Britney Spears’ fans call for her freedom and support the singer in the fight to regain her legal autonomy.
Since 2008, James Parnell Spears, Britney Spears’ father, has had legal guardianship of the singer. James is legally authorized to make all decisions concerning her, including financial and employment decisions. The guardianship was granted at the pop princess’ worst public moment. The paparazzi hounded her day and night, and she could not find a place to escape, she was going through a legal battle for the custody of her children and the media pressure made her collapse emotionally.
Britney started at the age of 11 in show business, being part of the Mickey Mouse series in which she acted alongside Christina Aguilera, Keri Rusell, J.C. Chasez and Justin Timberlake, the latter was her official partner years later. The show was cancelled after two years and her family was left bankrupt, because, apparently, it was little Britney who supported the household with the money from her work.
At the age of 16, she signed a contract with the record label Jive Records and released the song that would take her to fame “Baby One More Time”. The album became one of the most successful of the moment, with more than 30 million copies sold. From that moment on, financial shortcomings were a thing of the past for the Spears family.
In the 2000s, Britney’s image appeared on every magazine cover, at events, advertising campaigns and on international tours. Baby One More Time was the beginning of a career on the rise, followed by many more, such as Oops! I Did It Again and Britney In The Zone. But this fame was accompanied by constant harassment from paparazzi and media.
Britney’s record label built an image of an innocent and sweet girl who at the same time was a sexual fantasy for men, a duality difficult to sustain over time. The label was in charge of molding Britney’s life as it pleased, the choices of wardrobe, campaigns, events, the tone of voice and the companies she had to keep, did not go through the singer.
She became a commodity from which everyone around earned income, but over which she herself had no control. In an interview, Britney talked about her shyness, and how uncomfortable the constant sexualization and exposure she was subjected to by her company, family and managers made her feel, producing emotional breakdowns in her.
In 2008, she got tired and decided to defy the feminine aesthetic impositions, she went into a hairdresser and shaved her head with a razor. After the emotional breakup she was going through, she lost 70% of her children’s custody in a legal fight with her ex-husband Kevin Federline and was also forced to have a legal guardian to take care of all her decisions, this measure was taken under the argument of “protecting” the singer. Initially, it would be for a year, but at the end of that time, they went to trial, and it was decided that it would be for life, forever her father or a guardian would take all control over her.
On Wednesday, June 23, Britney took the courage to fight for her freedom again. In the hearing, which was recorded and later broadcast in international media, the singer narrated the suffering she has endured for 13 years. The level of aggressions she has lived through goes as far as the impossibility of removing from her body an intrauterine contraceptive method that does not allow her to become a mother. On one occasion, she was forced to perform a concert while she had a fever of 39 degrees and her body could not stand on its own.
In the story, Britney said she felt that the treatment she received was equal to that of people who were exploited by prostitution or forced labor networks, because the times she refused to work, she was threatened and medicated with pills that made her lose even more bodily autonomy. At the hearing, she asked to be emancipated from her father, who receives $16,000 dollars a month for caregiving, while she only has access to $6,000 dollars a month of the money she has worked for all her life.
At the hearing, the pop princess made reference to the fact that she did not feel heard or taken seriously by the court and that she hoped that this time they could notice how contradictory it can be, that someone works for more than 10 hours a day, has a company that employs other people and financially supports her ex-husband and the rest of her family, but cannot be autonomous to decide about her own money, the contraceptive methods she uses and the people she sees.
The #FreeBritney movement continues to protest so that the tragedy experienced by the pop diva is not forgotten. A woman who has managed to create a fortune of more than $60 million should be able to choose where, how and with whom she wants to spend it. Britney’s episodes of breakdown have been the product of a society that demands perfection from a woman, while publicly abusing and humiliating her, from the #YoDigoNoMás movement we hope, that her fans can raise their voices and that she regains her freedom.
You can be part of the change, join this movement on behalf of yourself or hundreds of victims who have not been able to find their voice to speak out against this scourge.
Find the multiple options we have to get involved with the movement and make your voice heard.