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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Parents up in arms over teen-sexpot look

 •  Glitter T's, hip-huggers in back-to-school fashion

By Ann Oldenburg
USA Today

Legions of little Britney Spears wannabes are shopping for back-to-school clothes right now. Midriff-baring shirts? Low-rider jeans?

"Every time I see her, she is wearing less," a magazine editor says of Britney Spears.

Associated Press

Girls want them. Parents and educators don't. Battle lines are being drawn.

Retailers offer the rhinestone-and-ripped fashions of many pop stars, but everyone's favorite whipping girl is Spears, whose own pants have gotten lower as her star has risen higher.

She bounced on the scene, at age 16, late in 1998 with her single "... Baby One More Time," but looked grown up with her Rolling Stone American flag cover in May 2000. This summer, her outfits have featured an array of super-short dresses and pelvis-baring pants.

"Every time I see her, she is wearing less and less," says Brandon Holley, the editor of Ellegirl magazine, which makes its debut today.

"It's crazy. She needs to button up a little bit. Between the kids and the parents in that argument, I would side with the parents, certainly."

And, in fact, there's no mention of Britney in the new teen-targeted publication. Says Holley, "The girls we're targeting are the trendsetters. And they are so over Britney. They loved her when she was a little bit shyer when her first record came out." Now, she says, "They like the singers that show more personal style — Pink or Gwen Stefani.

"The problem with the Britney thing is (she appeals to) younger girls, the 8-year-olds, and they don't even have a notion of their own sexuality."

One Washington Post reader, Kerrington Hill McCoy, took a step further, writing a letter mentioning her "total disbelief to find school supplies for sale carrying the image of Britney Spears, scantily dressed, curvaceously posed, hair windblown, complete with pooched lips and flirtatious eyes. Let's call it what it is — soft porn."

Spears objects.

Asked recently about parents' concern over her being a role model to young girls, she made the distinction between her performance life and real life.

"It's a fantasy world that I'm doing," she said. "I don't go to the store in a red cat suit."

She also said she doesn't think the responsibility is hers.

"It's up to the parents to explain that to their children.

"I really don't like to be considered a role model." She wants to "be me, and hopefully people will like that."