If you grew up during the 90s, chances are you were a Britney Spears fan. We were and still are. Britney’s life has been under a microscope since she first stepped onto the music scene and we have all seen her through the good and bad moments. ‘The New York Times Presents’ series gave us a glimpse into +all of that in their newest installment “Framing Britney Spears,” and after watching it we have thoughts.
Childhood Stardom is difficult
Childhood stardom is a weird thing. It happens at a time when you are literally trying to figure out who you are and where you fit in. Britney Spears made her debut on Star Search like most kids did during the 80s and 90s. She was an adorable little girl and even though she didn’t win, it was the spark that showed her that was the career path she wanted to take. She went on to do things like The All New Mickey Mouse Club and then in the late 90s she signed a record deal. With so many things happening so fast, it forces a kid to grow up quicker than they would if they weren’t in the spotlight.
The Role Model Complex
We’ve said it once and we will say it again, celebrities are people too. When Britney Spears released “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” all people seemed to be able to focus on was the image she appeared to be portraying. People thought she was overly sexual with her schoolgirl uniform and that she was a bad influence on young girls. Look, Britney Spears was and is still allowed to dress however the fuck she wants. When I first saw the music video for this song, I didn’t immediately go “Oh my gosh look what she’s wearing,” I thought she looked cute, and I loved the song. Britney didn’t ask for people to focus on her sexuality or make her their role model.
In “Framing Britney Spears” there’s a lot of talk about Britney and her sexuality. That’s highlighted with old videos of some of the most inappropriate interviews we’ve ever seen. Most of them were full of interviewers giving opinions on things they were never asked to comment on.
We can talk about all of them but there were just too many. They ranged from interviewers commenting on her breasts and the fact that she didn’t like people talking about them to outright asking if she was a virgin. First of all, who the hell wants to be asked about their breasts? Do we ask guys about their dicks on national television, especially when they are teens? No, we don’t. Also, her virginity was not anybody’s business.
One other interview that got us worked up was one we’re actually quite familiar with. Diane Sawyer had Britney on in 2003 and she read a quote to her from Kendall Ehrlich, the wife of the Governor of Maryland. She stated “… really, if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would.” Britney was 22 years old at the time, so she was a grown ass woman who didn’t owe anyone an explanation at all. She was clearly hurt by that statement but she responded by saying “I’m not here to, you know, babysit her kids” which was a true statement. Parents need to stop telling their kids to idolize these people because guess what? They are flawed and they never asked to be placed on these dumb ass pedestals.
Men Ain’t Shit
The double standard of being a woman in the entertainment business was on full display during Britney’s career. It seemed like every man had something to say. They talked about the way she dressed and claimed it was all an act and that she didn’t seem that innocent. The most unforgiving moment would have to be when she and Justin Timberlake broke up.
Now, I love me some Justin Timberlake but seeing the double standard in the way she was treated made me sick to my stomach and I’m not going to lie, it made me think about Justin differently. Obviously, none of us truly knows what happened between the two of them but based on his music video for Cry Me A River, he seemed to indicate she cheated on him. Her face was slapped on every tabloid and she was slut shamed horribly. The media blasted her as being a party girl sleeping around while Justin did radio interviews and was praised for the possibility that he may have fucked her.
This is what’s still wrong with our society today. A woman gets trashed while a man is praised, it’s gross and what Britney went through should have never happened regardless of who was right or wrong in their relationship.
The Paparazzi’s Ain’t Shit Either
Okay, this is a touchy subject because we all appreciate a good pap photo every now and again and if you say you don’t, you’re lying. We know it’s intrusive and annoying but we look at them because they dominate just about every social media platform and article that exists. Celebrities seem to have a love/hate relationship with the paparazzi’s meaning, when they first step out into the limelight, it feels a little good to have someone recognize you, but after awhile it starts to be too much.
