The only other female I know who is likely to sleep with Britney close to her heart is my 8-year-old niece, Annelise. I gotta admit, though, that the older Madonna gets, the more she grows on me. What other aging blond sex goddess would gush about her successor? But Madonna brushes off the chance to envy all those younger and blonder than herself: "Oh, they'll get old and wrinkled and die, too," she laughs.
If I had to judge, I'd certainly agree Britney is an improvement on the old Madonna model of sex goddesshood. A sex goddess should not simulate masturbation on stage, appear stark naked on highways, or troll the streets of New York looking for one-night stands. She shouldn't have to. Madonna was a parody of sex goddesshood, all cynical irony and adolescent rebellion. Britney, who combines public avowals of virginity with spangly erotic costuming, appears to understand that for a sex goddess, inspiring desire is quite enough. With that much promise, who needs to deliver?
That, I think, is the secret of her wild appeal to the young teen girl set, simultaneously oversexualized and underprotected, who see in her an icon of a glam female who doesn't have to put out to command attention. She did not, however, make the Jane magazine list for the Gutsiest Women of the Year. Who did, you ask?
Why, Paula Jones, of course. For standing up to the president and pursuing a sexual harassment claim? No, silly, for baring her breasts to the world in Penthouse. "Is it admirable that she flashed the nation? Depends who you ask. But is it gutsy? Absolutely," Jane says.
Jane magazine, you may be interested to know, is considered by Third Wave younger feminists to be the closest thing to a mainstream feminist magazine for young women now published. (I'm not making this up). Designer Betsey Johnson wins kudos for replacing reed-thin models with more voluptuous women.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.