Britney Spears has finally chosen to speak up for herself against her conservatorship. On April 27th, 2021 Britney’s lawyer Samuel Ingham told the court “ My client (Britney Spears) has requested a hearing in which she can address the court directly.” June 23rd, 2021 is the hearing date for Britney to speak up in court.
If you are unfamiliar with the documentary on Crave “Framing Britney Spears” and the “Free Britney” movement, it is my pleasure to catch you up. The documentary essential explains that Britney has lost all of her freedom, and basically her father has been controlling her life since 2008. At 39, Britney is not a girl and apparently still not yet a woman, her father has deprived her of making any of her own decisions. In 2008 she entered a conservatorship in the last fighting plea in the custody battle to still see her children. A conservatorship is the appointment of a guardian or protector by a judge to manage the financial affairs and daily life of another person. Britney has been under the conservatorship of her father since 2008.
Britney’s one request was “ I don’t want my father to be my conservator”.
The reason the documentary is called “Framing Britney Spears” is because that is exactly what Hollywood and the media did to her. It was much more than a bad reputation, or an ill joke, this price of fame cost Britney her freedom, her family, and her sanity. It is surreal to watch the old footage of the late 90s and early 2000s from this documentary. It truly was a different time, when it was still acceptable to be openly sexist, it was okay to slut-shame, it was okay to put women down…but not men. It was a time where women were supposed to be beautiful but they could not be sexy or else they were considered a “slut” or a “bad role model”. You needed to be the “pretty girl next door”, you had to maintain that image of the “good girl” in Hollywood, because there were only 2 options the “good girl” or “slut”.
The 2003 Diana Sawyer interview was truly one of the most shocking moments in the documentary.
“Do you like your voice?” Diane Sawyer
“ I think my voice is okay, I like the feeling I get when I sing…but I would love to have a voice like Christina or Whitney Houston.” Britney Spears
“What happened to your clothes? What is this about?” Diana Sawyer
“It’s about doing a beautiful picture. I feel comfortable in my own skin, I think it is an okay thing to express yourself! I hate to bring it up…but Kate Hudson is 22 and she is just in sheets…Jennifer Lopez she poses very provocatively sometimes, Christina Aguilera. What’s the big deal when I do it? Come on, I don’t understand.” Britney Spears
Britney portrays herself in the Diane Sawyer interview as composed and polite even though she is being bluntly attacked throughout the entire interview. At one point Diane describes Britney as “getting lit by the fire she burnt herself.” Diane is blatantly attacking Britney for losing her “good girl” image, looking “too sexy”, and being a bad influence and role model for young girls.
Diane’s main argument of Britney’s turn from good girl to bad is solely based on her appearance and outfit choices. There is no scandal about her getting arrested or a drug overdose…no she is deemed a “bad influence” due to her appearance. Diane even defended the governor’s wife Kendel Ehrlic when she said “Really if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears I think I would.”
Diane responds to this death threat as acceptable because Britney is setting a bad example for children and making it difficult to be a parent. Britney responds “ I am
not here to babysit your kids… if the parents don’t like what they see then change the channel. I am not perfect, and it is a huge pressure to be this role model.”
Diane also brings Britney to tears when she picks at the wound of her broken relationship with Justin Timberlake. Diane said to Britney “Justin Timberlake said you broke his heart, what did you do?”.
Remember this was the early 2000s where women had to pretty and thin, they had to be married by 30 or else there was something wrong with them, they were not allowed to date many men without being called promiscuous, if they went to a club with their girlfriends they were labeled as a “party girl”. This was a time that no matter what you did as a female, you could basically never win.
The treatment of men and women at this time could not be more black and white. Interviews would ask Britney while she was dating Justin “if she was a virgin?” whereas interviews would ask Justin “Did you fuck Britney Spears” there was even a magazine headline where Justin was on the cover and the caption read “Hey at least…he got into Britney’s pants!” Justin was praised…and Britney was deemed a “bad role model”.
Shortly after the documentary was out Justin publicly apologized to Britney over Instagram. Although I don’t believe Justin was completely responsible for the media’s narrative of their relationship, he still felt that he could do better.
