When most human being think of early-2000s Britney Spears, their minds likely jump to "Oops! . . . I Did It Again" and also its accompanying red vinyl bodysuit — maybe likewise a dash of love for "Stronger," "Lucky," any kind of of those radio-ready hits that would certainly come to sonically encapsulate our younger years. But for those of us who bought the Oops!...I Did It Aget CD and also listened to it in complete, on repeat, for days on finish — a lot to the chagrin of anyone around us with functioning eardrums — we are well mindful that the title track was just the start.

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Revisiting those oft-forgained B-sides serves as a reminder not just that pop artists" packing peanut songs deserve to be pretty damn good, however likewise that Britney apparently encountered a lot of unenviable dating situations in her day. All told, tright here was the frustration through an unrequited crush in "Can"t Make You Love Me"; the emotional (or literal?) restraining order prescribed by "Don"t Go Knockin" on My Door"; the chiding of an uncommunicative douchewad in "Don"t Let Me Be the Last to Know"; even the breathy indigcountry espoprovided by her cover of the Rolling Stones" "(I Can"t Get No) Satisfaction." (To all that had actually blisscompletely blocked said cover from their memory, I apologize for dredging it up; let"s job-related with this hard time together.)

Still, upon reflection, perhaps Britney"s the majority of surprisingly righteous, feminist, kicking-ass-and-taking-names-iest track is the mid-album lingerer "What U See (Is What U Get)" — not to be confused through the Xzilittle song of the same name. (For the document, I currently desperately want to hear some type of mash up of these two — please, Internet, aid a girl out.)


Let"s break this one down, founding through the initially verse:

You provided to say that I was special; every little thing was right.

But currently you think I"m wearing too much makeup, that my dress is also tight.

You acquired no factors to be jealous; I"ve never been untrue.

So what"s it really matter if they"re looking? I"m only looking at you.

Right off the bat, we"ve obtained a scenario all too familiar to any kind of number of human being who"ve knowledgeable a sudden and also uncomfortable change in the attitude of a when sweet-seeming partner, and who"ve hence found themselves sucked into the undertow of a toxically jealous relationship. Also, it have to be provided that the certain examples of "too a lot makeup" and also "also tight clothing" are the prime go-tos of any kind of exercised slut-shamer, exceedingly frustrating for those of us that know that you don"t immediately trade in your personhood as soon as you pop on some lipstick.


So, what does Britney do? Why, she lays the smackdown, of course:

You should never attempt to readjust me:

I have the right to be nobody else,

And I like the way I am.

Just, yes. So a lot yes. Mountains of yes, extending on right into a yes-filled horizon wbelow a skywriter is repetitively scribing YES.


I expect, certain, everyone can constantly aspire toward certain kinds of self-advancement, lest we stagnate, etc., yet as soon as it comes to the kind of scenario the song has actually laid out so much — i.e., a significant other that is possessively acquiring on your instance — these words and the sentiment behind them are vitally crucial. And Brit just keeps on hammering it home:

What you check out is what you get;

This is me — hey, you, if you desire me, do not forget.

You need to take me as I am, "reason I deserve to promise you,

Baby, what you check out is what you acquire.

I cannot snap hard sufficient together with this chorus, yet that does not suppose I will not break my hand also trying.


Because so frequently, as soon as young woguys are pincreased or affirmed, it"s through some sort of qualification — "Sure, you"re excellent, but you"d be also much better if you complied with this makeup guideline / if you smooshed your body into this Platonic appropriate / if you do not recognize you"re beautiful," etc. — and while this strategic social negging absolutely sells even more cosmetics/SlimFast/boy band also albums, it often raveras, or at leastern sevecount complicates, our device of self-esteem. I"m sure boys acquire it, also — "male up" and also all that awful, overidentified sex bullshit — but the included sense of possessiveness threaded through Britney"s tale smacks especially of the female experience, à la street harassers" insistence that we smile.


Put plainly, it sucks, and not in the leastern because it leaves us especially delicate to exactly these kinds of crappy relationships — that is, through folks that are more interested in the concept of having actually a companion than they are in that that partner actually happens to be, and will certainly therefore end up reducing a totally realized humale individual to how well they perform or carry out not meacertain up to an intricate set of personal fantasies.


If there"s anypoint that 16-year-old me essential to hear, and also loudly, it"s that attempting to adjust yourself considerably in order to be more attractive to someone else — from the music you prefer to the garments you wear to the cigarettes you"re suddenly stoked on cigarette smoking — is not just futile, it"s harmful, and no matter just how cool that perboy might seem at the moment, they are sindicate not worth the trouble. You will never before get ago all those hrs of acoustic Decemberists covers you pretfinished to love — not ever before.

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Plus, zooming out a little bit, it"s tough not to retroproactively relate these lyrics to Britney"s career case — the "you" to whom she"s singing an allegory for the media that insisted that she be sexy-but-not-too-sexy, both a duty model and also a item of eye candy, on and on until blue in the challenge (and perhaps, various other anatomy parts). 2007"s "Piece of Me" picks up on this template in specifically those terms, calling out those who would "put a photo of my derriere in the magazine" and also telling them to "gain in line with the paparazzi who"s pissing me off." But it began below, in "What U See (Is What U Get)," and far even more universally, relatably so, at leastern for those of us who"ve never been to the Philippines. It was yet another peek behind the curtain, a line of empathy to the ever-inconsistent hardships for those put on a pop cultural pedestal.


From tright here, the rest of the song proceeds to hammer these exact same points home — the following verse describing sassist creeper watching her obsessively while she dances, her subsequent assertion that "I can not have these chains around me," adhered to by a distinctly Britney-ish multisyllabic filler noise ("bay-bay, huh-now-now"). But for me, it"s ultimately all about that one plain pre-chorus assertion — "and I choose the means I am" — such a straightforward statement that"s still so difficult, some days, to muster. So, till we can understand it for ourselves, I say we uncover it here — through, yes, this admittedly goofy pop B-side from the year 2000. Whatever it takes, y"all. This is me, hey, you!

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