By Moustafa Elhadary, March 16, 2021
Pop star Britney Spears hasn’t been truly free for 12 years. After Spears’ breakdown in 2007, her father took control of her life and put her under a conservatorship, allowing him to be the legal guardian of his 27-year-old daughter. The truth is: The breakdown was over a decade ago and the pop star has since proven that she can take care of herself, which is why #FreeBritney has trended worldwide.
“Framing Britney Spears,” a documentary by the New York Times, shed light on Spears’ life and framed the situation against her father. I remember Spears’ “meltdown” in 2007 and to find out 13 years later that she just wanted her freedom and she knew exactly what she was doing was so heartbreaking to me. She just wanted to be free from the media’s image of her but was pushed to her limits, leading to the conservatorship which still holds today.
A conservatorship allows the conservator to take control of the person’s finances if they are mentally or physically unable to handle them by themself. In this case, Spears’ father has taken control of her entire life, from every business decision to even marriage. On one hand, it could be because he wants to protect her and help her out with her finances if she’s unfit to handle it on her own, though I believe he’s just trying to steal her money.
During Spears’ “meltdown,” the media framed the situation exactly how they wanted to: the pop star was crazy and ill fit to take care of herself. I personally judged Spears during her ’07 “meltdown” and can vividly remember thinking she was going insane while watching TMZ coverage of them laughing at her on television for shaving her head. This documentary framed the situation in a different way than the media framed it back in 2007. It showed that Spears was tired of the paparazzi following her all the time and it was too overwhelming, so she shaved off her head to make her “less desirable” and distance herself from the pop princess she was considered to be.
In a clip shown in “Framing Britney Spears” from the 2008 documentary “Britney: For the Record,” Spears states, “If I wasn’t under the restraints that I’m under right now, with all the lawyers and doctors and people analyzing me every day and all that kind of stuff — if that wasn’t there, I’d feel so liberated and feel like myself.” This was the only glimpse fans have gotten to how the pop star thinks of the conservatorship.
The most heartbreaking part of this conservatorship is that Spears just wants to be free to live her life and not be tied down by any restraints. People don’t understand the severity of a conservatorship and honestly neither did I up til I wanted the documentary and had it all explained in such an understanding way. While she is still under the conservatorship, Spears has no control over any of her financial or personal decisions. Just 4 days ago, on Friday, March 12th Spears posted a video on her Instagram expressing some fan questions which completely deviated from what everyone truly wanted to know, which was about her upcoming court hearing.
Instead, Spears mentioned that her dream car is a Bentley and said she had never owned one. Fans including myself, bombarded the comments expressing our worry for her safety and also mentioning that she can clearly afford a Bentley but does not have enough control over her finances to buy one due to her conservatorship. This truly put things into perspective of how little control Spears has over her life to this day.
If she is of sound mind, then there is no need for a conservatorship. Fans on Twitter argued that a person ill fit to take care of themselves or their children would not be able to perform in Las Vegas for her “Piece of Me” show on a weekly basis. I completely agree with that. The fact that she was still not in control of her own life was disheartening considering she proved to be capable of taking care of herself.
On Nov. 10 of last year, fans gathered around a Los Angeles courthouse where a hearing was taking place for Spears to remove her father as the conservator of her estate. The documentary showed fans in support of the pop princess awaiting news outside the courthouse. The court, however, rejected Spears’ attempt to remove her father as the conservator of her estate on that day and additional hearings are set for March 17 and April 27, for Spears’ attempt to remove herself from the conservatorship.
The disheartening part about this documentary was showing no true resolution. The point was for the pop princess to be freed from her father’s restraints on her life and career and it baffled fans, including myself, that her request was denied despite no real harm being done in the past several years.
I am truly ashamed of judging Britney without knowing her side of the story and fans and I alike hope that one day she will be freed from the restraints of her father.
She deserves her freedom because she has proven that her mental health has been well maintained for years now and I hope that for once in her life, she will truly finally be a free woman.
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