“I also feel compelled to respond in part, because everyone involved deserves better and most importantly, because this a larger conversation that I wholeheartedly want to be a part of and grow from…The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It’s designed this way. As a man in a privileged position. I have to be vocal about this. Because of my ignorance, I did not recognize it for all that it was while it was happening in my own life but I do not want to ever benefit from others being pulled down ever again.” Justin Timberlake
The documentary commented on how the media portrayed Justin as the “class stud” and Britney as the “class slut”. Recently many celebrities that have watched “Framing Britney Spears” have shared their opinions of how the media played the role of taking down an innocent, talented, young, pretty, girl. Reese Witherspoon recently spoke up about how Hollywood stereotyped her as the “good girl” and girls like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan were considered the “bad girls”.
Reese Witherspoon recalls moments where like Britney she was filmed screaming at cameras/paparazzi, however these moments of frustration with the paparazzi never hurt Reese’s career or reputation like it did for Britney.
“What if the media had decided I was something else? I would be in a totally different position. I want to say it’s my decisions or the career choices I made, but it felt very arbitrary and kind of shitty.” Reese Witherspoon
The media’s unfair ruling of her character, the invasion of privacy, and the constant stalking from the paparazzi are eventually went led Britney into the prison of her conservatorship. The paparazzi stalking her was one thing when she was a single young woman, Britney understood the price of fame. Yet, when she became a mother and it was harming her children it became a whole other story.
Britney was photographed driving with her baby on her lap. This photo went viral and deemed Britney as a “bad mother” and irresponsible parent. The media claimed it was dangerous for the baby to be on Britney’s lap while driving. Britney explained in an interview, she was at a Starbucks drive-through there were about 60 photographers following her, flashing the cameras, and she was scared for her baby. She ran out as soon as possible, and putting her baby on her lap was the fastest way to escape from the paparazzi. The media has now crossed the line giving her the title of “bad mother”.
To make a long story short, this was the early to mid-2000s when social media and smartphones did not really exist yet. The only way the public could get their fill of celebrity gossip was through the tabloids. A good photo of Britney Spears unposed doing something that was considered “taboo” could sell for up to a million dollars. She was stalked, harassed, to the point where she just wanted to give up.
In 2007 she shaved her head, the documentary commented on this pivotal moment as her last straw. “She’s gone, I’m done that person…you destroyed her.” This was not a forgiving time when we were openly discussing mental health. Mental health was still a punch line in a bad joke. Too much money was made on Britney’s
“ Thank you Britney Spears being bad is good for my business.” Perez Hilton
The media has now not only labeled her as “Hollywood’s bad girl”, but she is also an “unfit mother” and “mentally unstable”. We talk about these names we call her, we talk about these titles, but we never talk about the story that got her there. We don’t talk about the reason whys, we just point fingers and make fun. The sad reality is what drove her “mad” was the show she was putting on for the media to always be “happy”.
In the documentary you can see all she is trying to do is to get some privacy from the paparazzi, she just wanted some human decency. After pleading politely to simply just be “left alone” she was left with no choice but to fight back. Unfortunately for Britney, she can not simply “not care what people think of her”. The media’s labels of her as a “bad mother” and “mentally unstable” cost her the custody battle with her children.
The only way for Britney to obtain visitation rights was for her to enter into a conservatorship. It was a deal with the devil, she signed away her freedom in hopes of saving her family. It has been since 2008 that Britney has lost control of her own life. Her father Jamie Spears has full control over Britney’s financial and medical decisions.
Fans are convinced that even Britney’s Instagram is controlled by someone else, when the documentary “ Framing Britney Spears” debuted Britney commented that she was “hurt and embarrassed” by the documentary. However many fans “don’t buy it”, they think Britney’s messages are still scripted and controlled.
Chrishell Stause The Selling Sunset Star commented on Britney’s Instagram post regarding her feelings about the documentary. “Instead of dancing, can we get a video of you typing your own captions next time? I want to believe you, it’s you speaking for yourself but I am skeptical. We love you.”
Chrishell Stause responded to the media about her outreach to Britney. “My comment’s been deleted. It has amassed a bunch of likes. It didn’t sound like her… I don’t think those are her words. And they deleted my comment! And it had a bunch of likes on it. For me this is proof. Britney would not have deleted it.”
It has now been announced that Britney has requested a hearing in court, to speak for herself. Hopefully, sooner rather than later Britney will come closer to freedom. It may be too late for Britney to get justice for all those years she was mistreated by the media however, there is still time for her to gain her freedom back. While watching “Framing Britney Spears”, you can’t help but picture Britney in the “Lucky” music video singing “ she’s so lucky, she’s a star, but she cry, cry, cries in the lonely heart…thinking if there is nothing missing in my life then why do these tears come at night?”