Description and Background Information
Britney Spears is a famous pop star. She was extremely famous during the twenty first century (Smith 3). Born on the second day of December in 1981, she grew up in Kentwood, Louisiana. She is the second born daughter of James and Lynne Spears. She has two more siblings, an older brother and a younger one. Her passion for entertaining began when she was a young child. Her first major debut occurred when she was eleven years old when Britney became a part of the renowned Mickey Mouse Club (Erlewine 24). After she was done with this, she began her career in music which was a success from the beginning. She also played other roles in movies further winning her more awards.
As much admiration that follows her, controversy has been a part of Britney’s life choices. She is said to have psychological problems. Her personality, actions and even personal life has always been the subject of intrigue. As such, she has as many foes as admirers. Her childhood was simple as she grew up in an exceedingly small rural town. However, she was always performing for her family and relatives at home (Heard 24). This was especially due to her mother’s efforts. During this time, her personality can be described as headstrong, bubbly and blissful. She was admired by many young women because she seemed to have it all; success, fame, riches and generally a life described ostensibly as awesome.
Britney Spears problems became highlighted with the spread of her fame. She transformed from a bubbly and jovial personality, to a completely different person. She became the ‘mad subject’ of both the entire world and professional psychologists. Initially, she acted as a bad girl. She would go without her underwear, take nude pictures and post them on the internet, party a lot and also abuse a number of unnamed substances (Smith 33; Spears and Cracker). Britney also went ahead discussing her sex life and virginity issues to the public. She also had a few drug related accidents that put her in the limelight. Through it all, she managed to get married and even had children. Even though these actions raised a few eye brows, she still had admirers’ worldwide.
Britney’s psychological problems seem to have become severe in the year two thousand and seven. She dated several men including another musician, Justin Timberlake. Her first marriage had ended after two days. In that year, she and her then husband got divorced, and her life seemed to take another turn. In uncountable incidences, she could not hide her anger, and her actions were always regrettable. In the same year, she almost smashed the car of a paparazzi using a base ball, she drove in an erratic and dangerous manner, she increased her night time partying and she shaved her head bald. Her dressing also transformed, she was seen wearing fashion that was then described as weird. For example, she wore rumpled jean shorts. In several occasions, she forgot to buckle up her children while driving.
As a result of all these activities, she had problems with the authorities among other people. She basically transformed from an iconic feminine figure to one of controversy. This transformation was from a staunch Christian girl, a celebrated pop star, a wife and mother then to a Hollywood divorcee and certifiable mental health patient (Grohol web). All her aspects, behaviors and personalities are necessary in the theoretical and psychoanalytic study of Britney Spears.
Psychoanalytic Study of Britney Spears
Although Freud psychoanalytic psychology failed to explain the formation of personality on adulthood, it can be used to analyze Britney Spears life. This is because it gives an insight into the brain of the subject, how she thinks and why she acts the way she does. The approach of Freud from a child hood perspective gives an even deeper understanding into an individual (Friedman and Schustack 85). It is the only means of psychological analysis that allows for an interesting and colorful creation of a personality like that owned by Britney Spears.
Freud postulations state that the mind is a constituent of three distinct entities: the id, superego and the ego. These three entities are the determinants of a person’s behavior, and they make them who they are. Each of them operates under specific principles. According to Freud, the id operates under the principle of pleasure (Voronka 323; Friedman and Schustack 74). It is the source of all the natural drives found in human desires. The superego is also known as the moral part of the brain. This part of the mind is enshrined on forces emphasizing societal norms. On the other hand, the ego is the balancing force. It causes a balance between the id and the superego. It allows an individual to satisfy their desires in a manner that is socially acceptable. Apparently, every individual’s mind is consisted of these three entities. They have to be balanced for the individual to be described as mentally healthy.