Britney was always gracious to the paps when they got her out and about, she would wave and make conversation and they had a friendly rapport. In my opinion, the paps abuse that kindness. Celebrities know from the moment they wake up and step out of their homes they are going to be followed and photographed by the paps. With Britney, she was being photographed out having fun at first but then the paps took it further and started snapping candid’s when she was out just trying to do simple things.
One video in particular actually made me cry. The paps were literally following her all day from one place to the next and they were right in her face to the point she couldn’t even get out of her car. That’s what we’re talking about. The following all day long when the paps have already gotten tons of photos they can use. Unfortunately the greed is what drives them to get something that’s going to paint the celebrity in a negative light. Listening to Daniel Ramos share his pap stories, I was disgusted.
He starts off talking about the friendly relationship he had with Britney in her early years but then as she starts to spiral and the world can clearly see she is in need of help, instead of him leaving her alone, he capitalized on it. He caught her at one of her lowest points and was one of the paps involved in that famous moment of her attacking him with an umbrella. From what we could tell, and his account of the story, he had it coming. He harassed Britney point blank, period. She was trying to see her kids and after following her and getting shots, where she just ignored him, he then came back again and bugged her some more while she was already in a distressed state. Like Michael Moore said, maybe Britney’s story wouldn’t be a sad one if people just left her alone.
Conservatorship is probably a word lots of people may not have been familiar with until Britney Spears. As far as we know, she is the only celebrity who has been living her life this way for the last 12 years. If you don’t know what a conservatorship is, basically, it’s when someone else has control over you and your finances in order to protect you if they feel you cannot manage your own affairs due to incompetence. Now we don’t know about you but, Britney Spears does not seem incompetent.
Her father Jamie Spears has been in charge of her and her finances since 2008. This was the main focus of Framing Britney Spears, to highlight how she got to the point of needing conservatorship, to her wanting to get out of it. So many things lead to Britney needing to be under conservatorship and we may never know what they all were. The reason known to the public seems to be solely due to her mental health.
What is unfortunate about Britney’s situation is that mental health was not so openly talked about when she was facing all of her struggles. She had two children and a lot of people, including her mom, think that post partum depression was a big factor. People didn’t take post partum as seriously as they do now, or any other mental health struggles for that matter. The media was unkind to Britney through all of her struggles and that’s just a fact. Instead of choosing kindness and empathy, she was ridiculed which Framing Britney Spears shows in a clip from the game show Family Feud.
We remember how much she was vilified when she shaved all of her hair off but nobody tried to understand why she did it. Then when the photos of her attacking the paparazzi came out, it was even worse. It’s sad that we didn’t have the truth of that night then. Personally, I didn’t know the reason behind her going after him with the umbrella but after hearing the story, it made more sense.
Framing Britney Spears highlights why she ultimately accepted the conservatorship of her father and it’s heartbreaking. She did it for her kids, because that’s all she wanted was to be able to see them. Now she’s stuck in a conservatorship that she has to continue to appeal in order to get out of it. We couldn’t help wondering how her dad was approved as the conservator when he had issues with alcohol, went to rehab, and filed for bankruptcy when Britney was younger. That doesn’t seem too responsible. It would have made more sense for her mom Lynne to do it, but that’s none of our business.
The legal representation for her dads side is no better, but we’ll leave that for you to decide.
Britney’s Fans Will Always Fight For Her
A strong fan-base can be an extremely important part of celebrity life. At least to the ones who care about their fans. Britney Spears fans are loyal to the end and they started the Free Britney campaign to shed a light on conservatorships. Britney is in one of the most unique situations because her case is out there for the whole world to see. It motivates her to know that she has this group of fans out there fighting for her and we hope it’s a driving force that keeps her going.
Framing Britney left us feeling sad and gave us a lot to think about. We know Britney is not okay but it’s not for us to pass judgement. We all need to try and really understand her and all that has lead her to this moment. Trust us when we say there are so many other things from this documentary we can get into, but we highly recommend checking it out for yourself. It’s eye-opening and we think whether you are a Britney Spears fan or not, you should watch it.