The Crop Top Is Back, and It Demands to Be Seen
In 2003, ABC paid Diane Sawyer actual money to ask a 22 year-old Britney Spears hard-hitting questions like “What happened to your clothes?” The 20/20 anchor’s very special interview began with a close-up shot of Britney performing, but viewers didn’t see her face. Instead, an entire team of adults decided to splice together footage the singer’s bare midriff, framing it as one of the biggest dangers facing America’s youth.
“Ladies and gentleman, the most valuable square inch of real estate in the entertainment universe,” Sawyer says in a voiceover, as the camera pans to a belly button ring.
Sawyer’s condescending line of inquiry looks pretty awful today, especially in light of the recent New York Times documentary detailing the media’s brutal treatment of young women in the early-aughts. And all the fuss made over Spears’ tummy recalls another truly asinine culture war of that era. At the time, to some, the popularity of crop tops and low-rise jeans heralded an apocalypse.