Reports that Britney Spears is looking for a body double have sent the world of celebrity journalism into meltdown, as publications fall over each other to be first to publish the star's "exact measurements".
But, like a rabbit caught in the bright headlights of Hollywood, the media has failed to see the bigger picture and laid the blame of this deception exclusively at Britney's feet. In a move that is both bitchy and extremely short-sighted.
As well all know, Britney isn't the first celebrity to hire a body double (if reports are true, of course) and she certainly won't be the last. But scraping around for past evidence of photoshopped music videos or magazine covers singles her out unfairly - in a way a man would never be - as if she is the sole offender.
Britney in that 'Toxic' video
The weekend scramble to print the star's weight, dress size and bust measurements shows how the female celebrity body has become the world's property - an open platform for us to criticise and admire, like cannon-fodder for our own body image anxieties.
I'm pretty sure that if the well-manicured fingers of women's media weren't pointing the blame at the star, they'd be clutching marker pens to circle the slightest hint of cellulite on a supermodel's thigh or, ironically, applauding with a patronising "you go girl" when anyone larger than a size 12 walks up the red carpet with confidence.
Because, in case anyone missed the memo, we live in a society that values women's looks above all else.
But Britney didn't set the status quo, she is an entertainment commodity who is victim to increasingly rigid standards of beauty - like the rest of us.
The entertainment industry has a one-size-should-fit-all attitude to Britney and her counterparts, which chews up young women and spits them out once they've hit their Hollywood sell-by date.
So is the 31-year-old mother-of-two to blame for playing the game? No. The responsibility for changing attitudes to body image does not lay solely at her feet - it lays at everyone else's feet.
The truth is, that we're all guilty of the same image building, except somehow it's more satisfying to tear down a celebrity. Have you ever posted an 'ugly' picture of yourself on Instagram or Facebook? If the answer is yes, then you may be excused. But if the answer is no, then let's give Britney a break - trying to create an image of something we're not or would like to be isn't phony - it's sort of just... human.
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