Britney Spears acknowledges that her skin-baring, Madonna-smooching ways may not make her the best role model, but she says some of her contemporaries are even worse. ''Why? Why are they mad at me?'' she says to Newsweek, in reference to angry moms like Maryland First Lady Kendal Ehrlich, who recently said in a speech she'd shoot the singer if she could. (She has since apologized for the remark.) ''Why are they not going at Christina [Aguilera]? Have they seen what she has on?'' She says she knows it sounds bratty for her to complain, ''but Beyoncé dresses provocatively. Why don't they say something about her? What is too sexy to them? My family, we walked around the house naked, we really did. By the time I was 13, my dad was like, 'Uh, Britney, it's time to start covering yourself up.' I'm very free like that.''
Still, she says, she's going to tone down the sexuality for a while, even though she has a new album to promote, ''In the Zone,'' and has been appearing on covers of magazines like Esquire wearing very little. ''I did feel kind of weird after those photos,'' she says of the Esquire shoot. ''I learned my lesson and you won't see me like that for a while. I'm kinda over it myself. Not that it's dirty or tacky, but it is really revealing and I wouldn't want my kid, at 21, to be dressing like that.''
She's also avoiding relationships, despite rumors (which she denies) that she's dating a married member of her backup dance troupe. She blames her ex, Justin Timberlake, for his televised revelation that he took her virginity. ''Justin said it on 'Barbara Walters,''' she says. ''The world knew after he frickin' told them all. What am I supposed to say, 'No, I didn't'? Can you say I'm a little bitter with men? Just a little.'' She adds, ''There was a time when I was like, 'OK, I'm over men. They're mean.' For like six months, not a single thing happened. Not like they weren't drawn to me, but there wasn't a single real attraction. I'm like, 'What's happening? I know I'm not a lesbian.''' Still, she tells Newsweek: ''My personal life is no one's business.'' Thanks for clearing that up.