‘Framing Britney Spears’ highlights the misogyny that female celebrities face


Photo courtesy of Glenn Francis

Britney Spears in 2013

The New York Times Presents “Framing Britney Spears” premiered Feb. 5 on FX and Hulu, and it has added fuel to a preexisting flame: The “Free Britney” movement. This movement is dedicated to releasing Spears from her father’s conservatorship because of the misogyny that she faced for her entire career, and unfortunately, we still see so many other female celebrities facing the same misogyny. 

As her conservator, Spears’s father, Jamie Spears, controls her daily affairs and financial decisions, and many people including Britney herself have petitioned to have him removed from this role. In court on Feb. 11, a judge ruled against her father’s objection to a third-party, and  Bessemer Trust, a private company, was named as a co-conservator of her estate. 

Many people were hoping for her father to be fully removed as her conservator, but Spears has shown she is not fit to manage due to her history of meltdowns. Throughout the conservatorship, her father has managed to revitalize her once diminishing career back to where it is today. If a judge ruled that Jamie Spears should stay on as a co-conservator, they must know that it is in her best interest. 

With that being said, Britney Spears deserves much better. Spears had a few infamous outbursts that were invasively captured by paparazzi which led to the conclusion that she was incapable of caring for herself. However, Spears is not at fault for these outbursts. The only reason that she began to spiral out of control was because of mental health issues that resulted from the horrible treatment that she has been subjected to for her entire career.

Spears was hyper-sexualized as young as the age of ten by the media, and throughout her teenage years, she was subjected to uncomfortable questions about her body and her virginity. This was prior to the conservatorship when her father was not very involved in her life, but regardless, no teenage girl should ever be on live television answering questions about her relationship status, let alone be questioned by an adult male about her breasts.

To add to the pressure of being a young female celebrity, Spears was hounded by paparazzi wherever she went. The height of her career was also the height of celebrity tabloid journalism, meaning she was incapable of doing anything without being recognized or followed. Paparazzi watched her all day hoping to catch her mistakes in an attempt to sell them to news outlets and profit off her downfall. 

With so many people treating Spears like her only value was her looks and never allowing her to relax or feel safe outside of her home, it is no wonder that she began to rebel against the narrative that the media created for her.

Thankfully, the way Spears was treated wouldn’t be tolerated now, but that doesn’t mean young female celebrities live their lives misogyny-free. It may not be as obvious as the shocking interview questions of the past, but we still see female celebrities facing unfair judgment because of their appearance. 

Billie Elish, an 18-year-old singer who is known to wear baggy clothes, was the victim of this judgment when she wore clothes that fit her, and people would not stop talking about it.

Social media is filled with comments over-sexualizing young women, and people have normalized discussing their bodies on posts that have nothing to do with how they look or what they’re wearing.

For now, female celebrities are still prone to misogyny, but hopefully, people can learn from Spears’s situation before they harass the next big star.