Music

We Need To Talk About Britney Spears’ Weird And Wonderful Instagram Presence

In the shallow waters of Insta-fame, Britney's feed is as real as it gets.

It takes time for most of us to become who we’re meant to be. Vera Wang famously designed her first dress at 40. The late Sharon Jones recorded her first album around the same age, after working odd jobs all her life. Samuel L. Jackson’s first college major was in marine biology.

And at the age of 30, Britney Spears got Instagram.

No one could argue that Britney’s pre-‘gram life was spent in obscurity. Since she hit the pop scene with ‘Baby… One More Time’, Britney has been squarely in the public eye. Post-breakdown guest appearance on How I Met Your Mother notwithstanding, ‘Britney’ remains a byword for hyper-fame.

Britney’s star rose well before the internet blossomed into the many-tubed shit-pipe we all know and love today. Back then fame mainly involved looking hot, being nice, and when the situation called for it, going berserk with an umbrella on the paparazzi.

When it comes to fame, Britney’s particular brand still has a natural, old-school flavour to it, like smoking in the 50s or capitalism in the 80s.

In Britney’s world, fame isn’t an evil, it just is. It is the background condition to her life. And so she’s opened up the process of pop manufacture in a way that’s bizarrely authentic. Before Jennifer Lawrence turned the concept of relatable celebrity into a competitive sport, there was Britney Spears.

Britney’s feed is unique. Unlike Taylor Swift, whose account is bulked out by endorsements, shout outs to her ‘girl squad’ and vague feminist statements thinly sheafed with corporate greed, Britney’s Insta is as far from pretension as you can get. In the shallow waters of Insta-fame, it’s easy to see Britney’s feed as a glimmer of the real.

Don’t believe me?

What’s better than sweats and a tshirt? 😊

A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on

You’re looking into the weed-smudged eyes of a person who has been on the Forbes List since she was 20. And she does not give a shit.

So here it is: the inside of Britney’s mind, as expressed through her baffling Instagram account.

She’s So Lucky, She’s A Star

Instagram is a powerful communicative tool, and Britney’s is no different.

In February, Katy Perry poked fun at Britney’s mental health issues (so much for ‘purposeful pop’), which culminated in a highly-publicised 2007 head-shaving incident, drawing this solid, Biblical burn from Britz’ gram the following day:

Her mouth speaks from that which fills her heart ❤️ Luke 6:45

A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on

It’s true that Britney’s been through plenty of rough times. These days, Britney gets her revenge on everyone who ever wronged her — every scathing article that made light of her relationship troubles, or mocked her mothering skills — by doing what she does best: looking hot in an out-of-context bikini.

Training keeps me motivated and inspired… but I’d rather be dancing 😉💃

A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on

My Loneliness Is Killing Me

It’s not all post-award show trips to Burger King and tracksuits as formal wear for Britney anymore. She’s the mom of two boys, Sean Preston and Jayden James. With her Vegas residency recently announced to wrap up in December, Britney will have plenty of time to spend with them, and oh, I don’t know, endlessly trawl other celebrities’ social media accounts.

Like this photo of Cameron Diaz’s tomato vine, reposted a reported 42 weeks after the original post.

If you need proof that Britney’s account is her own work, rather than that of her publicist, look no further than her seemingly random reposts.

Cam’s tomatoes, a dog in a teacup, a floating horse, a pink house covered in roses, fantasy internet artwork, a Hello Kitty burger meal — none of these are the tools of a star-maker.

So cute!! Wish this was my lunch today 💛💜💙

A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on

Despite having 16 million followers, Britney follows just 84 accounts. Among them: Neil Patrick Harris, Rihanna, The Backstreet Boys, DJ Pauly D, Planet Hollywood and Delta Goodrem (who, if you didn’t know, is according to her Insta bio a ‘Child of the Universe’). She follows Britney too. Maybe for the fantasy art.

It’s a zoo out there 🦌 Art by #MahmoudFarshchian

A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on

Till The World Ends

There’s very little engagement with politics of any kind in Britney’s world.

Early on in the 2016 presidential campaign, she snapped a selfie with Hilary Clinton, but later removed the telling #ImWithHer hashtag from the post. Apparently she wasn’t aware of the political symbolism. Perhaps she just intended it as a location-based fact.

When election day rolled around, Britney was silent on social media for almost a week. Make of that what you will.

What’s Practical Is Logical, What The Hell Who Cares?

And then there’s the stuff that barely makes sense. Suffice to joyously skirt the edges of human consciousness.

Absolutely lovely 🌸

A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on

Love dolphins…they’re so beautiful and fascinating. I read that dolphins have signature whistles 💕🐬 #Repost @brianskerry with @repostapp ・・・ Photo by @BrianSkerry. A Bottlenose Dolphin swims with Spotted Dolphins in The Bahamas. After humans, dolphins have the largest brains in the animal kingdom, relative to body size. Despite this fact, their world is very different than our own and the ways in which they use their brain is fascinating. Dolphins see much of their world acoustically, using echolocation (i.e. sonar) to determine the location of objects and distances. Dolphins also sleep with one half of their brains awake, as they need to be constantly alert for predators and because they are voluntary breathers.

A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on

Just doing my own runway show 🌺🌺🌺

A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on

With her ninth studio album, Glory, signalling a return to the busty, fuzzy club beats that made her one of pop’s most enduring icons, Britney’s Insta surely shows a someone finding genuine peace within themselves. Even inside the unending storm of never-stale celebrity.

Spinning for the haters… Who says you have to grow up 💛💛💛

A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on

Britney, you’ve found your truth, and it’s beautiful.


Claire Capel-Stanley is a Melbourne-based writer. She has written on art, culture and other things for various publications including The Canberra Times, The Sydney Morning Herald and Art Monthly Australia. She tweets @capelstanley and blogs infrequently at capelstanley.com