The actions of Britney Spears depict her as selfish and inconsiderate of others. She seems to operate under the principles of her id, deriving pleasure without caring what others think. One such instance is when she drives erratically, in the direction of oncoming cars (Erlewine 124). She also depicts instances of impulsive behaviors to further prove this assertion. For example; she married Jason Alexander in January 2004. This action was done in a spur of the moment during a short trip to Las Vegas. Within a spur of about two days, the marriage was annulled. Using Freud’s theory, Ms. Spears can be described as having an overly strong id. Of course, the decision to marry Jason Alexander was questioned by critics to the extent of analyzing her mental status at the time (Marikar web).
This impetuous behavior did not end at that point. In fact, that seemed to be just but a beginning. Her actions further summaries her personality as being controlled by the pleasure principle of the id. In the year 2005, she married Kevin Federline after an extremely short engagement and in an impromptu wedding. This got the media, family, friends, critics and fans by surprise (Grohol web). Despite the many prophets of doom, she seemed to have settled down for a while.
A few months down the line, her impulsive behavior seemed to have taken an entirely different turn. It got worse as it even involved the authorities. In fact, she was arrested severally (Smith 179). This time has been referred to one of meltdown as both her career and life. This was the time she got divorced, and there was a continuous custody court case. However, she never seemed to care as she missed several court hearings, attacked several paparazzi and even flashed her private parts to them. These are definitely not the actions of any sane person. She seemed to cloud her pain by acting out, seeking attention just like the id behaves. Only her desires and wants seemed to control her behavior at this point. She was oblivious to any moral standards at this point in her life (Anderson 295). She never cared about the welfare of any other person but herself. This was also evident through her poor parenting skills. She left them unattended for long periods of time and neglected them even when they were in a car (Smith 120). All these depict that Britney had decided to ignore any moral expectations. She also operated on what she wanted regardless of whether they would harm another person or not.
In his analysis of the constituents of the mind, Freud also tackled defense mechanisms. According to Freud, defense mechanisms are actions that are meant to distort or change reality (Friedman and Schustack 172; Erlewine 105). All this is in a bid to protect the individual acting out. They are meant to relieve anxiety and stress. Freud specifies that these actions can range from aggression, explanations even for the simplest things and even being quiet. Britney has depicted several instances of aggression, escapism, regression and anger. A typical paragon is when she tried to smash the windscreen of the car belonging to paparazzi. This can be described as regressive behavior as Britney had reverted to child like behavior. Many attribute this to her curtailed childhood.
Divorce is obviously a painful period for any one. It is, therefore, not surprising that Britney’s behavior deteriorated after she filed for divorce in the year 2006. Basically, Britney began behaving like a teenager. She neglected her children totally, leaving them under the full care of the nannies. She started drinking religiously, returning home at the wee hours of the morning with a drunken stupor. For most people, drinking is meant to help one forget their problems, and this is probably why Britney Spears took to it. Ideally, such a situation can be described as escapism which is tantamount to a defense mechanism.
The Freudian psychoanalysis can also be used to decipher Britney Spears childhood from her actions. Freud describes various stages of development, which are characterized by certain behaviors. Fixation at one stage is likely to cause one to be incapable of going to the next stage (Anderson 299; Kitchens web). Freud also gives an outline of how fixation is characterized giving a further understanding into the incomplete stage. Britney’s actions describe her as one who is fixated at the oral stage.
The oral stage is one where a child obtains pleasure by putting things in the mouth. Freud stated that a child, who is breastfed properly, surpasses this stage without any problem. However, if this stage is not successfully completed, the individual will still obtain pleasure by putting things in the mouth. One of the drugs abused by Britney Spears is tobacco. Britney has been a cigarette smoker for years, a behavior she took while she was still a teenager. She also admitted to biting her fingernails (Heard 137; Marikar web; Smith 193). Both are behaviors depicting fixation at the oral stage. Using the principles of Freudian psychology, Britney probably may have had a difficult time giving up beast feeding. This could be the leading cause to these behaviors.
