Toxic is a high tempo track dance track which Britney uses to dance to. This
fits with the genre and the beat of the music. Britney also has this fast paced
song to match what may be going on in her head, such as drug thoughts.
The lyrics show that Britney has grown up into an adult by using
sexual references and hints of possible drug use within her lyrics.
Britney was previously part of Disney, and this song shows her
becoming a woman. She was 21 at the time, which is the start of
her adult life and she is showing she is ready for the grown up
world. Britney's fan base would be moving into their teen years
and that they could be possibly experimenting with new things. “I
need a hit” and “Too high, can‟t come down”, quotes from the
song indicate that she has been taking drugs and that the
teenagers that listen may find this appealing as they could be
experimenting with drugs.
As this is a pop song, there is a lot of movement and dancing in the video.
Britney is famous for her dancing so movements such as raising her leg over the
laser trap emphasise her talent and satisfy her fans.
She also uses her dance moves to show off her age and growing up. She
regularly „bumps and grinds‟ on men to show off her sexuality to her fans. She
also shows this through her costumes and her image. The air hostess outfit is
more sexualised (like in her „Baby‟ video and her school uniform) and it also
shows that she has a job, which shows signs of growing up.
As Britney is not famous for her singing voice, she has to rely on her sex appeal
by wearing revealing costumes such as the near naked body suit, show air
hostess dress and the black costume at the end showing of her midriff.
The main theme for her videos, is wanting freedom. The opening shot of 2
birds flying is a symbol to escape and how Britney wants to be free. This relates
to her image that she has now created for herself and this lead to her
breakdown with having to maintain her image.
GENRE/MISE EN SCENE
The camera focuses on sexualising Britney by focussing
on her body such as her legs, bum and midriff.
There are also uses of long shots to show off her
dancing. This is important as it is what she is famous for
and also the genre of the music.
The mid shots of her, have no action in the background
to keep the focus and camera on her and what she is
Rapid editing is used in the video to mirror
the tempo of the music. Toxic shares these
genre conventions with other pop videos to
have fast paced editing with the beat.
The Holly Valence video for „Kiss Kiss‟ could be a possible
inspiration for the near nude suit that Britney wears in the video.
There was also a TV program called „Alias‟, which was very
popular in 2003 about spy's and Britney acts as a spy in her video
when wearing the black costume. Also the change of her
costumes can show dressing up in disguise. The cover of the first
series is similar to the red haired costume that Britney had in the
video. This could be an influence for the Toxic video.
The narrative of Toxic adheres to Steve Archer‟s
definition of a music video. There are elements of
performance so that Britney can show off her dancing
skills (one of her main selling points), but the main story
is about a female spy who will go to any lengths to get
what she desires. Britney does this by using her sexuality
to manipulate men
Lip synching is also a narrative feature as it is commonly
using in pop and also rock videos.
In this video, Britney is selling her body, her dancing and her
desire to escape (something that she may share with her target
audience). She clearly shows this through the use of camera
work such as the long shots of her dancing and the close ups of
her body parts. This is also shown through her revealing
Britney has clearly been sexualised due to the revealing
costumes and camera shots focussing on her body.
Although these tend to represent women as
passive, Britney is the main part of the video and shows
herself as being strong and manipulating men to get
what she wants (she does this using her sexuality). She is
the one who is the superhero and she complicates the
video at the end with a wink that could mean many