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Washington Post on the Documentary

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3 hours ago, bachelorette said:

Washington Post made an article about the documentary but it is also a broader story and context. The comment section under the Facebook post about the article is very kind, and it also has like 5x more comments than their other posts. 

Don't know if it has been already posted, haven't found anything but if it were, I'm sorry, please delete the thread :)

Decided to post the full article, since I have the subscription. Here is the link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2021/02/05/framing-britney-spears-documentary/

Here is the full article: 

Britney Spears and the trauma of being young, female and famous in the ’90s

It’s become pretty trendy, re-litigating the headline controversies of the late ’90s and early 2000s. Netflix’s “The Crown” recently revisited the royal English intrigue of Prince Charles and Princess Diana; ESPN’s “The Last Dance” told the behind-the-scenes story of the other most famous dynasty of the time, the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls. Slate’s “Slow Burn” podcast has reexamined the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton and the feud between Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.; the popular history-retold podcast “You’re Wrong About” has lately covered the O.J. Simpson trial, the D.C. sniper attacks and the Y2K panic. And why not? It’s clear there’s an appetite among the key 18-to-34 demographic to reexamine as adults what they remember absorbing in fragments during childhood.

“Framing Britney Spears,” the sixth installment of FX and Hulu’s “The New York Times Presents” series of stand-alone documentaries, premieres Feb. 5 and aims to untangle for the casual pop-culture consumer the convoluted legal battles facing pop superstar Britney Spears. To the extent possible, director Samantha Stark reports out how Spears, seemingly capable and thus an unlikely candidate for a conservatorship, wound up under the long-term supervision of her father, Jamie Spears.

The documentary only gets as close to Spears as any other reporting project in the past decade — which is to say, not very close. The list of people who are revealed to have declined to speak to the Times includes both of Spears’s parents, her sister and brother, her ex-husband Kevin Federline and a former adviser. Then, an epilogue reveals that it’s unclear whether Spears herself received the requests for her participation.

Consequently, much of what’s in it has been known to devoted fans and interested followers for a long time: The conservatorship has historically given Spears’s father significant control over her daily life and her money, seems suspect to many outsiders, and has only recently been updated by a judge to put a bank in charge of Spears’s finances rather than her father. In 2019, Jamie stepped away from his role supervising Britney’s day-to-day life, but only temporarily; a professional conservator has acted in his stead.

Footage filmed by a fan shows a man storming the stage as Britney Spears performed at a Las Vegas show in August 2017. (Reuters)
But the strength of “Framing Britney Spears” isn’t in its new revelations; it’s in its thoughtful hindsight, which positions it squarely within that “1990s, reevaluated” genre. The documentary wisely revisits Spears’s breakneck-speed ascent beginning in 1998, quietly making the case that fame in that era — particularly for young women — was traumatizing, and that the booming tabloid industry of the time played a role in Spears’s current predicament that shouldn’t be overlooked.

As Times critic at large Wesley Morris points out in the episode, Spears rose to fame during the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal, when young women’s ***ual desires were being discussed in public at once frankly, pruriently and scornfully. As a result, little daylight existed between fame as a young, attractive woman with any hint of a *** life and what we now know as public shaming. The media — both the tabloids and more credible, high-profile outlets — hounded women like Spears for disturbingly intimate details of their lives, then belittled and even villainized them for those very details.

To illustrate just how little of Spears’s private life remained private, Stark includes footage from the early 2000s of Spears being asked, before a room full of reporters, whether she’s a virgin; she confirms in a soft voice that she’s waiting until marriage. Moments later, a voice-over plays of Justin Timberlake, Spears’s ex-boyfriend, telling a radio host he slept with Spears. A Details cover depicting Timberlake and congratulating him for “getting into Britney’s pants” appears on-screen.

Even acclaimed TV journalists subject her to denigrating lines of questioning about her personal life. In an interview clip, ABC’s Diane Sawyer quotes the first lady of Maryland as saying she wishes she could “shoot Britney Spears” for being a poor role model. When Spears responds in horror, Sawyer appears to defend the statement: “Because of the example for kids, and how hard it is to be a parent.” After Spears was pictured driving away from aggressive paparazzi with her son in her lap in 2004, NBC’s Matt Lauer asks her to respond to accusations that she’s a bad mother for not using a car seat. Spears fights to hold it together before openly weeping in both interviews.

