Hot Heroine: Britney Spears
Who reigns as the pop godmother of our times? It's Britney, bitch. She hasn't scored a real hit in years, but her staying power is bizarrely unstoppable – millennials idolize her, and she's spent the past few years holding court at her Vegas show, where everyone from Beyoncé to Jay-Z on down has come to kiss the ring. We can feel Britney's pain more than ever, because she helped invent the anxieties and tribulations of modern life. Back when social media barely existed in the mid-2000s, Britney epitomized all the ways it would become so (pardon the expression) toxic. She got slimed on every level, suffering through slut-shaming, body-shaming, "y'all"-shaming, mom-shaming, the works. Now that we're all giving ourselves the paparazzi treatment with our phones – because putting your traumas out there is a part of "building your brand" – her problems have turned into our problems. At a time when our nation is in the depths of its full-blown Blackout meltdown – America in 2017 is less sane and stable than Britney in 2007 – we turn our lonely eyes to her. Because if our girl could dance out of the wreckage, there's hope for us all. R.S.