“I’m Just a Louisiana Girl”: The Southern World of Britney Spears

Vol. 7, No. 4: Winter 2001

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“I’m Just a Louisiana Girl”: The Southern World of Britney Spears

by Gavin James Campbell
Southern Cultures, Vol. 7, No. 4: Winter 2001

"The controversial stage outfits, she reassured us, ' were the kind of clothes we used to wear in Kentwood. It can be scorching during the summer, so the barer the better!'"

Right now Britney Spears is the most popular southerner in the world. She has enjoyed chart success like almost no other artist from this most fertile of musical regions: her first album went twelve times platinum, and her second release sold 1.3 million copies during its first week. By now it’s gone nine times platinum, and it stayed on the Billboard charts for more than forty weeks. The Louisiana native has appeared in concerts from England to Japan; her second album topped the charts in the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, Greece, Belgium, Sweden, and Norway; and her face has charmed us at grocery story check-outs on the covers of Elle, Cosmopolitan, People and Teen People, YM, Glamour, Forbes, GQ, TV Guide, Us Weekly, Rolling Stone, Allure, and innumerable teen magazines. She appeared in the 2001 Super Bowl halftime show, cohosted the 2001 American Music Awards, had her own television special from Hawaii, and last year made over $200 million. According to one survey of the Web’s most used portals, her name was typed in more than 133 million times, making her the most searched-for celebrity on the Internet. Whether we like her music or not, any figure who can inspire criticism spanning from semi-literate rages, like “brtiney is a fat ugly puke!” to high-toned discourse, like “feminist and Lacanian theory allows us to see [Britney’s] entrance into the Symbolic and the problems thereof,” demands our attention. There’s no escaping this daughter of Dixie.