Everybody knows the story about Clark Gable and undershirts. In 1934, he appeared shirtless in It Happened One Night and, according to legend, the men of America stopped buying undershirts, opting to go commando like Clark. And don’t forget JFK and hats — when he showed up for his inauguration sans chapeau, he killed off the hat industry, leading to his assassination in 1963 by hit men from the Borsalino family.
Which brings us to Britney.
This is a pivotal moment in world culture. Britney’s triumph over underwearism is a new paradigm, and we can only guess what the repercussions will be. Britney only started showing her vagina a little while ago, but already, more people have seen Britney’s vagina than any vagina in the entire history of the cosmos. Of all the times people have uttered the word “vagina” in history, ninety percent of them have referred to Britney. It’s her V-J Day, liberating her loins from the Man, taking her mons veneris to the people, naked and unashamed. Anybody who still doubts Britney is the biggest pop star in history just isn’t thinking vaginally.
Sharing the back seat of a limo with Paris? Wouldn’t that make you not only wear underwear, but double up and spray yourself with Raid? Not Britney. But who didn’t feel a frisson of awe at the sight of Britney, Paris and Lindsay all squeezed into the back seat of the same car? It was like the Yalta Summit of Vagina, with Paris as Stalin, Lindsay as Churchill and Britney as FDR, except instead of dividing up Europe, they’re building a new empire of vaginal consciousness. It’s a feminist appropriation of the classic crotch-flash power move. Jim Morrison never tried anything like this.
Paris and Lindsay deserve credit in the war on underwear, but nobody really cared until Britney got on the front lines. She has made us question underwear itself — yes, even cotton, the fabric of our lives, now seems like a tool of oppression. This is something new. You’ve never seen Madonna’s vagina, have you? No, you haven’t. (Especially if you’re Guy Ritchie — just kidding!) She’s going to have to decorate her vagina with flowers and candy just to lure us back. Maybe vaginas are really the new orphans? When Britney dumped K-Fed and went clubbing with Paris, fans worried Paris would be a shady influence — but it looks like it’s the other way around. Once again, Britney is ahead of the rest of us, showing us the path to the new frontier. You’ve heard the expression “She’s gonna wash that man right out of her hair?” Britney didn’t stop there, did she? It’s a new year, and to paraphrase Bono, 2007 might be a vaginal age, and vagina is the reason for the wars we wage. But as always, Britney is leading the way.