On February 5, 2021, “The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears” was released on streaming giant Hulu in partnership with FX. The hour and 15 minute long documentary details the pop princess’s rise to fame, her struggles with the paparazzi, and her life now under the conservatorship of her father, Jamie Spears.
The documentary has been praised as it changes the Britney Spears narrative society has come to know. The documentary shows that she wasn’t just a puppet, and that this conservatorship is not in Britney’s best interest. Britney is just fine on her own- and the documentary not so subtly hints that her father may just be in this conservator role to gain some of Britney’s money, as he had never played a huge role in her life before this opportunity for him came along.
The documentary also addresses the impact that the constant hounding from the paparazzi and negative press coverage had on Britney. One of the hosts of the popular podcast, Britney’s Gram that was highlighted in the documentary and helped start the Free Britney movement said “this would have never happened to a man,” and she’s probably right. The fascination with this teen pop sensation was uniquely female, and along with that comes ultra-negative scrutiny.
Britney’s now infamous April 1999 Rolling Stone cover shoot is one of the prime examples of how she was over sexualized. Being that she was just a teenager, the photos are quite salacious and drew criticism from parents of Britney’s mostly young fanbase. But, as the documentary examines, this is what teenage girls wanted, they had a want to be sexy, and they saw it in Britney Spears. These loyal fans have followed Britney since the advent of her career with “…Baby One More Time” and are now leading the charge to end her conservatorship
The aforementioned podcast Britney’s Gram was started by comedians Tess Barker and Barbara Gray to “discuss and dissect Britney Spears’s Instagram posts.” While examining Britney’s posts, the women began to notice cryptic messages that Britney seemed to be writing expressing her want to get out of her conservatorship, which has been an ongoing battle. Fans immediately jumped and began commenting to try and reach out to Britney. One example was when a fan commented on one of Britney’s TikToks, “if you need help wear yellow in your next video” and in the next video, Britney wears a yellow shirt.
The fight to end her father’s conservatorship has been and will be a long one, and Britney deserves the right to see her children, have control over her finances, and ultimately live her own life. As of right now, she’s fighting back by refusing to perform until the conservatorship is lifted, and with good reason, as her father isn’t profiting off of her. “Framing Britney Spears” is currently streaming on Hulu and FX networks and is a must see for any pop culture fanatic.