WRITTEN BY Emma Hudson
In the past couple of weeks, “The New York Times Presents” latest documentary episode titled “Framing Britney Spears” has received immense buzz on social media. The episode became available to watch on Hulu just a few weeks shy of Spears’s team going back to court to appeal her father’s conservatorship.
The documentary gives insightful information on Spears’s life and the events leading up to her father taking ownership over not only her assets but her career as a world-famous pop star. As of late, Britney will not perform until her father is not her conservator.
The framework of the documentary gives great starting points for understanding Britney’s perspective as she came into the spotlight and became trapped by walls of flashing cameras, along with unfair cornering questions from the media.
The main takeaways from the documentary include the unethical aspects of the conservatorship, blasphemous media, and the importance of having a reliable support system.
The Problem with Britney Spears’s Conservatorship
According to the documentary, a conservatorship typically comes about when a person is incapable of handling their own assets. A legally binding conservatorship is common for elderly people who are deemed incapable of caring for themselves.
The reason it is an unethical conservatorship is because Spears shows she is capable of thinking for herself, yet her rights are restricted. She has been under the thumb of the conservatorship since 2008 and has not been allowed control of her rightly-earned fortune. Her lawyer has expressed in court that Britney is afraid of her conservator ― her father, Jamie Spears.
Vivian Thoreen, who appears in the documentary, clarifies the legalities of conservatorships. She mentions it is rare for a conservatee to find an out in the conservatorship. After her speaking portion, the documentary states Thoreen represents Jamie Spears. As his lawyer, she defends that he and Britney have a good relationship.
Few people believe that side of the story as seen from fans and news media outlets who have started to look closely at Spears’s case since “Framing Britney” became a household topic of discussion.
The Unfair Treatment from the Media
There are two parts to the malicious treatment Britney Spears received from the media. For one, paparazzi followed her everywhere since a photo of her equated a large sum of money. Two, interviewers framed leading questions in an accusatory tone, judging her based on subjective ideals.
“Inappropriate” is the term that came up often in the documentary to describe her appearance and performance. Spears’s subjection is unfortunately familiar. Misogynistic attitudes have painted her as crazy; her life over a decade ago became an easy joke in pop culture.
In interviews with Matt Lauer and Diane Sawyer, the news show hosts gave her questions that bordered trolling, phrasing their questions in an accusatory tone. With Sawyer, she accused Britney of cheating on Justin Timberlake, who received positive support during the break-up. Lauer, now no-longer a TV journalist, accused Spears of being an uncaring mother when she was trying to get away from paparazzi and care for her crying baby.
It may suffice to say elements of the media are changing their tune after the documentary. Journalists on entertainment networks are recognizing through the lens of “Framing Britney” that there is a long list of people — members of Spears’s team, journalists and paparazzi — who owe Britney an apology.
Finding a Reliable Support Network
Family is a big cornerstone of support and that support is not always available to everyone. Support is out there even if it cannot be found in a traditional sense.
The millennial-driven movement that is #FreeBritney showcases immense support for the popstar. A podcast called Britney’s Gram is dedicated to Britney Spears’s Instagram feed. The documentary covers how the founders Tess Barker and Barbra Gray started the podcast for fun, dissecting the enigmatic elements of Briteny Spears’s Instagram captions.
The Britney’s Gram podcast is why #FreeBritney took flight. Now thousands of fans are leading rallies, writing letters on conservatorship abuse to representatives, and educating themselves about conservatorship abuse. A reliable support network will educate and take action.
Stronger Than Yesterday
The question you all may be wondering is why the #FreeBritney movement matters. Her fandom is diverse and strong; it is because of her willingness to be expressive of who she is that so many fans feel passionate in their support.
Britney Spears has shown what it means to be a hardworking person. She is a mother, a performer and a needed icon. Her tough times that have been perpetuated by the media as uncondonable craziness. Her story with mental health struggles could parallel many. Spears gave people the courage to be who they are and the #FreeBritney movement is about helping her in return.
Here’s how you can participate in the fan-led #FreeBritney movement: Follow the podcast @britneysgram for updates, follow @freebritneyla for the latest rally information, visit the Free Britney Army website to learn more about taking action and follow @britneyspears on Instagram to show your support.
Watch “Framing Britney Spears” on Hulu to learn more.