• Fri, 5, Mar, 2021 - 5:30:PM

A list of apologies owed

The way the tabloid media treated women in the 2000s is absolutely shocking. While the footage and stories from that era are less than a decade old, they appear as if from another epoch. Apologies are well overdue, and I’m not talking about the notes app kind. I’m talking down-on-your-knees appeals to forgiveness. I’m talking about doing the work. I’m talking about making things right. Janet Jackson needs an apology like that. So does Amy Winehouse, rest her soul. Here are a few others.

Britney Spears. The apologies owed to Britney Spears are innumerable. If one was to go about trying to hear them all (if her attackers ever issued them) they would be listening for around 100 years. When I think of Spears in 2006, 2007, I think of an adult. I was a pre-teen, and anyone older than me, especially someone in their twenties, was ooooold. I realize now that, at 25-years-old, Britney was a baby. Everyone is a baby at 25.

The apologies most owed? Putting aside Justin Timberlake, Perez Hilton, and Diane Sawyer for this unbelievable interview (in which, among other clangers, she informs Spears that the wife of the Governor of Maryland had said “if I had the chance to shoot Britney Spears I think I would”), I think the group that most owes Britney an apology is the paparazzi.

Lindsay Lohan. Lindsay Lohan was an absolute force during the 2000s. Beginning with her duel role in 1998’s Parent Trap, and going on to 2003’s Freaky Friday, 2004’s Mean Girls, 2005’s Herbie Fully Loaded (and plenty more in between) Lohan gave us everything. And yet, by the end of the 2000s, the girl was a joke.

In 2007, seemingly one of the worst years for women in tabloid media, Lohan was a shocking 21 years old. At 21 years old I was tripping over strangers at house parties and passing out in the backseat of my best friend’s car. Lindsay was doing the L.A. version of that (while also carrying the young adult film industry on her back). I can only imagine how much more creative work Lohan could have done had the industry not turned its back on her, had the paparazzi not hounded her, had the media not ridiculed her addictions and destroyed her reputation.

The apology most owed: the one from late-night talk show hosts.

Chris Crocker. Aka the genius behind Leave Britney Alone. In a time when the public was a lot less sympathetic to queer voices (RuPaul’s Drag Race was still two years from debuting, gay marriage was a distant fairy-tale) Crocker put their body on the line in defense of an icon. They were all but crucified for it. One of the first people to ever go viral on the internet, there was no blueprint for that type of attention. Luckily, they’re thriving today.

The apology most owed: the one from YouTube commenters – why so mean?

Young girls. Anyone who was a young girl sometime during the 2000s is owed a massive apology. While the paparazzi were hunting down girls in L.A., the rest of us were consuming the stories they were telling. We were bombarded with images of average-size women and told they were obese. We were bombarded with pictures of women with anorexia and told they were tragic. We were taught that the worst thing a woman could be was fat. We were taught to hate ourselves.

The apology most owed: the one from the magazine editors.


We may never receive these apologies – at least, not the true, down-in-the-mud apologies that we deserve. But we can stop this from happening to another generation. So let’s try our best: let’s stop it here.


  • Women /
  • Feminism /
  • apology /
  • Celebrity /
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