Tavi Gevinson: Britney Spears Was Never in Control

This essay is a must read.

If teen girls — or young women — are encountering adult men socially, they are navigating norms and expectations that were built to rationalize men’s behavior. They are not inured to power imbalances or how power may complicate consent. They are not historically taught to leave a sexual encounter the moment that it becomes violent or to subordinate men’s desires in favor of their own pleasure or safety. They are taught to be responsible for the actions of sexual predators, who receive a vast margin of plausible deniability.

Tavi Gevinson: Britney Spears Was Never in Control

As Tressie McMillan Cottom wrote in her essay “In the Name of Beauty,” “beauty isn’t actually what you look like; beauty is the preferences that reproduce the existing social order.” Beauty is capital, has serious material advantages for white women at the expense of all other women, and grows in value based only on the exclusion of others. The thin white sexy-but-sexless virginal archetype is not rooted in youth, novelty, and hatred of grown women alone but in anti-Blackness and the equating of white femininity with victimhood.

Tavi Gevinson: Britney Spears Was Never in Control

With beauty as the only such capital, being considered “in your prime” is not a position of power if you are a girl alone in a room with a man. The deceitful notion that you have power because you’re considered desirable centers male desire, rather than your own pleasure. “In her prime” hurts men, too, by teaching them to see women as commodities and to define their own self-worth according to what they can obtain.

Tavi Gevinson: Britney Spears Was Never in Control

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