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For more than two decades, Britney Spears has been serving us hit after hit, including classics like “…Baby One More Time” and “Womanizer.” However, during the entirety of the last 13 years of her career, Britney has not been in control of the bops she puts out, her finances, her privacy, or pretty much anything for that matter. After Britney underwent a series of public outbursts, an ugly divorce, a custody battle, and a stay at a psychiatric ward, in February 2008, the artist was forcefully put into a conservatorship under her father, Jamie Spears.

So, what does this mean exactly? A conservatorship is the legal guardianship of a person deemed unfit by a court. Conservators were originally appointed to help deal with financial, medical, and mental health matters of the subject. This is where things get tricky; the keyword here is the word “unfit.” Conservatorships are saved for severe cases, amongst the elderly population, who are no longer able to handle their assets. At the time of the start of her conservatorship, Britney was 26 years old. There’s no doubt that Britney has had to deal with mental health issues and substance abuse disorders due to the amount of fame she had obtained from an extremely early age, garnering a widespread amount of paparazzi presence at any given time. But was a conservatorship necessary for 13 whole years? Fans seem to agree that the answer is a big hell no.

Britney has undergone a plethora of constraints under this conservative, the most serious of which include: No financial freedom, meaning that she has not been paid for releasing music for the last 13 years, or her iconic Vegas residency. This economic restriction entails that she’s not even allowed to spend pocket change freely. She’s also not allowed to decide when she will work or when she can take breaks…she has even faced court-appointed restraints on seeing her children. All in all, Britney is legally not her own person, needing permission to do the simplest of tasks, such as leaving her household.

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 The #FreeBritney Movement was coined around 2009, a year after the conservatorship began when supporters began protesting on behalf of Britney. After fans learned the extent of Britney’s control (or lack thereof), the #FreeBritney Movement began to mobilize protests, social media events, and even a website to raise awareness of the horrifying binding of Britney’s conservatorship. Fans began protesting outside courthouses whenever Britney would have a hearing to end her conservatorship. 

These #FreeBritney protests began garnering traction on social media; specifically, Twitter. The hashtag #FreeBritney was trending for several consecutive months. With each trending hashtag, more and more people began to be aware of Britney’s situation, thus garnering even more support for the #FreeBritney Movement. The movement has gotten so big that two documentaries on Britney’s situation have been released on Netflix and Hulu, allowing even more people to bring awareness to what is exactly happening to this Pop Legend. This traction allowed courts to remove Jamie Spears as sole conservator of Britney in September 2021. 

Social Media presence and persistence over the years have allowed for the movement, and Britney herself, to have small victories throughout the years. In the meantime, Britney has reached out to fans via Instagram to thank the #FreeBritney movement for allowing progress to be made in ending her conservatorship.

So the question remains, is Britney free? As of November 12th, Britney has been set free of her 13-year conservatorship, allowing her to regain control of all aspects of her life once again! The singer has gone on to thank the #FreeBritney Movement for ‘’saving her life’’, and has already felt the effects of being free since the conservatorship was lifted. As someone who has been a fan of Britney for years, seeing her finally be able to take control of her narrative once again feels amazing. I cannot wait to see what she has in store for fans in the future!

Luisa Colón is an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus. They are currently studying English Literature. Besides the usual long walks on the beach, she enjoys reading romance novels, updating their bookstagram, and starting (but never finishing) crochet projects. We know you'll love her, xoxo HC.
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