Framing Brittney Spears – and other talented girl “commodities”

Two weeks ago, I knew like nuthin’ about online abuse of girl celebrities. Now, thanks to NPR’s shows 1A and On the Media, I’m ready to do battle for these girls.

I first heard of the phenomenon of these girl celebrities being treated like property on NPR’s On the Media:

Then, yesterday, NPR’s 1A show dove deep into the same topic.

In this segment, I was especially impressed with Rebecca Black. This young woman had a big hit in 2011 with her song Friday.

Despite that song’s fun lyrics and infectious beat – and Rebecca’s tender years (13!) – she was subjected to tremendous online abuse by both professional music critics and hordes of would-be critics wielding the power of the social media Comment.

Well, Rebecca – with lots of support from her family – survived all that, learned from it and is back in black.

Her remix of that original song is a thumb-in-your-eye triumph, with sassy touches she could not have pulled off at age 13, like the line “It’s the fucking weekend, people!”

The song itself is wonderful: buoyant, celebratory and so-danceable – perfect Friday music.

But the music video is the real master class on busting ass. Cartoon visuals make it absolutely clear that Rebecca Black is back – large and in charge. It’s a blast!

When I tweeted about all this yesterday, I looked up Rebecca’s Twitter handle: @MsRebeccaBlack. A vulnerable 13-year-old girl no longer!

Based on all these stories of young women fighting back against a corporate (and sometimes patriarchal family) establishment intent on using their talent (and often their sexuality) for others’ profit, I started creating a “Girl power!” playlist. I found some of these songs – and some of them were recommendations from Pandora.

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These days all of my identities are converging: whether I am offering a blessing in the grocery store checkout line, offering a prayer in a poem or experiencing the kinship with all life while walking my or a client's dog - it's all the same. It's all Life.

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