Nearly 15 years after the head-shaving drama, at 39 years old, poor Britney Spears still can’t catch a break. For years, the hashtag #freebritney has been going around social media. It refers to the conservatorship that she’s been trapped in, where her dad has essentially controlled her life for 13 years.
She told a judge in LA that she just wanted her life back, after feeling traumatized and crying every day. Most recently, the conservatorship has gotten in the way when she wanted to have another child, and was denied the right. She was also put on lithium, a powerful psychiatric drug, against her wishes. The lithium made Brit feel drunk and unable to converse.
In 2008, Britney Spears’ father was given total control over her affairs in 2008, by a court order. A conservatorship is granted by a court, for people who are unable to make their own decisions. This is usually for people with mental illnesses or dementia. Britney Spears’ conservatorship is split into her estate and financial affairs, and for her as a person. Due to it, she hasn’t controlled her finances for years.
This was done after the celebrity was placed in the hospital over mental health concerns. Even though Spears has long since recovered from her troubles of decades past, it’s been extended up until now, for no good reason at all.
This situation has caused outrage for human rights activists and feminists all over. As a child, Britney was sexualized and forced to grow up fast, which obviously had a poor effect on her mental health and was pushed on her by record executives and the music industry.
Now that she’s finally grown up into a strong woman, these figures of authority feel the need to infantilize her, treating her like a child who’s not capable of making her own decisions. Many women all over can relate to this — as children, they’re encouraged to grow up and are treated like women, but as they grow up, they’re treated as though they’re not competent enough to make their own life choices.
This is obvious when it comes to the pushback against abortion, and any other area regarding a woman making decisions about her own body.
Recently, Spears has a special hearing in court, and it was the first time that the public has heard her speak out about this conservatorship, which she calls “abusive.” LA Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny called Britney courageous for speaking out during these proceedings.
The speech she gave lasted nearly half an hour, and one of the most heartbreaking moments was when she said she wanted to stay on the phone “forever” to avoid going back to her life where she was surrounded by people constantly telling her “no”. She went on to call the arrangement “embarrassing and humiliating.”
Regarding her social media posts, the #freebritney army has always tried to look for clues on her unhappiness, but it’s been difficult. She finally revealed the truth about her Instagram presence, saying “I’ve lied and told the whole world I’m okay and I’m happy.” On the emotional rollercoaster that she’s been on “I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry, it’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day.”
Many people think that just because you’re a rich star, your life is perfect. But there are many other behind-the-scenes factors for people like Britney who have had their rights taken away from them by the toxic network around them that provides more control than support.
While Spears’ father claims he loves his daughter and hates to see her suffering and in pain, that seems to conflict with Britney’s own truth, and for the record, we’re Team Britney.
Apart from feeling bullied and ganged up on (especially when it comes to family-related decisions) she said that she was forced into touring by her management. Her father lied to her therapist, claiming Britney wasn’t taking her medications or cooperating.
According to Spears, this conservatorship is doing more “harm than good” and that she previously had no idea that she could petition for this bizarre arrangement to end.
At the end of the day, Britney shouldn’t be held hostage for her past experiences and mistakes. She’s grown up and learned from them since, and should be able to feel empowered on her own life decisions. Petitioning against the arrangement is her first move towards empowerment, and we’re cheering her on towards whatever the next step is!