7 times Britney Spears – gay icon, pop vanguard and socialist revolutionary – reset the culture

Britney Spears in a bikini, in a schoolgirl outfit, reading Marx, in a red catsuit and with a snake wrapped around her neck

Britney Spears is many things. The unrivalled princess of pop. A cautionary tabloid tale. A camp icon. Potentially, a raging socialist. A person, simply put, fighting for their freedom.

Since bursting into the gay collective consciousness in 1998 aged 16, all pigtails, vocal fry and arm-ography, the Holy Spearit has cemented herself a peerless icon.

For the generation that has grown up alongside her, Britney is a symbol of defiance and resilience, someone who is literally fighting for her own freedom and yet still finds time to dazzle all of her friends at the LGBT+ community. She’s a totem of strength, a visionary artist, a purveyor of endless bops and incredibly music videos.

Here are seven times Britney Spears reset culture itself.

1. Her ‘…Baby One More Time’ music video. 

From the very beginning, Britney’s hobby was topping the charts.

Her debut single dropped in 1998 and its success was a defiant broadside against the three record labels that rejected her only a year before. Britney was told by one that “there wasn’t going to be another Madonna, another Debbie Gibson, or another Tiffany” anytime soon.

She proved them wrong. “…Baby One More Time” quickly became one of the best-selling singles of all time, and its music video, which sees Britney dressed as a Catholic school girl, has since been counted as one of the most influential in the history of pop music.

2. That time she performed at the 2000 MTV VMAs in a nude sparkly bodysuit. 

Britney Spears performing onstage at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards

Britney Spears performing onstage at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards. (Scott Gries/ImageDirect)

Abs! That’s all.

3. When Britney Spears overcame her fear of snakes for the 2001 MTV VMAs. 

(Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Britney Spears slithered onto the 2001 MTV VMAs stage to perform “I’m a Slave 4 U” surrounded by live animals, draping herself with a python named Banana and dancing with a tiger wrangled by none other than Tiger King‘s Doc Antle.

She actually had an intense fear of snakes, but defiantly wrapped one around her neck for the good of pop and humanity, and afterwards vowed to never pull a stunt like that again.

4.  Her ‘Toxic’ music video.

Language itself fails to grasp the power, the intelligence and the international implications of the music video for “Toxic”, Britney Spears’ generation-defining 2003 bop (that was actually first offered to Kylie Minogue).

5. That moment when she locked lips with Madonna. 

Britney Spears and Madonna kiss at the iconic VMA performance. (Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic)

Britney Spears and Madonna kiss at the iconic VMA performance. (Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic)

At the 2003 MTV VMAs, the queen of pop and the princess of pop came together for a performance that practically invented homosexuality.

The pop royalty trinity was completed by Christina Aguilera, and all three shared not only the stage but even a kiss between them all.

6. Absolutely everything that is ‘Work B***h’.

Yes, that song where Britney exhorts “b***hes” to “get to work”.

The Will.i.am-penned robo-banger has effectively lived rent-free in the minds of club disc jockeys and morning runners for years since its release in 2013.

The music video for “Work B***h” is the most expensive Britney has made to date, tallying $1.2milllion.

7. The time she became a socialist torchbearer.


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The history of all hitherto existing society has been the history of struggling to get tickets to a Britney concert, but philosophy students with Che Guevara posters ironically hanging in their overpriced dorm room had to add the singer’s catalogue to their Marxist reading groups back in March.

When Britney shared onto her colourful, wholesome Instagram a quote penned by writer and artist Mimi Zhu that called for mutual aid, wealth redistribution and a general strike, countless fans dubbed her “Comrade Britney”.

To be fair, so many of her songs are clearly Marxist-Spearsist manifestos, looking back. After all, if a worker wants a “hot body”, a “Bugatti”, a “Maserati”, indeed, they “better work, b***h”.