Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, May 19

Gapers Block

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Go to Fred Segal, you'll find them there
Laughing loud so all the little people stare
Looking for a daddy to pay for the champagne
(Drop a name)
What happened to the dreams of a girl president
She's dancing in the video next to 50 Cent
They travel in packs of two or three
With their itsy bitsy doggies and their teeny-weeny tees

I know I shouldn't start my column with a quotation (this isn't an essay for high school English), but Pink's song "Stupid Girls" succinctly summarizes a crop of current young female celebrities who seem to lack inhibition…and undergarments.

When Britney Spears announced on November 7 her intention to divorce Kevin Federline, tabloids and gossip reporters cheered. Finally, Spears could get back to being America's Sweetheart. It was no secret that certain people blamed K-Fed (now Fed-Ex) for Spears's fall from the pop pedestal. Their hasty marriage and the decision to share its origin in the series Britney & Kevin: Chaotic puzzled many. The likely pitch was a "hip" take on Newlyweds, which propelled Jessica Simpson's career to its current high (or low, depending on your opinion). Newlyweds was a professional MTV production. Chaotic featured Brit and Kev's home movies interspersed with concert footage and more recent interviews with the couple. As someone who watched the series as it aired — shut up! — I couldn't believe anyone thought it was a good idea. The behind-the-scenes coverage was simultaneously banal and cringe-inducing. It made me wonder if anyone was looking out for Spears and her interests. Her gum-smacking and clumpy-mascara-ed interview with Matt Lauer underscored the impression of a "girl" (even though she is 24) on her own. Any good "handler" would have snatched the gum from her mouth and made sure Spears's make-up wasn't distracting. Then again, all of it could have been a bid for independence.

Immediately after she dumped Federline, Spears and new BFF Paris Hilton celebrated by hitting different hot spots every night. Rumors of drug use and casual sex in restaurant bathrooms followed, and Britney was photographed not once, not twice, not even thrice, but FOUR TIMES (fourthice?) without panties, all within a two-week time frame. Some of the pictures showed her caesarian scar as well, reminding everyone that she had a three-month old baby at home. (Spears's older son is only 15 months old.) The hell? How did K-Fed end up the classy and mature one in this scenario? As Amy Poehler put it, "Nobody wants to see your baby factory."

Earlier this year, paparazzi caught similar upskirt pictures of Lindsay Lohan, who managed to put on underwear afterward but not to curb her wild antics and unprofessional behavior. Her mother/manager — which may be part of the problem right there, yeah? — had her own professional problems, but continued to defend her daughter if not rein her in. The latest word is that Lindsay has been attending Alcoholic Anonymous meetings (isn't the point NOT to announce that?), yet she continues to be seen with alcohol. Lohan is 20 years old. She recently released two oddly worded statements — one about Robert Altman's death, the other a rambling screed about…who knows, exactly — that haven't helped her case much.

In comparison, around 20 years ago, the biggest teen queens were Molly Ringwald, Debbie-not-yet-Deborah Gibson and Tiffany. Ringwald ruled as John Hughes's muse, Gibson wrote her own songs (and wore kicky hats!), and Tiffany bopped her way though U.S. malls singing Beatles and Tommy James and The Shondells covers. Ringwald dated fellow actor Anthony Michael Hall, and Tiffany hooked up with one of the New Kids on the Block (maybe Jordan?). Perhaps there were nights of drunken debauchery or coke binges — it was, after all, the '80s — but there wasn't nearly the level of scandal that defines fame via the Information Superhighway.

I'm sure these young women stumbled and made bad decisions, like we all did in our teens and 20s, like Spears and Lohan are doing today. It can't be even remotely easy to live life under such daily scrutiny, especially when, like it or not, Spears and Lohan are role models to thousands of impressionable girls. Lohan recently admitted, "I don't want to put myself in the position where I'm in a monogamous relationship right now. I'm not dating just one person. 'Sex and the City' changed everything for me because those girls would sleep with so many people." Does she not realize or care that in ten or so years, another starlet might cite Lohan's own behavior as a blueprint for her choices?

In bonus footage from her reality series, Spears offered the following opinion as she filmed one of her backup dancers:

"You know what I think, though? The people that want to prove so much to the world that they're with that person, those are ones that are in marriage for fear. The ones that you notice celebrities that don't promote themselves that much and that are just kind of quiet to themselves — they have the best relationships. So why do you have to make known to the world? What do you have to prove? All you need is love."

I'm not sure whether she filmed this footage before or after she brought Federline on tour, but Spears should have followed her own advice. Whatever her past "crimes" or misdemeanors, she is now an adult and currently accountable for two babies under the age of 18 months. She should grow up and take responsibility for her life and actions. But will she? Does she have no one to guide her: a mother, a manager, a publicist? On her official website, Spears defended herself, saying, "It's been so long since I've been out on the town with friends. It's also been 2 years since I've even celebrated my birthday. Every move I make at this point has been magnified more than I expected, and I probably did take my new found freedom a bit too far. Anyway, thank God for Victoria Secrets' new underwear line! I look forward to a new year, new music and a new me. I'm just getting started. Happy Holidays everyone!"

Baby steps, y'all!

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About the Author(s)

As a child, Dee Stiffler was only allowed to watch one hour of television a day. She usually chose Sesame Street. Today, she overcompensates by knowing far too much about the CW's lineup as well as pop culture in general. Email her at

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