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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Modern society has created a subculture that lives in an alternate reality. It is so far from the truth that members of this subculture frequently find themselves unable to live in both worlds and have become a show for others to admire. Entertainers, millionaires, and athletes make up this subculture. The young people who enter into this subculture enter without realizing that their life will never be the same. Britney Spears was yet another victim of this system.

hOW DID THE CONSERVATORSHIP cOME aBOUT?

Britney Spears hasn’t had complete control over her life for nearly half of her decades-long career as a world-renowned pop artist. After a variety of public breakdowns that were filmed by the ever-present paparazzi and relentlessly publicized by the media, Britney has been under conservatorship since 2008. As one of the conservators, Spears’ father, Jamie, has been in charge of most of his daughter’s financial and personal life for more than a decade. The appointed conservators have jurisdiction over everything from Britney’s mental health care to where and when she can travel; the structure requires conservators to present thorough reports of her transactions to the court, even if they are tiny ones like a $5 Starbucks drink or Target purchases. Conservatorships are designed to be a necessary last resort to protect the vulnerable. Representatives for Jamie Spears have said that his stewardship over his daughter’s career probably saved her from financial ruin. He said in court filings that his “sole motivation has been his unconditional love for his daughter and a fierce desire to protect her from those trying to take advantage of her.” The question remains: How did the conservatorship come about?

mID – 2000’s

Britney’s superstardom and relentless public scrutiny had taken its toll on her emotions by the mid-2000s, and tabloids were quick to exploit it, sensationalizing and pathologizing her every move. Britney checked into a mental health institution despite the assault of disinformation and prying photographers, but the intrusive headlines continued. Britney continued to create new music and perform in the years that followed, starting a four-year residency in Las Vegas. Her father had total control over her finances, personal life, and career choices. She was also being watched by “handlers” and didn’t have access to her email. Britney cannot, in fact, couldn’t submit her own tax returns or “pursue chances linked to professional commitments,” such as “performances, music recording, music videos, tours, TV shows, and other comparable activities,” without her medical team’s permission.

Domination tour cancellation

In early January 2019, just before her second Las Vegas residency, Britney posted an announcement on her website. “This is so tough for me to say,” the statement said. “I will not be performing my new show Domination. I’ve been looking forward to this show and seeing all of you this year, so doing this breaks my heart. However, it’s important to always put your family first, and that’s the decision I had to make.”Millions of dollars had already been invested in the Las Vegas residency, so the cancellation sparked a flurry of conspiracy theories. The first attorney who worked with Jamie Spears quit only a few months after asking for a raise, which was a crucial point of interest. Britney went into a facility for ‘all-encompassing wellness treatment’ and needed to focus on herself in April 2019.

#FREEBRITNEY

Some reject the #FreeBritney campaign, claiming that its supporters lack “first-hand understanding” of the situation. Nonetheless, unlike the tabloids, Britney’s ardent followers insist that they do not speculate on her mental health. Instead, they want to expose the conservatorship’s corruption, as well as the ways in which people continue to profit financially off Britney’s success at the expense of her freedom and health. Of course, unlike most other superstars, Britney’s situation is made much more problematic by the abusive behavior of others around her. Nonetheless, the #FreeBritney movement serves as a reminder of the significance of supporting celebrities and raising mental health awareness. After all, it’s evident that sensationalized tabloids, soundbites, and memes have left a lasting impression on Britney.

Framing Britney Spears

Framing Britney Spears, a new documentary from The New York Times, will premiere on FX and Hulu in 2021. According to Rolling Stone, “While Spears’ legal struggles are well-known, the documentary also takes on themes of media prejudice and mental health, particularly when addressing the star’s alleged ‘breakdown'” in 2007. As the documentary shows, we need to stop gawking at mental illness and turning celebrity actions into memes and soundbites when it comes to celebrities and mental illness.

bRITNeY SPEAKS OUT

A status hearing was conducted on June 24, 2021, to discuss the conservatorship and the prospect of dissolving it. Spears was now able to tell the world what was going on in her own words. She called the conservatorship “abusive” and added that she “can’t sleep.” In 2020, he uploaded multiple selfies on Instagram stating that she was OK and doing well, but Spears claimed that she was in denial at the time. Spears used the chance to give her side of the story, claiming that it’s fine to say “no” to a dance routine and that she takes her medication in the mornings, so how could management accuse her of not taking her meds if they never see her take them? During Spears’ 24-minute testimony, news about the pop star’s treatment of her body shocked the globe. Spears wants to marry and start a family. She is not, however, permitted to travel with her partner in a car. “I want to marry and start a family.” I was informed I wouldn’t be able to marry. I have an IUD in my body, but this so-called team will not allow me to go to the doctor to get it removed because they do not want me to have children. This conservatorship is causing more harm than benefit to me.” The IUD news was particularly distressing. This news is sure to stimulate discussions on mental health and reproductive rights. Intrauterine device (IUD) is an abbreviation for intrauterine device. As a form of birth control, these devices are implanted in the uterus. Having an IUD implanted in one’s body without consent could be considered a violation of one’s human rights. People chant “Free Britney!” because they want the freedom to make this decision for themselves or have the proper person make it for them. Britney Spears’ treatment has evolved over the previous decade, from #LeaveBritneyAlone to #FreeBritney. Surely, she was more than deserving of her conservatorship to be lifted It’s crucial to listen to victims, so perhaps this will generate a discussion on how to make survivors of abuse feel safe enough to come forward. Britney Spears was released from her conservatorship after a judge decided in her favor on November 12, 2021, putting an end to the 13-year arrangement that has prevented her from making her own personal and financial decisions. Judge Brenda Penny of the Los Angeles County Superior Court decided, “The court determines the conservatorship of Britney Jean Spears is no longer warranted.”

#FREEDBRITNEY

The conservatorship over Britney Spears’ person and the estate has been lifted as of November 12, 2021. The hearing lasted only 31 minutes. Britney Spears did not appear on the phone or in a video. Her lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, highlighted her words from a prior hearing in June, in which she asked for the conservatorship to be terminated without a mental health evaluation. Afterward, Spears, who was not present at the hearing and did not call into the proceeding, posted to Twitter: “I think I’m gonna cry the rest of the day!!!! Best day ever.” We wish nothing but the best for Britney and hope she lives her best life.

Moira McGuire

Illinois State '24

hi my name is Moira McGuire so excited to be apart of hercampus isu yass queens insta- @moiramcguire
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