What “Framing Britney Spears” evokes so viscerally is the claustrophobia and frustration of being Britney Spears. As a young pop superstar, Spears is seen grinning and bearing it while photographers crowd around her car at a drive-through; later, she’s seen covering her face from camera flashes while she exits a gas station, while she hurries through a parking lot, while she dines in a restaurant. “I’m scared. I’m scared,” she repeats as she’s hustled through a gaggle of paparazzi gathered outside a store.

So by the time the infamous 2007 footage of Spears — wild-eyed and defiantly bald, fresh off a confrontation with Federline over custody of their two sons — attacking a paparazzo’s SUV with an umbrella appears, what’s newly surprising about this well-trod story line is that this is the first car door Spears has dented in nine years of fame. “That night was not a good night for her. And it was not a good night for us,” the paparazzo whose car Spears damaged tells Stark. Then he changes his tune: “But it was a good night for us, because it was a money shot.”

The episode makes clear that Spears was unwell at the time; it’s said that her mother believed she was suffering from postpartum depression during her 2006 divorce and the subsequent custody battle. But it also forces the viewer to consider it head-on: If this were your life, wouldn’t you act out, too? The documentary then cuts to Spears’s hospitalization and involuntary psychiatric evaluation following a dispute with Federline in early 2008, which led to the then-temporary conservatorship that Spears’s father still holds over her today.

It’s come to light in recent years just how damaging the late ‘90s and 2000s were for young women in the spotlight. Other female celebrities whose names similarly became punchlines back then have re-emerged, revealed themselves to be far more thoughtful and vulnerable than those jokes years ago implied, and addressed the psychological toll those years of tabloid celebrity took.

Lewinsky, for example, gave a TED Talk in 2015. After disarming one-liners about berets and being “the only person over 40 who does not want to be 22 again,” Lewinsky revealed that in the months when the Clinton impeachment trial put her in the news every day, her mother made her shower with the bathroom door open, for fear she would harm herself while she had the privacy.

Jessica Simpson’s 2020 memoir, “Open Book,” detailed how the tabloid frenzy that erupted when she wore a pair of high-waisted, then-uncool “mom jeans” in 2009 exacerbated an existing diet-pill habit.

And in last year’s “This Is Paris,” the YouTube documentary about Paris Hilton, Hilton’s voice — her real voice, deeper and more mature than the one you remember — wavers as she recalls 2003, when *** tapes filmed by her ex-boyfriend were released online. “That was my first real relationship,” she says. “That was a private moment of a teenage girl not in the right head space. To have everyone watching it, laughing, like it’s something funny …” Hilton’s voice trails off. A clip of David Letterman rolls: “Have you seen ’em?” he asks a studio audience. He grins. “I’ve seen ’em.” Moments later, the camera cuts to Hilton bugging her own home, installing hidden cameras before she lets a new boyfriend spend time there alone.

Stark’s “Framing Britney Spears” provides a similar glimpse at the human, warped and tortured but ultimately resilient, inside the celebrity. In light of recent revelations like Hilton’s, Simpson’s and Lewinsky’s, it seems newly remarkable that Spears has not just lived to tell the tale but remained, apparently voluntarily, visible in the public eye. The tragedy, of course, is that Spears still can’t tell that tale herself.

those women unlike Britney did everything to be/stay in the spotlight no matter what 'talent' did they have. They were petty and mostly fake. britney that everybody believed has a puppet was real and trapped.

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1 minute ago, pop analyst said:

those women unlike Britney did everything to be/stay in the spotlight no matter what 'talent' did they have. They were petty and mostly fake. britney that everybody believed has a puppet was real and trapped.

I also didn't like that part. Comparing her to Paris Hilton or Jessica Simpson. I didn't like this compartmentalizing of Britney with these other girls. No. This is a separate story, a separate phenomenon, and nothing like this has happened to any other celebrity. 

But overall, the article is okay and it's a large readership. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
18 hours ago, Bundy said:

No problem: 

Opinion: Did Britney Spears grow up? Or did we?

“LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!” vlogger Chris Crocker begged tearfully in a viral 2007 video. We didn’t then, and we still can’t today.

A new documentary by the New York Times tells the story of Britney Spears, a tale most of us know well because it was plastered all over the tabloids and even major news networks throughout the aughts. What’s different is the way this new version is told: with sympathy, when the public’s relationship with this pop star until recently bordered on sadism.

