and boys are more likely to take longer breaks.        
There could be a secret behind Khloê Kardashian's thick locks [Khloe Kardashian/Instagram] Everyone struggles with bad hair days, whether it’s the weather or simply picking the wrong hai
PLUS: The reality star talks 'twinning' personality with son Saint and how daughter North reminds her of husband Kanye        
The sister act's sophomore album 'Something To Tell You' arrives July 7.        
Netflix takes a unique look at the mysterious death of JonBenet Ramsay in 'Casting JonBenet,' available for streaming April 28.        
Millie Mackintosh and Hugo Taylor put on a united front in London last night[Wayne Buckland] But the Made in Chelsea couple put on a united front when they stepped out in London on Wednesday 26
Kim, Rick and Ian had a massive £43,000 in the prize fund after their trio of individual chases. The team amassed 16 steps in the final chase, hoping it would be enough to topple Shaun Wallace. Bu
Appearing on a couples special, Ruth told host Keith Lemon that she has "no complaints" in the bedroom.  The 57 year old also talked about likening her husband to a "steam train" in the bedroo
The 42-year-old Oregon man said it's the first time someone has reached the summit by kite, and he thinks his adventure from treeline to the crater's rim sets a record for fastest non-motorized ascen
Taking part in Master and Miss - a spin-off from Phillip Schofield's ITV show, Mr & Mrs, Gino D'Acampo asked Ruth: "Which Loose Woman would Eamonn most like to join you two in a t
Some buyers seek out homes that are seemingly frozen in time—maintained in their original style, sometimes for decades
Stephanie Davis may have some bad news for her fans[Stephanie Davis Instagram] The mum of one’s eagerly-anticipated autobiography has been "scrapped" by publishers – after she edited out dramati
NEW YORK (AP) — In a park amid Manhattan skyscrapers, a gem has emerged: a posh public bathroom that cost nearly $300,000, complete with freshly delivered flowers, imported tiles, classical music and
Some buyers seek out homes that are seemingly frozen in time—maintained in their original style, sometimes for decades
As Anthony Joshua and Wladamir Klitschko prepare to fight at a sold-out Wembley Stadium, a fan-friendly business model has cultivated a rabid fan base in the U.K.
We tend to hope for the best and avoid communicating concern about proms and drinking to our kids. Don’t hold back, say the experts. Your worries are completely valid.      &n
Leslie Feist leaves the quirky indie pop of '1234' behind for a stripped-down new album.        
When it comes to vitamins, can too much hurt you?
Appearing on Celebrity Juice, Ruth told host Keith Lemon that she has "no complaints" in the bedroom.  The 57 year old also talked about likening her husband to a "steam train" in the bedroom.
Laura Kenny is pregnant with her first child [Boots] The Olympian stepped out earlier today and flaunted her blossoming baby bump in her casual outfit. Wearing a large red t-shirt under a black
Do you need several cups of coffee just to make it through the day?
This £1.2 million wedding dress is by Reem Acra and Tiffany  [Getty] You have the massive job of finding the right cut, with the right neckline and the right colour.  But one of the big
The Simpsons weigh in on Trump's first 100 days. Elizabeth Keatinge (@elizkeatinge) has more.        

Recent News

Warrant issued for Meridian officer involved in baseball fight

An arrest warrant has been issued for a police officer involved in a fight at a child's baseball game.              
Read Full Article

'One Week and a Day' works through grief, one toke at a time

With a title that sounds standard but turns out to be specific, "One Week and a Day" keeps an impeccable balance between absurdity and sadness, comedy and heartbreak. Increasingly outrageous but a
Read Full Article

Lust and gore abound in trashy horror film 'The Black Room'

Veteran exploitation filmmaker Rolfe Kanefsky has directed a handful of horror pictures over the years, but has spent more time helming soft-core erotica, which probably explains why his supernatu
Read Full Article

Steamy drama 'Below Her Mouth' doesn't even buy you dinner first

The sexy lost weekend subgenre — in which sexual connections provide an entry into emotional and intellectual intimacies — has gained traction in recent years featuring same-sex male couples, for
Read Full Article

Big Brother turns into a bit of a bore in 'The Circle,' and there's not an app for that

“Don’t be evil” was Google’s old, readily teaseable motto. Now, knowing what most of us do about the corporations that run/monitor our mobile-mad lives — Uber was able to track people even after t
Read Full Article

No picketing for Pixar? Why a writers' strike won't hobble animation studios

Don’t expect Buzz Lightyear, Elsa or Toothless the dragon to go on strike next week. As Hollywood makes contingency plans for the possibility of another writers’ walkout, the major animation studi
Read Full Article

Idaho man gets 28 years in beating death of gay man

An Idaho man who killed a gay man by kicking him up to 30 times with steel-toed boots was sentenced on Wednesday by a federal judge to 28 years in prison, prosecutors said on Thursday. In February, Ke
Read Full Article

Alex Jones aims his fire at ‘globalist Democrats’ Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner

Conspiracy theorist and InfoWars.com provocateur Alex Jones released a video on Thursday in which he decried President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner as being respo
Read Full Article

Ana Navarro eviscerates Jesse Watters for Ivanka sex joke: People need to ‘start paying the consequences’

CNN contributors Ana Navarro and Margaret Hoover on Thursday reacted to Fox News host Jesse Watters’ inappropriate sexual comments about Ivanka Trump and agreed that it was a reflection of the n
Read Full Article

Popular Finance

RBI prescribes rules for chief risk officers in banks

The CRO will not have any reporting relationship with business verticals
Read Full Article
 

5 Retirement Moves For Recently Divorced Couples

This financial adviser says taking these steps can help you protect your assets after a divorce and shore up your finances.
Read Full Article

Southwest Airlines to stop overbooking flights

Southwest Airlines plans to stop overbooking flights — an industry practice implicated in an ugly incident on a United Airlines flight that has damaged United's reputation with the flying public.
Read Full Article

Live NFL draft updates: Browns are on the clock

Read Full Article

Sam Farmer's Mock Draft: Myles Garrett goes #1

Read Full Article

Babies and children listed in Homeland Security's immigrant database of alleged criminals

A public database that the Trump administration said would help crime victims track the custody of suspected criminal immigrants mistakenly listed babies and other children. The database included
Read Full Article

Tyler Asemota of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame is ready to turn up the speed

Read Full Article

United Airlines settles with Dr. David Dao, the passenger dragged from a plane

United Airlines has settled with Dr. David Dao over the injuries he received when he was dragged off one of the airline’s planes earlier this month, Dao's attorneys announced Thursday. Under the t
Read Full Article

Steven Shainberg directs Noomi Rapace in the delightfully bonkers sci-fi/horror flick 'Rupture'

It might come as a surprise that director Steven Shainberg of “Secretary” and “Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus” fame has tackled a genre film — the wild and kooky sci-fi/horror flick “Ru
Read Full Article