So, what is the #FreeBritney movement? Why do we feel we need one? What is it looking to accomplish? These are all questions that even I’m not completely sure of—at least not to its full extent, so let’s jump in together, do some research, and find out!
Britney Spears is obviously an icon. Rising to stardom with her fabulous pop anthem, Hit me Baby One More Time, and at just seventeen years old, Britney became and stayed one of the most influential names in pop music and pop culture, even in 2021. Britney Spears’ name is right up there with other incredibly talented women of pop like Madonna, Mariah, and Cher—all only needing one name to be instantly recognized in a conversation.
Unfortunately, as a young and beautiful woman in Hollywood with an unimaginable amount of fame and money, Britney Spears became a very easy target for relentless misogynistic scrutiny, constant media hounding about anything from her music to her body. Tabloids, paparazzi, and abuse from those close to her sent her spiralling into her infamous 2007 breakdown at just twenty-six years old.
In my opinion, the biggest failure on the part of the media and the part of the consumers like myself happened in the face of Britney’s 2007 breakdown. A young woman was pushed to the edge by the horrific nature in which she had been treated, and it became a huge joke for years after. Even at her very lowest, we kicked Britney when she was down.
Now, as we become more socially aware—and hopefully less misogynistic—we’ve come to realize that the abuse perpetuated towards Britney Spears was more sinister and unfair than we had ever known, from failures on the part of past partners to her record label, to her dirt-bag father, in the past few years so much has been exposed about the inner-workings of Britney Spears’s life and career. From this collective knowledge coming together, the #FreeBritney movement was born.
What is the #FreeBritney Movement? What is it Looking to Accomplish?
Essentially, when you get to the bare bones of the situation (hopefully without bastardizing or oversimplifying a bad situation), after Britney’s very public meltdown in her more vulnerable years in 2007 through 2009, her father, Jamie Spears, filed for and received a conservatorship with the courts that have been withheld ever since.
What is a conservatorship? Basically, a conservatorship is a legal system put in place to protect and preserve the finances of adults who are not mentally capable of handling it themselves. Essentially, Jamie Spears has been given complete control of Britney Spears’s 60 million dollar estate, using her public breakdown from over a decade ago as leverage. Recently, despite Britney fighting in court to have the conservatorship lifted, granting the 39-year-old singer the rights to her estate, the conservatorship has been extended to at least 2021, though now it is split evenly between her father and the financial firm Bessemer Trust.
Although the #FreeBritney movement has picked up major traction in the past year or so, even going so far as prompting a new and very eye-opening documentary about Spears’ life and the mistreatment she endured entitled Framing Britney Spears, according to The New York Times, the term “Free Britney” was coined over a decade ago in 2009, when website BreatheHeavy.com was right very quick to call the conservatorship unfair to Britney—years before the rest of us came around to it as well. Apparently, website owner Jordan Miller received a very aggressive call from Jamie Spears who threatened legal action to take the site down during this time.
So, in short, the #FreeBritney movement works to quite literally free Britney Spears, a woman turning forty this year, from her conservatorship held by her father. The goal is to give a now mentally healthy and stable Spears control of her own hard-earned finances as any adult woman should be able to do. There is simply no reason for a middle-aged mother to have a long and successful career without complete autonomy, meaning bodily, spiritually, and financially.
If you feel as I do, and want to participate in freeing Britney Spears, consider showing your support with the hashtag FreeBritney, talk about it with your friends and family, sign one of the many petitions, or if you live in the area, you could even show your support in protest with other fans and supporters!