The Britney Documentary is: TOXIC


Art by Camille Lubach

Lily Hanridge, Staff Writer

As I sank down into my apartment’s couch with my right hand full of Cheez-Its and La Croix in my left, I found myself ready to dive into the Britney Spears drama that Hulu is now home to. However, I did not imagine how depressed and hopeless I would feel after watching such a sad documentary. 

In early February, Hulu released the documentary, “Framing Britney Spears,” which successfully informed people about the conservatorship Spears has been tied to and what her life has been like being one of the most well-known female pop stars of all time.  

A conservatorship is a unique contract where parents or guardians are essentially allowed to control their child’s entire life–including finances, social media content, work, and much more. Britney Spears has been under a conservatorship with her father for the last 12 years, which has made some fans suspicious since her social media presence has become off-putting. In fact, many people, mostly her fans, noticed the weird posts coming from her accounts and started the #FreeBritney movement. 

The #FreeBritney movement started in 2019 when a group of two superfans put together a gathering to bring attention to the conservatorship Spears has been under. These two superfans, Tess Barker and Barbara Gray, were known for their podcast “Britney’s Gram” in which they analyzed some of Britney’s strange social media posts. 

Posts that caught people’s attention were mostly coming from Spears’ Instagram. For example, in some of her posts, she would stare blankly into the camera, dance, or simply rock back and forth. This behavior seemed weird–her new quirky captions were not helping her case–and made fans worried since they had seen breakdowns like this before. 

Spears’ breakdowns have been in the public eye since she started to gain massive popularity. The most well-known breakdown was when she shaved her head in 2007. Instead of giving Britney privacy and help, her face was all over the tabloids and pop culture news and she was soon put into conservatorship under her father. 

As we all know, the public has been obsessed with mental breakdowns and drama. As a middle schooler, I remember seeing tabloids full of paparazzi shots of crazed Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, and Britney Spears. Looking back now, it is so frustrating that only young women were exploited like this. Up and coming men were often praised for their promiscuity and love lives. 

While Spears was paving her way into the Hollywood industry, talk show hosts took advantage of her by asking questions about her sexuality, love life, and her more adult-themed lyrics. This was disappointing when her talent was supposed to be what set her apart from others. 

This documentary did a great job informing the audience about conservatorships and what Spears might be up to now. However, after watching it, I felt more confused and sad than ever. Part of me feels like this documentary taught me well, but the other part of me feels like this was using the star’s trauma for entertainment once again. 

No one will ever know what is happening behind closed doors. For all we know, she could be okay. In my opinion, a documentary about “saving Britney” is the last thing she would want. I believe she wants to be out of the limelight and have her personal life unknown. 

I think there are so many other women celebrities who deserve better like Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Lindsay Lohan, and Amanda Bynes #FreeBritney has done an amazing job raising awareness about Spears’ situation, and hopefully, more organizations come out and help raise awareness about other women in conservatorships.