Framing Britney Spears shines a light on the pop star’s dangerous conservatorship

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As of Feb. 26, the popular documentary Framing Britney Spears is available in Canada. 

I’d been ignorant to the realities of Spears’ personal and political life behind the scenes. She sang mildly catchy pop songs 20 years ago; that’s all I needed to know.

However, unbeknownst to the majority of casual fans, the last 12 years of Spears’ life have been anything but ordinary.

Britney Spears remains trapped under the conservatorship of her father, Jamie Spears. For the past 12 years of her life, she has been at the will of her father and those he decides to employ. 

A conservatorship is typically appointed for those either physically or mentally incapable of managing their own finances and property—which is exactly what makes the Spears’ case so baffling. 

After watching the documentary, it becomes even more evident than already assumed that Spears is a highly-functioning human being, and one that by no means should qualify as a conservatee.

The film shines a light on the mismanagement of her career, along with the sheer abuse Spears was subjected to during the apex of her fame. She really didn’t have one minute alone.

It all changed once her children came along. A once bubbly and friendly face to local paparazzi quickly turned to a mother who simply—and understandably—wanted her space and privacy.

Throughout the movie, Spears is portrayed as a talented and intelligent pop star. She’s described as “approachable” by paparazzi and is even accounted driving around her hometown handing out $100 bills.

The first movie I immediately compared this to was Paris Hilton’s This is Paris. Why I took the time to view both of these films at my own leisure, I cannot say—but it quickly becomes apparent which of the two is a more genuine, honest film.

Hilton’s film is self-promotional. Of course I feel for the pain and trauma she went through as a child, but the intent of this YouTube Original documentary is glaringly obvious. She’s a DJ, everyone.

The documentary regarding Spears instead serves as an informative piece on how our once beloved pop star has fallen into such a dangerous conservatorship under her father.

You’re made to feel empathetic, suddenly understanding exactly why Spears would willingly shave her head. “I don’t want anyone touching me,” she said, in this regard. It’s got nothing to do with lunacy;in fact, it might have been the sanest thing to do at the time. 

She’d been smothered by paparazzi for years and would eventually lose her children over it. It’s a symbol of cleansing, of a new person. She’s not that teeny-bopping popstar anymore, so leave her alone.

Spears was driven to her commonly-stated state of “insanity” by the aforementioned paparazzi. Eventually, she fought back, attacking a reporter’s truck with an umbrella. Soon after, she would check herself into rehab.

There was an evident downfall, we can see that, but it didn’t take long for Spears to pick herself up again. 

The real question remains: “Why is Britney Spears still under this conservatorship?” She’s functioning, productive, successful and a hell of a lot more intelligent than people give her credit for.

Yet, her appeals have been denied. “I’m sad,” said Spears in one of her brief and increasingly rare mentions of the conservatorship.

But I encourage you to make your own opinion. Does Spears still belong under said conservatorship? Was she driven to breaking the status quo or had she simply lost her mind?

I was pleasantly surprised by the pride and dignity Spears portrays throughout her—granted, brief—exposures to today’s media. Some say she’s controlled by her father and his employees, others say she’s free to do as she wishes. 

The important thing is she’s fighting, not only for her name, money and freedom; she’s fighting for her independence. This fight is evident throughout the film, and however frightful it may be, it’s just as commendable.

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