For 13 years, Britney Spears hasn’t been able to live her own life. Stuck under a conservatorship, a legal proceeding in which a guardian is appointed to manage the daily life and/or financial affairs of another person, Spears has been continuously silenced by the courts.
In 2008, during the peak of her mental health struggles, Spears entered the conservatorship. 13 years later, an increasing number of fans are fighting on her behalf, raising questions about mental health, privacy concerns, and civil liberties.
A New York Times documentary, “Framing Britney Spears,” aims to reveal details of Spears’s life previously hidden from the public. This feature piece delves into her legal battles, almost entirely controlled by Jamie Spears, Britney’s father, while shining a light on #FreeBritney, a movement of fans who staunchly believe that this singer has been unfairly controlled for much of her life.
The documentary clearly states that anyone who was close with Britney at the beginning of her conservatorship knew that her father was an abusive and toxic force in her life. Highlighting how he so bluntly took control of her life, regardless of her wishes, provides insight into how invasive their relationship truly is.
This documentary offers some hope for the future of female celebrities. Without Brttney Spears openly expressing and confronting seuxality, mental health struggles, and the inherent sexist nature of the music industry that has such a strong hold on female stars, those in the current spotlight – Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, and Megan Thee Stallion – would likely not reach the level of success they currently home.
That said, the end of “Framing Britney Spears” shines a light on her possible future, finishing with a legal decision with the promise of regaining control: her conservatorship case is heading back to court.