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Britney Spears Flashes Privates, Gets Press

ByABC News
November 22, 2008, 4:39 PM

Nov. 27, 2006 — -- Not so long ago, when a society woman flashed a hint of leg from beneath her petticoat, onlookers gasped.

Today, when Britney Spears displays her private parts to the paparazzi, the world points and laughs.

Spears is the latest star to give people a glimpse of what's usually covered up, a trend that asks the question: What value, if any, does culture place on modesty today?

On Nov. 22, cameras caught Spears, the recently separated pop star and mother of two, in a leopard-print minidress so short it revealed her underwear.

Two days later, Spears was photographed getting out of a car in a hiked-up miniskirt. This time, her underwear was nowhere to be found.

According to celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, Spears' up-skirt shots are no mistake -- they're a classic cry for attention.

"She wants the picture taken. She wants the publicity. She wants people talking about her," Hilton said of Spears. "That's what people love to see more than anything. Why do you think celebrity sex tapes sell so well?"

The photos, which spread virally across the Internet, gained Spears entry to a club ruled by repeat flashers Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. Cameras have caught Lohan panty-less four times over the last two months.

"You'd think she'd either wear pants or panties, or be more careful about how she exits a car," blogger Hilton said. "Four times. That's no accident. That's deliberate."

The rash of celebrities flashing their nether regions worries Peter Post, director of the Emily Post Institute of etiquette and manners.

"My concern is the impressionability of young people," he said. "I think that some young people are going to say, 'Wow, if Britney Spears and Paris Hilton can do that, I wonder if I can do that.'"

Post points out that even if celebrity flashers are putting themselves in compromising situations on purpose, it's troubling that they have to bare so much to get a little media attention.