Here is why the hashtags #FreeBritney and #wearesorrybritney are trending:
1. Free Britney campaign
The Free Britney campaign is filled with dedicated, loyal fans sharing their outpouring love and support for the legendary talent Britney Spears. The campaign uses social media apps like Instagram in hopes to inform the world and convince the court to end the conservatorship that Britney has been in for years. Though court documents indicate that the conservatorship was “voluntary,” the singer is opposed to her father, Jamie, being her conservator. Spears has previously requested that the court appoints a co-conservator to handle any legal arrangements regarding finances and estates.
2. The conservatorship battle
What is a conservatorship? Granted by the court, a conservatorship appoints a conservator to an individual that is mentally unable to care for themselves or the finances they have accumulated over time. According to the dictionary website Merriam-Webster, a conservatorship is created to protect an individual from self-injury or violation due to incompetency that may harm public welfare and interests.
This battle is the main topic in the documentary. It covers the unfortunate, heartbreaking reality of Spears’ ongoing battle to fight for her freedom from the conservatorship.
3. Being famous isn’t all that great
The world has been following Spears’ every move since she was a teenager. We have been watching, but sadly we have not been listening or properly paying attention. Throughout the years, the world has witnessed situations escalating and getting progressively worse with tabloids, paparazzi and lack of privacy surrounding her life. It is gut-wrenching to watch the documentary unfold. Being a famous person has its extreme downfalls. Any human being who is heavily criticized and constantly ripped apart by people they have never met will eventually reach an emotional breaking point. At the end of the day, Spears is human just like the rest of us, and just because she is a celebrity doesn’t mean she should be treated like a puppet.
4. Mental health is so important
The documentary covers the heartbreakingly large amount of hate that was targeted towards Spears throughout the years of her public “breakdown.” She became a punchline on shows; tabloids were exploiting her; paparazzi were attacking her. She was being followed for her every move: what she ate, who she was out with, what she was wearing. The entertainment industry portrayed a negative image of her to the general public, implying that society only fancies individuals that are “picture perfect.”
Society and the general media need to normalize topics like mental health. There needs to be an acknowledgment of and conversations around this topic. We need to listen to one another. Mental Health Awareness Month is coming up in May, but we should not wait a few months to implement the important conversations that need to be happening. Social media can often times produce a toxic environment because it glorifies unrealistic expectations. We need to break the stigma surrounding mental health disorders.
5. The entertainment industry
The audience gets a glimpse into how unequal and sexist the entertainment industry can be. Following the infamous breakup between Spears and singer Justin Timberlake, Spears was criticized, mocked, ridiculed and ripped apart while Timberlake was praised.
6. The uncomfortable moments
Some terribly uncomfortable moments to watch in the documentary included interviews Spears had done. In one interview, the interviewer made a comment saying, “To many, you are a contradiction. On the one hand, you’re a sweet innocent virginal type; on the other hand, you’re a sexy vamp in underwear.” Not only was this terribly disgusting to watch, but the interviewer had no respect for Spears. He was incredibly misogynistic and out of line; he was also probably 30 years her senior.
Verbal harassment, and harassment in general, does not happen exclusively within these different industries.
In an NPR article titled “A New Survey Finds 81 Percent Of Women Have Experienced Sexual Harassment,” a study found that around 77% of women experienced verbal harassment, such as “being catcalled or whistled at or getting unwanted comments of a sexual nature.” Others in the study reported experiences with “physical harassment, cyber harassment and sexual assaults.”
7. Following her on Instagram
The documentary also touches upon fan theories that speculate that Spears is trying to send SOS signals via Instagram posts and captions. Scroll through her comments on Instagram and read a few. Spears’ father Jamie has tried to shut down the fans who are putting the puzzle pieces together, calling them “conspiracy theorists.”
8. The battle is still ongoing
Britney is still fighting for her freedom today after 13 years in the conservatorship.