Bette Calls Britney a 'Wild and Woolly Slut'

Spears' Legacy: Keep Your Legs Crossed

Amee Shah, a corporate finance analyst in Washington, D.C., says Spears' crotch shots haven't changed her opinion of the pop star all that much.

"I didn't really like her to start with, and I don't know where she's headed. She started out being a MILF [Mother I'd Like to F---] and now she's this -- it's like, how low can you go?" Shah says.

Though her respect for Spears remains low, Shah says the star's behavior has affirmed her own code of conduct.

"She doesn't have an influence on me. I don't look up to her. But I am going to make sure that my legs are crossed next time I'm wearing a skirt," she says.

Susannah Grossman, who works in marketing for a Philadelphia graphic-design firm, thinks Spears' stunt is to be expected, considering that she's been coddled by managers and image consultants from the start of her career.

"For people to maintain their celebrity without enhancing their skills, they have to rely on this shocking behavior. For someone like Britney Spears, who didn't have an amazing voice to begin with, this is just her latest thing," she says.

Grossman sees Spears' display as a last-ditch attempt to stay a star.

"There's a certain type of person who will do anything when they realize there's a limited amount of time they have left," she says. "This gives another meaning to the term 'overexposed.'"

From Pop Star to Cartoon

According to Marshall, Spears has shattered a crucial tenet of common decency.

"She's broken one of the deepest taboos. We call it private parts for a reason. It's supposed to be private," she says.

Marshall thinks Spears' disregard for common decency is her way of insulting the public.

"In a way, it's a bit of a, 'Screw you.' It's just like flipping someone off. The public may feel like they're being flipped off by Britney," Marshall says.

But Bob Thompson, professor of pop culture at Syracuse University, believes people are getting what they want.

"I think we kind of expect it from her," Thompson says. "We buy gossip and celebrity magazines to see people behaving in ways that are unexpected. I don't think people would be entertained if they logged on to the Internet and instead of seeing Britney without her undies, saw that Britney was starting a crocheting class."

Thompson says Spears is fulfilling her role in America's favorite spectator sport: the ever-evolving drama of celebrity life.

"This is what Britney does. She helps run the whole engine of the celebrity soap opera," he says.

According to celebrity publicist Michael Levine, who has represented Hollywood bigwigs, including Demi Moore and Barbara Streisand, the character Spears plays in that soap opera is turning into a caricature of the girl the public once loved.

"She's becoming very pockmarked. There's a cultural sense that she's drifting quickly into the territory of a white-trash cartoon character," Levine says. "She's not there yet. But as Bob Dylan said, 'It's not dark yet. But it's getting there.'"

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