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Perspective: Britney's Freedom is a battle with America's Toxic Celebrity Culture

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In honor of Brit’s bday & freedom I wrote a piece for MEDIUM ☺️ It’s my first post so if you like it please support my writing on the website with a clap! I joined BH forum hoping to engage with people and discuss concepts, theories, etc, that are elaborated as more than a twitter-character count... but I have found long posts / replies tend to get ignored.  :melt_weird_drift_wow: Share your thoughts below, I'd love to hear them!


Gimme More: Britney’s Freedom is a Battle with America’s Toxic Celebrity Obsession

Forever the Princess of Pop, Britney Spears paved the way for generations of female darlings to come. She pioneered music and fashion trends that were ahead of her time and was deemed the most powerful celebrity on the planet by Forbes at only 21. The soundtrack to every millennial’s life, Britney was our first Miss America (Sorry, not sorry, Taylor). Finally freed from the confines of her abusive and financially exploitive conservatorship, it’s now time America gives Britney her autonomy back.

All of us can catalogue moments of our life associated with different eras of Britney, and we as a society must take accountability for our unhealthy consumption of celebrity gossip. Britney’s initial success was in part due to her relatability and charm; however as she grew up, we turned on her for experiencing the mistakes that naturally come when adulting as a public figure.

America needs to revaluate its celebrity obsession and especially consider why women are always held to a different standard than men.America lacks a formal institution to gawk at — such as royalty — so we idealize strangers, projecting our shared experience onto people that seem relatable, yet, have achieved more than us. This emboldens a one-sided relationship that can lead to unhealthy worshipping with people that we think we know. The public’s thirst for more is exactly what permitted Britney to become enslaved before our very eyes.

For 13 years she maintained a smile while continuing to perform the hits that pigeon-holed her as Britney — the first-name-only ascription of an icon. Britney’s conservatorship gave us just enough more to keep her brand alive, but never allowed Britney herself to grow up. Stay youthful, always be ****, release dance hits, and perform them with the full-out choreography synonymous with the Britney brand — Work, *****, indeed — a song which now has a terrible aftertaste considering the allegations Britney publicly spoke about on June 23.

Surprisingly showcased to the world under the restraints of the hushed-hushed topic of the conservatorship, the Britney media narrative over the years focused on her multiple work projects, yet we heard very little from her. In hindsight, it’s alarming the pressure put upon Britney to remain complacent for so many years while delivering financial success for the very people that stripped her of her freedom. She’s said she is angry — and rightfully so!

With the growing noise of the #FreeBritney movement, the public began to understand that Britney was not saved in 2008 by a permanent conservatorship — she was jailed. A carefully crafted PR narrative driven by her camp egregiously enabled a patriarchal society and negligent court system. Together this sustained an arrangement that was shockingly described to the court as a “hybrid-business model” — as if the glaring hypocrisy of a highly functioning stage performer being likened to a senile hospice patient wasn’t ridiculous enough!

Slowly, the cracks in this ongoing racketeering arrangement began to show. Labeled a conspiracy theory in the beginning by her father, the #FreeBritney movement brought credibility and national reform to a movement that needed a larger voice: probate reform. Only Britney Spears changing history, once again!


It’s worth highlighting that Britney’s prime was during the last years of pop mono-culture, the brief moment in time before the boom of the internet and streaming era, when MTV’s TRL still had the power to shut down Times Square. Nowadays, we are inundated with endless videos of beautiful bodies and slick choreography, but Britney was the first young artist to master this production and bring it to the masses. Her live performances were unmatched, solidifying her as a true pop icon that constantly outdid herself.

Britney provided gay men the space to accept themselves when society was more exclusive rather than inclusive. She was coined the pop star that “all girls wanted to be and all boys want to be with” but Britney really should have been likened to an older sister, a role model for how to be fearless(not virginal, as her brand teased and the media thirsted after) — Britneyhelped usher in our confidence to unapologetically face the world.

