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The Woman in Us: HCUCF’S Bookfast Club Discusses ‘The Woman in Me’

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

2023 was a strong year for womanhood. With Barbie amassing millions of dollars and Taylor Swift going on an iconic, record-breaking tour, it’s easy to highlight the accomplishments and triumphs of women in the last year. The cherry on top was the release of Britney Spears’ memoir, The Woman In Me, in October of last year. Being a shining figure in the music industry for decades, and going through extreme highs and lows throughout her career, Spears’ memoir was long-awaited for many people. After she finally spoke out about her experiences, HCUCF’s book club, the Bookfast Club, decided to read her memoir and share their thoughts.

We all gathered around a picnic table outside, pulling out physical and digital copies of the book. To get us started, we talked about Britney’s childhood. It was devastating to read her frustrations with her parents, but we felt hopeful hearing about her passion for music. Being involved with the entertainment industry at a young age instantly made her the breadwinner of her family, which put pressure on a little girl.

We then turned our direction to an early antagonist in Britney’s life—Justin Timberlake. We were appalled by the actions that he took against her. The most upsetting part involving Timberlake was when he chose to play guitar next to her as she was going through an at-home abortion. Other instances of his nasty behavior were also brought up during the discussion, such as the Janet Jackson nip-slip incident and how he cheated on his then-wife Jessica Biel. Despite this, Britney still promoted his latest album, but his only response to her was that he owed no one an apology.

As more malicious people popped into her life, Britney also had the toughest time with the tabloids. They constantly criticized her body, character, and even her motherhood. Whenever she got fed up with everything around her and acted out, such as shaving her hair or hitting a paparazzi’s car with an umbrella, the media ate it up and used it to paint her as a madwoman. We all caught how her attitude towards the paparazzi changed over time, with her managing them when she was younger, to growing frustrated with them when she had children.

The mood reached its peak sourness when we got to the conservatorship. We couldn’t believe how Britney was considered unable to handle her estate with so little proof. She was forced to go on a strict diet, constantly perform shows, and was only given $2,000 a week, which was much, much less than she was actually making. Her entire family took advantage of her when she was at her lowest for those 13 long years. We felt even worse when she blamed herself for doing simple things, such as having energy supplements on her. Many of us felt like we would’ve gone insane if we were in her shoes.

However, with her learning about the #FreeBritney movement and maintaining her strength, Spears eventually got out of her conservatorship. She now lives with her new husband, and she’s known to post dress-up videos on Instagram (which is now private). While it was an upsetting journey to read through, we were all relieved that she got the ending she deserved. While she was generally at peace with the people who put her in that situation, we were upset that they got away with it for so long. We also speculated what would’ve happened if she hadn’t gotten out of that situation, and how many abusive conservatorship cases are out there that we don’t know about.

Overall, we all agreed that we liked the book, and that it truly revealed what was going on with Britney Spears throughout the years. With our reflection on the book, we started talking about things that we were passionate about—Goodreads, Greta Gerwig, and girlhood. It was a fascinating way to wrap up the discussion since a key element showed up in front of all of us. By reading The Woman in Me, we not only got to see the woman in Britney Spears, but the women in us.

Jolina Jassal is a senior at the University of Central Florida. She is a Digital Media: Web Design major who loves reading, writing, traveling, digitally designing, and benefitting from the human experience.