The world’s most famous former Mousketeer (okay, maybe she ties with her ex JT and Ryan Gosling as a close second) just can’t avoid controversy — it follows her around like the dang paparazzi. But maybe that’s not so bad — whether she means to or not, Britney makes us raise important issues through her in-your-face lyrics and antics.
So we decided to take a look at BritBrit’s singles and see what other subtext was lurking beneath what might otherwise appear to just be another fluffy pop song. Check out the surprising results below:
“(Hit Me Baby) One More Time” (Dating Abuse)
The first video from a fresh-faced, teenaged Britney featured her gyrating in a naughty schoolgirl outfit with a midriff top. But beyond the cheeky wardrobe, we think the lyrics highlight an even bigger issue: how obsessive relationships can turn abusive real quick: “My loneliness is killing me…When I’m not with you I lose my mind…Hit me baby one more time.” Sounds a bit like Ronni and Sammi on a bad day, right?
According to Liz Claiborne’s Love Is Not Abuse campaign, “Nearly 1 in 3 teens who have been in relationships have experienced the most serious forms of dating violence and abuse including sexual abuse, physical abuse, or threats of physical harm to a partner or self.” Learn more about dating abuse on Love Is Respect ‘cause we all know that knowledge = power.
“(You Drive Me) Crazy” (Mental Health)
Featuring include cameos from post-Clarissa Melissa Joan Hart and a pre-Entourage Adrian Grenier, plus the return of Britney’s mesmerizing midriff, this video also touches on a serious issue facing young people: the devastating effects of mental health problems.
Britney sings that she “just can’t sleep” — and the same probably goes for the 50% of college students reporting that they have been so stressed that they couldn’t function during the past year. And with suicide the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year olds in the U.S., it’s no wonder that mtvU’s Half of Us campaign exists to combat this emotional epidemic.
“I’m Slave 4 U” (Human Trafficking)
A sweaty, sexy Spears bumped and grinded through her most blatantly hormone-driven video yet — and she literally went wild during her 2001 VMA live performance. But beyond the primal reactions to Britney’s mind-melting belly dancing, this song also draws attention to yet another grim reality of the modern world: human trafficking.
According to mtvU’s Against Our Will campaign, “Between 12 and 27 million people worldwide are estimated to be enslaved”– a shocking and sobering fact for most us. If you want to take action — it can be done in a minute — check out Against Our Will’s take action page.
While most of us will only remember a butt-nekkid, bedazzled Britney writhing around on the floor in this high-flying video, the strategically-placed diamonds in her bangin’ bodysuit are actually clues to a larger theme running through this song: the environmental damage we humans cause in our relentless pursuit of the Earth’s resources. Don’t you know that we’re toxic?!
Comedy Central’s Address the Mess does – which is why they’re committed to showing viewer’s easy ways to humor the planet by living more sustainable lives. So let’s fix what Miss Spears accurately calls our “poison paradise.”
“Womanizer” (Sexual Health)
Playah please! Britney knew-knew just what he was-was – but what if you don’t? How can you protect yourself against STD’s? With knowledge, people! MTV and Kaiser Family Foundation want you to stay in charge of your carnal connections – so check out the facts at It’s Your Sex Life and make sure to GYT (Get Yourself Tested).
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Know yourself and your status with GYT: Get Yourself Tested