You might remember Spears from her songs, belted out in tuneless unison by a gaggle of sixth-grade girls at a sleepover, perhaps, or viewed over and over on MTV. Or you might remember her rise and her unraveling, chronicled ad nauseam by professional gossipmongers and bona fide establishment interviewers alike. This chronicle is steeped in nonchalant misogyny.

“Do you have a boyfriend?” Ed McMahon asked her after a performance when she was 10 years old.

“Everyone’s talking about it,” another interviewer asked a teenage Britney. Talking about what? “Well, your breasts!”

The wife of Maryland’s then-governor said in 2003 that she would shoot the singer if given the opportunity. Diane Sawyer played that clip back to its subject, who called the comment “horrible.”

The unraveling came fast and seemed endless. You may remember when Spears shaved her head, or when she used an umbrella to beat on a photographer’s car. The paparazzi pursued her without quarter, desperate to prove the narrative that she wasn’t fit to be a parent, which in turn spurred behavior that fulfilled the prophecy. The voyeurs and watchers lapped it all up, and more than that, they laughed about it.

This was the era of the celebrity-industrial complex, when Perez Hilton made his name following Paris Hilton around. The most interesting thing about artists was no longer their art, but rather their often-messy lives. “Stars … they’re just like us!” chirped the checkout-aisle magazines, introducing full-page spreads of Hollywood’s best grabbing lattes in shlumpy sweatpants.

Celebrities, once distant, suddenly seemed within reach. Everyday folks were no longer satisfied with aspiring to fame; they wanted to relate to the famous. But to really relate, they had to do something that made the powerful seem less powerful — like snickering at a woman with multiplatinum records when her perfectly manicured image started to chip. These jokes were akin to punching up; their aim was to take the venerated down a notch, so that the rest of us could finally touch them.

The harm, people reasoned, was minimal. Could someone who moved and shook the zeitgeist as often as Spears did really be as vulnerable as the rest of us? Impossible.

It seems quite possible now. The New York Times documentary, titled “Framing Britney Spears,” runs through the worst hits of our grotesque treatment of a wunderkind turned Grammy winner — culminating in a court-sanctioned conservatorship. These arrangements, awarding someone stewardship of another person or their estate, are usually reserved for the elderly, or those who can’t take care of themselves or their money. They’re not usually imposed on performers in their 20s, as Spears was 13 years ago when she entered into an agreement that gives her father control of her fortune and everyday existence.

This incongruity spawned the “Free Britney” movement among her fans, who advocate for the liberty of their ride-or-die. She doesn’t want this, they say — and they engage in painstaking biopsies of her Instagram posts that they claim are crammed with coded messages. Example: She says she likes Disney’s animated film “Frozen.” Because its heroine Elsa runs away to a castle? Then she, too, must crave escape!

Fair enough: Difficult as it is to assess her state of mind from scattered social media missives, Spears doesn’t seem to want this, according to recent filings from her lawyer that say she is “vehemently opposed to this effort by her father to keep her legal struggle hidden away in the closet as a family secret.” And she even “appreciates her fans’ informed support.”

This is progress, to a point. Certainly, our attitudes toward mental health have transformed over recent years, and maybe that alone would stop us from snickering if a famous young mother were struggling today. But our protective urge toward this pop star only showed up when she became someone to pity rather than someone to envy. Now that we know Spears is a virtual captive, we want her to be free. All the while, we forget that we helped make her a captive in the first place.

We are as much to blame as she is for what happened to a little girl from “The Mickey Mouse Club” years ago. We treated her like a cautionary tale until she became one. We stuffed her full of the faults we wished she would have, to feel better about ourselves — and our inability to be Britney Spears. We wrote her story for her, when we all deserve to write our own.

Now, no one wants to be Spears, which makes us less likely to repeat these mistakes out of malice. But we risk repeating them out of benevolence. Spears can’t really speak for herself, so her pop-star-whispering fans on Instagram and elsewhere are speaking for her.

Is that really freedom? Spears isn’t allowed to say.

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On 2/6/2021 at 11:19 PM, pop analyst said:

I had already seen the cover of that newspaper but I had never seen the article they had written about it.


This painting they did about the three is one of the most horrific, ***ist and male chauvinist things I have ever read, how these three were portrayed by the media at that time and how the general public went after everything they said. :decisions_britney_thinking_confused_focusing_unsure_xfactor_bw_black_white:

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