Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Flashback, and a Discussion Question

Britney Spears: ...Baby One More Time (1998)

Christina Aguilera: Genie in a Bottle (1999)

I recently watched the "Genie in a Bottle" music video for the first time in a while, and I was shocked at how blatantly sexual it is. Not because I felt the need to clutch my pearls or anything, but because I don't remember any controversy about it, whereas I do remember people talking about the "...Baby One More Time" video like the world had come to an end.

But Christina's midriff is just as bare as Britney's, and the song is far more suggestive. While Britney did a cheerful little dance and some gymnastics, Christina spends most of "Genie" rolling around on the beach at night in tiny shorts, and at one point writhing on the hood of a car like the B-roll from a heavy metal video.

(Please note that I think "Genie" is a fantastic video and I am not trying to imply that Christina did anything wrong. I'm just noting that the sexuality is more overt than in "...Baby.")

So why the lack of controversy? Was it because Christina was over 18 at the time, and Britney wasn't? Because Christina didn't combine that sexuality with the trappings of childhood (the infamous schoolgirl uniform)? Because Christina is biracial, and biracial women are stereotyped as being more sexual and can thus "get away" with acting sexier? Or were we as a culture simply inured to the concept of blonde teenagers' bellybuttons at this point?

Let me know what you think! Once you're done watching the videos and reminiscing, that is. It's okay, I'll wait.


Anonymous said...

I think it's that a uniform concept can be imitated by kids and whatnot but it's harder to imitate the Genie video, so adults are more worried about what their kids could do at home.

On a side note, I didn't even know Christina was biracial.

Jessica said...

@Anon: Hmm, that could be part of it!

Christina's father is from Ecuador. She released a Spanish-language album circa 2000 and everything.

Rachel said...

I remember controversy over Christina, but as I recall Britney generated pearl-clutching "YOU ARE SEXUALIZING A CHILD!!!" controversy, while Christina for some reason was a lot more, "YOU ARE SINGING A DIRTY SONG FULL OF INNUENDOS!!" controversy. There was also a fair amount of, "You're ripping Britney's sexification off!" with Christina.

Vitafit said...

GAAWD, Christina was gorgeous back then, Britney too, and also Jessica Simpson was BEAUTIFUL in those times. Aah... My childhood idols. :) they changed...

I still love these songs and i'm 20 years old hehe.