#FreeBritney Movement Regains Traction In New Documentary


Courtesy of Felicia Culotta

The young pop star faced much scutiny from the media at a young age.

Elena Rouse, Co-Culture Editor

Britney Spears has been making headlines with the release of the The New York Times’s documentary about her life. The documentary, titled “Framing Britney Spears,” aired on Hulu and FX on Feb. 5 and has revamped fascination with the pop star.

The documentary comes following the expansive “#FreeBritney’’ social media movement that erupted over the past few months. The contributors of this movement are dedicated to advocating for the removal of Spears’s father, Jamie Spears, as the pop star’s conservator. A conservator is someone who has control over another’s individual and financial affairs because the conservatee is incapable of doing so. Conservatorships are usually enacted on the elderly. For Britney Spears, her conservatorship was formed after her public mental struggles in 2008 during her custody battle with ex-husband Kevin Federline.

After her stints in rehabilitation centers, Spears went on to make new music and millions of dollars on tours and during her Vegas run. Even during this time of hard work and fortune, Spears was still under the duress of her father as a conservator. Using this as evidence, fans argue that the star has risen from incapability and is no longer in need of a conservator, especially because Spears herself is against having one as well. Participants of the movement are convinced that Spears’s father is using the conservatorship as a means to control his daughter and extort exorbitant amounts of money from her. On social media, talk of hidden messages in the pop star’s social media posts have ignited fans’s interests in the well-being of the star, resulting in surges of videos theorizing and speaking out for Spears’s release.

The #FreeBritney movement and the star’s current legal situation act as the overarching focus of the documentary, but the film follows Spears’s entire life as well. It covers everything from her small town upbringing, her rise to stardom with The Mickey Mouse Club and her eventual mental breakdown. The documentary highlights the often misogynistic brutality Spears faced from the media. Some particularly upsetting moments were the recounts of her public break up with Justin Timberlake and the Today Show interview with Matt Lauer, where he discussed claims that Spears was a “bad mother.” The information is presented in a way that suggests the star’s eventual breakdown and infamous shaved head were not entirely unforeseeable or independent of externalities.

The documentary also focuses on Spears’s seemingly unhealthy relationship with her father, depicting the last known court case regarding her conservatorship. As of right now, Spears’s father is still her conservator, but her sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, has been awarded a co-conservator for Britney’s estate.

Fans of the pop icon have quickly rallied around the star once again after the release of the documentary, but there are still a lot of unknown factors surrounding the case as it continues to unfold.