The #FreeBritney movement is receiving global attention, making headlines, and raising awareness on the toxicity--no pun intended--of conservatorships. Britney Spears, the “Princess of Pop” is known for her catchy songs and fashionable attire. While the “Oops, I did it again!” singer may seem to have it all, Spears is battling with her own struggles - including her fight for freedom.
After Britney Spears’ public breakdown in 2008, in which she shaved her head and attacked a paparazzi car with an umbrella, Spears was put into a mental health hospital. Britney’s father, Jamie Spears, was then granted temporary conservatorship (guardianship put in place when he/she is unable to make their own decisions) over his daughter. But soon after, the court ruled that Mr. Spears had the permanent right to make decisions on Britney’s behalf, including her finances, personal life, business corporations, etc. Britney Spears has since not legally controlled her life for 13 years.
2020 was a worrisome year for Spears fans. After showing signs of being held hostage through her TikTok videos, fans grew alarmed. On April 15th, 2020, an individual commented on her recent TikTok telling her to, “wear yellow if you are being held captive.” On May 5th, Britney wore yellow in a video with her boyfriend, Sam Asghari. Concerned for her safety, another individual commented, “#BritneyWearRed if you need help.” On May 11th, Britney posted a video working out with her boyfriend. She indeed was wearing a red top.
On June 23, 2021, Britney asked the Los Angeles court to end her conservatorship. Spears remarked that the situation unjustly allowed her father, management, and others to hold full power and control over her, “I just want my life back [...] I believe this conservatorship is abusive” (Spears). In her 24 minute testimony, she recalled being forced to live under constant supervision in rehab centers and involuntarily take birth control and lithium. Britney is prohibited from having children due to the IUD planted in her, preventing her from getting pregnant. Although she wanted it removed, her wish has never been fulfilled.
The judge said that Britney’s lawyer can file a formal petition to end the conservatorship. While there is no guarantee that Britney’s wish to end her conservatorship will be granted, it is clear that this movement is more than a hashtag- it is a human rights issue.