The song is a prime example of an up-beat
pop song with the fast paced editing tying in
well with the beat.This fits in with the generic
conventions of this kind of genre and video.
As the genre is a pop video a lot of the camera shots focused on the dance
routines.The dance routines are very simple except from the scene where Britney
is acting out as if she is escaping from laser beams.The target audience of young
girls and early teenagers would expect some kind of dancing in Britney’s videos
so this emphasis on movement is there to meet the needs of the fans. Regarding
this target audience we still see Britney wanting to express her sexuality, she
regularly ‘bumps and grinds’ with older men in this video and the perfect red nails
and near nude outfit that she wears for the ‘performativity’ aspect of the video
are indications of a more mature nature.
The costumes of typical of a young female star, Britney is not
known for her singing voice, and relies on sex appeal and
body movement to remain in the public eye. Britney is
placed into many different outfits this conforms to the male
gaze theory.The mixture of blonde, black and red hair gives
the video variety and makes sure the viewer does not get
Britney Spears’ usual theme for her videos is
one of freedom and escape and this is the
same here.The opening shot of a plane and
two birds are symbolic of Britney’s desire to
be free from the image she has created.
The opening shot of a plane and two birds are symbolic of
Britney’s desire to be free from the image she has created.
Britney’s career was launched with Disney that Britney appears in
appear to mirror her desire to escape; either through costumes
and design or just the basic desire to be an individual. .The
different disguises that Britney wears; the props of a motorbike
and plane all give the sense that Britney wants to escape her
manufactured image.The audience young adults, especially
teenagers, also want to escape from school or like to play ‘dress
up’ so Britney’s mise en scene of escape is one shared with her
target audience.This desire to escape is taken to the extreme in
the video for ‘Every time’ where Britney attempts suicide; again a
very public cry for help which foreshadows the breakdown which
came a few years later.
Britney is the main focus of the video, the easily fits the
codes and conventions as she is the artist so all the focus
should be on her as it is her song. Any long shots that are
used are usually shown to illustrate some kind of triumph for
the star. Long shots are also used to show her dancing skills.
Any other performers in the video (the other air hostesses
for example) are kept to a minimum and in the background,
so the viewer can clearly see the artist that is being
Editing mirrors the fast beat of the song so
that the style is rapid and consistent. Most
music videos that are pop in variety employ
this technique andToxic is very conventional
in this manner. For an interesting comparison
view the video for ‘which is a lot different
because of the nature of the speed of the
The HollyValence video for ‘Kiss Kiss’ could be an inspiration
for the near nude suit that Britney wears for the dance
elements of the song.
TheTV programmeAlias was very popular in 2003. It stars a
young woman who is an international spy and likes to dress
up in different disguises to fulfil her job.The cover of the first
season DVD has a look that is very similar to the ‘red haired’
Britney that is in the video and this could be an influence.
There are performativity elements to the piece so that Britney can
display her skills as a dancer (one of her main selling points) where as the
main narrative of a female spy who will go to any lengths (using her
sexuality for instance) to reach the object of the quest marks Britney’s
own desire to escape the confines of the music industry.This ‘dressing
up’ element of the video is also shared by her target audience who after
four years of watching Britney grow older and more mature are eager to
do the same.The close up and lip synching of the main star is also the
main performance of the video as well; again very common in pop videos
as well as rock videos as well.
Britney’s selling points are the way she looks,
connection to young people and her ‘hidden’
desire to escape (a trait which she shares with
her target audience)The videoToxic clearly
demonstrates all of these points about the
persona of Britney.
The video obviously conforms to the male gaze of
Mulvey’s teaching. Britney is sexualised as an object
to be looked at and appraised.The fact she wears a
near nude suit and the camera focuses on her legs
and bum at the start of the video highlight pop
music’s desire to sell sexuality to a young audience.
What complicates this though is the fact that
Britney controls the narrative completely.
She is definitely not passive in the traditional sense
and in many ways she manipulates men for her own
desires. She is the one who is a superhero and the
wink at the end is the proof needed for this
complication. Is it a wink to suggest sexuality? Is it a
wink to suggest power and control?The answer lies
within the reader because as we know different
audiences will read the video in different ways.