Framing Britney Spears

The New York Times’ new documentary casts a light on the hidden battles superstar Britney Spears has been facing


photo courtesy of gettyimages

Aubrey Harrell, Editorial Board

Chances are, you’ve come across the #FreeBritney hashtag on at least one occasion, either through social media or verbal conversation as the phrase became more common outside of the confines of Twitter. To people who never looked into the phrase, it may seem like more of a joke than anything, after all, why would a famed and beloved celebrity superstar like Britney Spears be trapped in any way, shape, or form? Unfortunately, the celebrity’s life hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, not by a long shot. In the new documentary Framing Britney Spears, a closer look is taken at how the pop star has been struggling to fight for her autonomy for years, and how she even had to fight for her own estate and visitation rights to her children.
The public has always had eyes on Britney Spears, ever since her entry into the music industry in the ’90s. With great fame also comes great scrutiny, however. As is with most stars, people were enamored with the pop star’s life, keeping tabs on every move she made and happily relishing getting to view her at her darkest moments when she finally reached her breaking point, with what seemed like the whole world making cheap zings at her struggles that were shown against her will for everyone to see. After her infamous breakdown in 2007 that involved her shaving her head was broadcast for the world to see, Britney checked herself into rehab, which is where the start of her loss of autonomy begins, as outlined in the documentary.
After she was deemed unable to make decisions for herself, Britney Spears entered conservatorship in 2008, with her father being elected the conservator. Britney ultimately agreed to a conservatorship, however as the documentary explains, she strongly disagreed with her father being the conservator, so much so that she even tried to hire a lawyer to challenge her father. In a conservatorship, a “guardian” so to speak is appointed to a person to manage financial affairs and/or that person’s daily life if it is deemed they cannot do so themselves. Britney’s father was put in a position of utmost authority over her, and overall has a vice grip on Britney’s life and decisions to be made about her career.
The documentary is a must-watch, as it delves into why Britney agreed to a conservatorship in the first place and how people first noticed trouble seemed to be brewing behind the curtains of Britney’s life. Framing Britney Spears is available to watch on Hulu, and is an enlightening watch that further reminds us all that we, as the general public, only know a small portion of what truly goes on behind closed doors in celebrity’s lives, no matter how much we think we may know.