As Britney began to navigate her adult life, the public criticized her personal life — as if, it too, were a stage performance. Women, in particular, live in a 24/7 cycle of celebrity engagement and are covered far more than their male colleagues. As a culture, we didn’t allow Britney the yin and yang necessary for any person to survive. We expected constant perfection, detaching her from her own humanity and viewing her only as a product, which later her team capitalized on. Our culture creates demigods out of celebrities. The voyeurism that’s normalized around famous people is not healthy to the human psyche, nor sustainable for a lifetime.

Social media has finally allowed celebrities to direct their own narrative, taking away much of the power that fueled the tabloid culture that contributed to Britney’s rights being taken away. But so did we... Just because we weren’t the ones on the ground doesn’t absolve our consumption of the product. That’s why the #FreeBritney movement became a unification across all of pop culture — it was about the fans and the world fighting for the freedom of a woman who had helped free them. Stronger together!

In the early oughts the general public’s reaction to the pitfalls of celebrity was “they asked for it” — meaning, stars understood the karmic contract that was signed by default when pursuing a career in entertainment; Deserving of the scrutiny that comes along with the very idolization that secures their lifestyle.

Truthfully, Britney explicitly desired the opposite. During interviews for her first album, Britney candidly spoke about her ideal to have enough money to buy a large home to raise a family in. We didn’t listen to her. The media projected onto Britney what we wanted her to be, holding her authenticity hostage. The fans wanted more songs, her label needed more hits, the media was hungry for more stories, and Team Britney wanted as many commission opportunities as possible. Gimme More indeed.

Unfortunately, this is one of many times that Britney wasn’t listened to. Lucky was an eerie prediction, Overprotected warned us, she kindly requested empathy in Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman, and insisted with her cover of My Prerogative to be left alone. More shockingly relevant is that the court system didn’t listen to her when she voiced the same abuses in 2019 that she publicly spoke about in 2021.

We finally heard you Britney.

In order to continue #FREEDBRITNEY we must release all expectations of the Britney we think we know and graciously support her directing her life and career according to her own authority. Britney spent her youth gifting the world with entertainment and providing a safe space for fans at a time when society was more exclusive rather than inclusive. Now, America must return the favor by supporting Britney’s next chapter without judgement, as she did for us.

In 2007, “Leave Britney alone!” was deemed a joke by the media, but hopefully this time Chris Crocker’s outcry will resonate.

Happy Birthday and congratulations to Britney Spears! Let us all please support her with her choices now — whether she wants to retire indefinitely, or focus on raising a family before performing on stage again …One more time.

PS — part of continuing to #FreeBritney means please do not give TMZ paparazzi photos any click$!

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Back in 2002-2007 I would be on the forums and I would click the links to X-17, TMZ to see the pictures, videos so in that way I do feel partially complicit in that negative media cycle. 

Now I’ve corrected and will not touch external links to these garbage places. 

So many people, including fans just wanted more and weren’t thinking about the consequences. 

For me, I’ve always looked up to Britney like as you put it “the cool big sister” that I didn’t have. She made the best music, had an amazing stage presence, yet was goofy/funny and relatable.  She taught me to be fearless and I love she doesn’t give a ****. She lived by the beat of her own drum. 


I will continue to support Britney in whatever it is she wants to do and continue defending her like I have the past 18+ years. 


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20 hours ago, Onyxgirl17 said:

Back in 2002-2007 I would be on the forums and I would click the links to X-17, TMZ to see the pictures, videos so in that way I do feel partially complicit in that negative media cycle. 

Now I’ve corrected and will not touch external links to these garbage places. 

So many people, including fans just wanted more and weren’t thinking about the consequences. 

I 100% agree and I feel the same. Especially  when it comes to dissecting her performances, drive, and "fire", and talking about how she lost her passion, as if she owed us anything. I feel totally complacent when it comes to criticizing some of these eras. Of course, we have to give ourselves compassion as we had no idea during this time what was really gone (and we still are only at the tip of the iceberg I'm sure), but what is sad is that her team capitalized on this... Larry almost gaslight us. "She's going to be dancing better than ever before" -- "She's going to be singing almost 90% live the entire show" -- it's almost like, they knew Britney didn't have much passion, but they had to excite the fanbase to make money, especially when it came to Vegas. 

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