Ah, the '90s. It was a simpler time, in which the fashion was cringe-worthy in a way that wasn't (always) as brightly colored as the '80s and no one had an iPhone. It was also the decade that birthed the career of Britney Spears, the enduring pop star whose teenage beginnings made an entire generation of us dream of becoming that famous so young. However, it wasn't just her music that inspired us during that time. After all, there are still lyrics Spears sang that people mishear even to this day. She was an icon in her life, as well, not to mention an inspiration to us all. Whether or not that still holds true in 2015 is a matter of debate, but I, for one, am a lifelong Spears fan.
But back to the '90s. It was a simpler time, and the Spears of that era was a simpler Spears. Those of us who have been following her career since the beginning remember a lot of lessons that she taught us before she went from being controversial in the good way to being controversial in the bad way (and then back to being the good kind of controversial). Below are nine things that fans of '90s Britney understand, either because they lived it or because they know someone who lived it.
1. Britney Beats Christina
Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera debuted on the pop music scene around the same time, and, let's be real, Spears was the true star of the era. However, at the time, it was a genuine question whether someone would be playing "Baby One More Time" or "Genie In A Bottle" in the car. I know, I know. I can't believe it either.
2. *NSYNC Beats Backstreet Boys
True fans of the '90s Britney know that *NSYNC was better than the Backstreet Boys. Sure, Spears and Justin Timberlake would not go public with their relationship until the early '00s, but clearly we '90s fans were psychic. And had superior taste in boy bands.
3. It's Not True Love Without Matching Denim Outfits
Is there anything more memorable about Spears and Timberlake's relationship than the time the two of them went out in public in those matching denim outfits? How many of us went through a denim phase around that same time, a phase that was only dampened by not being able to convince our middle school boyfriends to dress to match us at the dance?
4. It's Perfectly Normal To Daydream Dance Videos
Spears revolutionized the face of in-school daydreaming. Now instead of imagining being president, or what being married to Timberlake would be like, we could daydream ourselves as the star of our own "Baby One More Time"-esque music video. Children watched the clock like never before after '90s Britney hit the scene.
5. You're Permanently Confused About Catholic School Girls
We also have '90s Britney to thank for a lifetime of being very, very confused as to what a Catholic schoolgirl's uniform actually looks like. There are still people who are confused as to what a Catholic schoolgirl's uniform actually looks like. You basically have to go to Catholic school yourself to call to mind something other than Spears' video.
6. Moral Guardians Are Alarmed By Your Belly Button
Remember all those times Spears gave the moral guardians a heart attack by looking all sweet and innocent while dressing in midriff baring outfits that were "provocative" and "sexual?" Remember when this was seen as a groundbreaking thing for a teenager to be doing in our '90s world of grunge layer upon grunge layer? Good times, good times.
7. Britney Mirrored Our Teenage Years
Whether we say it aloud or not, Spears basically got us through puberty. She helped us bridge the disconnect between being innocent children and being "provocative" adults — through her music, through her videos, and through her refusal to apologize for appearing barely-dressed on a magazine cover if she wants to. Praise.
8. Titanic Is The Greatest Movie Of All Time
Yeah, yeah, yeah, that '97 James Cameron movie made a lot of money — but was it ever as relevant as when Spears referenced it in her 2000 music video for "Oops! ...I Did It Again?" I think we were all over Titanic by the time "Oops! ...I Did It Again" came out and brought it back in style.
9. Britney Can Do No Wrong
No matter what Spears did, whether it was wear a sexy outfit or appear in Crossroads, she could do no wrong in the eyes of her fans. It would be almost half a decade before we ever knew the name Kevin Federline.
Image: Rebloggy (9); YouTube