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A Closer Look at Britney’s Shears

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It's not difficult to understand why Britney Spears' shaving her hair off has shocked the nation. Britney was part of the Mickey Mouse club growing up, for God's sake! Her life has been rocked lately by a string of setbacks increasingly bizarre. The head-shaving shocked the nation because of the readily available images of Britney shaving her head that were splashed throughout the media. Dozens of eyewitnesses added their accounts of how much of an emotional wreck Britney was during the process.

It's easy to mark her act as that of a whacko, as someone whose reported use of recreational drugs and alcohol has spiraled out of control. It's not as if Britney hasn't done some particularly ill-advised things in her life (the nuptials that lasted all of 55 hours, hooking up with Kevin Federline, a messy break-up and war of words over child custody, and the loud re-emergence of the party girl aided by Paris Hilton and the flaunted lack of underwear), but shaving her bleached locks, Britney's trademark since the beginning of her career, is significant because this is different from all the other stuff she's done.

There are reports that Britney did it because her hair implants were bothering her. We'll ignore that one on the grounds of implausible reaction for a relatively minor problem. A lot of reports swirling among the bloggerati tend to suggest that Britney wanted to make sure she wouldn't be nailed in a drug test via a hair sample (which, you have to admit, fits in nicely with the shaved privates displayed to gratified paparazzi during the lack of underwear incident). Hair can carry traces of drug use for long periods of time.

Given the length of Britney's hair at the time she cut it off, you could bust her for any use probably going back six to eight months. Cutting off your hair to avoid failing drug tests is pretty prevalent. Your urine carries traces up to 30 days, but that can be manipulated by diuretics and fluids to flush out evidence faster. Was it really the act of a desperate mother who wanted custody of her sons at all costs?

A woman with a shaved head carries different meanings in different cultures. In South Asia, it's associated with widows or terminally ill women. In the United States, you'd get labeled as a lesbian, punk, or a cancer patient or survivor. In most cases, it is associated with a loss of femininity.

Britney has been in the music business since she was a little girl. When her single "Hit Me Baby, One More Time" conquered the airwaves, she was 19-years-old. She is now 25. There are tremendous pressures on young girls to look and act feminine and sexy far beyond their years. Unless you are in the singer-songwriter category like Sheryl Crowe, Sarah McLachlan, or Fiona Apple, this means you have to sexually mature very quickly or at least pretend that you have – and your femininity is marketed just as much as much as your music, if not more.

Is Britney reclaiming herself as a person, freeing herself from what the music industry and media made her out to be? Was she discarding her vulnerability in an attempt to invoke a new, tougher woman? Is she too emotionally and chemically addled to be connecting the dots so clearly? Or was it an in-between decision borne out of her subconscious? Take your pick, but of all Britney's weird acts, this one seems to have stirred something deeply rooted in a number of her female fans and friends.

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About Aspi Havewala

  • VtFarmboy

    Britney shaving her head shocked the nation? what nation are you talking about. That statement would have to mean sombody actually cared about what britney was doing. It certainly isnt a first or a fashon statement. Sined O’Conner shaved her head 15 years ago. Its time Britney got over herself, realized she is a has been in the music industry and settle down with her family. Maybe in 15 or 20 years do a comeback tour singing the oldies she sang way back when.

  • http://nikamma.blogspot.com Aspi

    > Maybe in 15 or 20 years do a comeback tour singing the oldies she sang way back when.

    Wow, that is a scary image. Maybe you right, we shouldn’t be encouraging her :)

  • http://www.purple.com Ann E. Mouse

    Why is the extension hurting so farfetched? I could imagine having a bunch of things pulling on different parts of your scalp could drive you insane and how do you fix it? Hours of pulling them all back out? No thanks, I’d do the same thing.

  • http://www.myspace.com/braidstar Brady

    The weird thing about Brit (and most celebs) is that they seem to be astonished when EVERYONE pays attention to the small stuff (tripping with baby in-hand, driving with baby in-lap, getting a little haircut) and devastated when NO ONE pays attention to the big stuff (new crappy single out, attempt at a comeback, etc.) It’s a sick-cycle carosel and the shaving of the head was probably one of these, “Wouldn’t it be funny, IF?” sort of things she seems to be famous for (read: marriage to hometown bf that lasted 55 hours was ‘for fun’ she has said.)

    I think we all give her way too much credit- she doesn’t think things through before she does much of anything. She’s just a spaz who never fully got to be a teenager. The problem is- she used to be packaged all pretty and now that the wrapping is off, we see she’s just a normal, not super attractive human being with warts and all. She won’t be able to recover after this. Her It-Factor has been irreversably turned into an Ew-Factor. Her 15 minutes are up, peeps!

  • Dawn

    If she did it to avoid drug testing, she should have done it in the privacy of her own home, as the shop where she shaved it kept her hair, even attempting to sell it on Ebay and then a private website.

    Also, I think “Hit Me Baby One More Time” came out in ’98 which would have meant Britney was a bit younger than 19, I think she was closer to 16 or 17 when she recorded that single.

    It seems that post-partum depression is at play here and there’s no doubt that if Britney wants to, she can have a huge comeback.

    Which really sucks for the rest of us.

  • http://nikamma.blogspot.com Aspi

    @Ann E. Mouse: curiosity overwhelms me about the hair extensions comment. THe reason for that comment is that I do not believe a highly public celebrity like Britney would (a) get cheap hair extensions and wait for them to hurt to the point of desperation and (b) decide shaving was the only alternative. Surely other celebrities have had this problem before? Its hard to imagine someone like Lohan or Simpson doing the same.

    @Brady: “she used to be packaged all pretty and now that the wrapping is off” – nice line!

  • Martin Howes

    I think you are all wrong. As with everyone in the spotlight, your life will never be your own..why attack Britney when she has done nothing worse than any other celebrity has done up until now. Yes i some cases she is wrong, but who isn’t. Leave her alone and let her get her life back together with the support of her family, friends and fans that she so needs.