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What’s the big deal about the Free Britney movement?

18 Feb 2021 / 11:19 H.

WHO could forget the moment when Britney Spears first introduced herself to the world? Wearing her hair in a ponytail and dressed in a Catholic school girl outfit, Spears was sure set for stardom. And as expected she did go on to become the biggest pop star in the early 2000’s.

Yet, despite all her success, she found herself in a very odd situation. One that she would be in for a very long time. And that is her conservatorship which has been in place for over 12 years now.

What is a conservatorship?

A conservatorship is a legal arrangement that binds an individual to a legal guardian. In the eyes of the law, the following individual is incompetent to take care of themselves. Therefore, needing the legal guardian to manage their financial affairs and/or daily activities. This arrangement is usually for people with physical or mental limitations, or old age.

Spears, however was placed under one following her highly publicised emotional breakdown in 2008. Since then, her father, Jamie has been in charge of her personal and professional life. This includes her assets, her personal choices and her career at large.

Over the years, Spears has tried to remove herself from this conservatorship. Last November, she filed a case to remove her father as her guardian. The pop star was reported saying, she was afraid of him and would not work as long as he remained in
the role. Despite her plea, her
case was dismissed and her conservatorship got extended till September of this year.

The Free Britney movement

In line with her efforts, fans have started a campaign called Free Britney which calls for her to be released. A documentary was even premiered on HBO Max titled The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears. The documentary follows her career from her early days in Louisiana to her peak as pop princess.

And of course, the harsh treatment she received from the media and public which led to her downfall. Upon its release, many fans and celebrities from Paramore’s Hayley Williams and Miley Cyrus have voiced out their support.

Why it matters

Contrary to popular belief, Spears is more than capable of taking care of herself. In fact, the 39-year-old pop star has gone to reach new heights in her career in recent years. From four successful studio albums to a successful Vegas residency, it is clear that Spears is capable of managing her own life.

Though this is about Spears, her case however brings light to a bigger issue. One being the concept of a conservatorship which allows no voice for the conservatee. The other being an issue that has long affected female pop stars – exploitation and sexism.

From starlets like Beyonce to Taylor Swift, female acts have long fought for self-sufficiency. Though the details of Spears’ story differ from the others, their stories collectively show the absence of autonomy in their lives. Hopefully, in time, Spears along with the rest will once again regain the liberty they deserve.

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