Freud further explained that people fixated at the oral stage are likely to have issues with dependency (Friedman and Schustack 201). This is one of the characteristics depicted through the actions of Britney Spears. Britney would do anything to get attention; she craves that attachment and attention so much that she would go to any extent to obtain it. Typical examples are where she rushed into relationships that ended up in broken marriages, she flashes her private parts to the public, and she even does horrendous things like shaving her hair to obtain attention. Analyzing the behavior of Britney leads one to the conclusion that there are no inconsistencies in Sigmund Freud Theory of Psychoanalysis.
Theoretical Perspective of Britney Spears
Through her actions, it is possible to say that Britney is struggling between two personalities. Initially, she exhibited the characteristic of an unstable introvert. In the year 2002, she managed to break up with another star; Justin Timberlake. Apparently, she expected to succeed in her movie. However, when this did not happen, she turned into an anxious person. She embarked on binge drinking and even married her childhood sweetheart in a rush wedding. These are characteristics of an emotionally stable extrovert (Freidman and Schustack 250; Anderson 301). Such a display depicts a carefree and sociable attitude.
The personality traits of Britney Spears have not escaped the scrutiny of many psychologists. As described in Friedman and Schustack, her personality can also be described as being affected by birth order (Friedman and Schustack 239). This was suggested by a psychologist known as Adler in the year nineteen twenty five. In an occasional interview, Britney described the relationship with her older brother as good. In fact, she said that he kept her out of trouble (Marikar web; Smith 182). It seems that she looked up to him like any younger sibling would do to an older one. From another perspective, it seemed that she was competing with him for attention from their parents. She probably did not get any attention from home prompting her to seek for it from the public. According to Adler, a second child struggles to identify their role in the family. In the process, they may end up behaving in a rebellious way. This was characteristic of the personality of Britney Spears.
Britney’s childhood is described as one where she was strictly curtailed. Even her initial performances were mostly initiated by her mother. At one time, Britney explained that her mother was the one who got people around for her to perform for. This shows that she had a restricted childhood. Consequently, she found it hard to develop her own character. She has been spending all her life searching for it. She even did outrageous things like dying weird colors on her hair in this quest (Kitchens n.p.). As Kitchens suggests, bolder colors are seen as light and sexier. Probably Britney was trying to pass as a sexy person.
Britney Spears seems to have failed in all her relationships. This according to most psychologists suggests that she had a childhood with attachment problems (Voronka 330). A lack of secure attachments in childhood makes one incapable of securing their own relationships. The fact that Britney did not grow up with her parents compounds to this explanation (Spears and Cracker 174). Consequently, she was incapable of holding on to her marriages and relationships. Her career was dealt the same fate.
Critical Opinion and Summary
Britney Spears is obviously one of the most celebrated pop artists. She also remains to be one of the best selling and the most awarded celebrity of her time. Whenever she goes, there is always the media, striving to find out what she did and where. As such, she is sometimes ostensibly stated as a bad girl. She managed to conquer a lot of hurdles in her childhood to attain the success and fame. However, controversy seems to be one of her major problems. Britney has had several transformations that remain to be the subject of most psychologists and critics, as well. Freud’s psychoanalysis can be used to explain the various reasons behind why Britney behaved the way she did. Similarly, her personality can be explained by her childhood and its experiences.
Media has always chosen to portray people in a certain manner. The media has used their influence to either destroy or build the popularity of a celebrity. In this case, the media has managed to portray Britney Spears as a mentally disturbed individual. However, her success outdoes the negative publicity. She is not just an innocuous post-Barbie doll, but she remains to be an ideological tool. She is creative, spontaneous and even intelligent. This is probably why she managed to sell millions of her album. Her songs remain popular even to date.
The media has also managed to portray all the negative aspects of Britney spears. Apparently, she is a significant contributor to the manipulation, corruption and trivialization of culture. She broke all the rules of pop culture by not using the media to popularize her songs. In fact, she managed to sell all the songs in an album, something that is not common. Studying her from this perspective, probably after she gains all the much needed help, she will bounce back to being a bigger star than she was. However, there is a need for the media to stay away from her life if she is to get better. This will reduce the attention she is getting paving way for healing and recovery.
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