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The Lolita Complex

Written by Amrita Nambiar

( photo Courtesy ) James Mason and Sue Lyon in Lolita Photograph: Allstar/MGM

If  you’ve  been  on  social  media  the  past  month,  you  are  bound  to  have  come  across  the  Britney  Spears  documentary  ‘Framing  Britney  Spears’.  This  new  addition  to  the  Netflix  catalogue  has  attracted  many  formal  apologies  -  from  bloggers such as Perez Hilton, ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake, to magazine giant  Glamour. Apart  from  voicing  their guilt, many  have  opened  up  to  share  similar  experiences such as the media scrutiny over a pregnant Kim Kardashian, young  Matilda-star Mara Wilson, and Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman.
Britney Spears is an incredibly successful musician who has built a loyal fan-base  following numerous hits over the past 2 decades. As a  fresh-faced, innocent yet  lively  17  year  old  when  she  starred  in  her  first  music  video,  the  criticism  she  drew  was  enormous.  Many  thought  her  schoolgirl  outfit  was  suggestive  and  attention-seeking.  In  subsequent  interviews,  Britneys  sex-life  tended  to  be  the  main  focus,  specifically  centred  around  her  virginity.  There  have  also  been  numerous  reports  about  how  she  was  forced  to  sing in  a  higher-pitched,  baby  voice  to  set  her  apart  from  other  upcoming  artists  such  as  Christina  Aguilera,  leading many to conclude that Britneys whole career has been a selling point  for  her label rather than a platform for her to truly be herself.  
The  intense  media  attention  snowballed  into  Britneys  infamous  breakdown  in  2007. From 2008 onwards, her father was granted many rights over Britneys life  due to concerns regarding her mental and emotional stability. Unfortunately, her  father  took  advantage  of  this  situation  and  imposed  numerous  restrictions  on  the  recovering  singer,  rendering  her  completely  unable  to  control  her  own life  and choices. This once again sparked an outcry on social media, and the hashtag  #freebritney began trending on Twitter.  
The  release  of  this  documentary  resurfaced  the  whole  controversy  over  why  young  stars,  specifically  female  actors  or  singers  are  subjected  to  such  an  intense, invasive and sexualising scrutiny from the media. One explanation is the  Lolita  complex,  where  older  men  are  paired  with  younger,  often  underage  women,  a  concept  that  was  glamourised  specifically  in  the  movie  Lolita.  The  secularisation  of  these  young  women,  who  were  paired  on-screen  with  much  older men was the central theme in many movies. This predatory or pedophilloic  representation has almost had the role of granting permission for this to extend  beyond the confines of a movie script, seeping into interviews, articles, and the  overall media portrayal of these young actors. Mara Wilson, who is most notably  known  for playing the genius book-form in Roald Dahls Matilda, has voiced her  story  on  how  interviews  seemed  to  pay  too  much  attention  to  her  dating  life,  even when she was as young as 6!  
In the end, it’s an utter shame that it was Britneys documentary that prompted  such  a  realisation  over  how  she,  and  many  other  females  celebrities  were 
mistreated  by  the  media  and  public.  In  the  era  of  #MeToo,  it  does  make  the  backlash  louder  and  more  demanding,  yet  this  deep-rooted  mentality  of  sexualising  female  stars,  specifically,  and  the  general  nosiness  of  the  paparazzi  into personal affairs of the famous, is seriously out-dated and plain pathetic.