What Do We Need To #FreeBritney From?

What Do We Need To #FreeBritney From?

Britney Spears has been in the global spotlight since she was a teenager. She has not been able to leave her house without being swarmed by paparazzi SINCE THE 90S. I am of the Chris Crocker camp in that we need to let this woman live her life without forcing her to let her in on it. Most recently, fans have been concerned that she is being “held hostage” by an unjust conservatorship.

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Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Ryan Gosling (1993)

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Part of me wants to be one less person that sticks my nose into Britney’s business. I try not to read too deeply into her Instagram posts and captions and take them for what they are: a 38-year-old woman who is just trying to have a good time. The other part of me is trying to decipher exactly what Britney is trying to say, even when she’s really saying nothing at all. I love a conspiracy theory, but the continued sensationalism of Britney’s life is getting to be inhumane. But once the ACLU got involved in August, I realized that this is more than just an internet story, this is a human rights story.

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So here’s what everyone is freaking out about: During Britney’s notorious meltdown in 2008, she was placed under a conservatorship while she was in the hospital, which means there was a person assigned to control all of her personal assets, which started as her father and was then passed to her manager in 2019 after her dad resigned. A conservatorship is usually for someone who is in a coma or otherwise incapacitated, and the grounds for her conservatorship was “early-onset dementia” that she was supposedly diagnosed with in her early 20s.

As someone who works with patients with dementia, I can tell you that early-onset dementia usually has a rapid progression and is rarely ever diagnosed *that* early. Let’s say for argument’s sake that she does have early-onset dementia; in the last 12 years that she has been in a conservatorship, she has released 4 albums, had a 4-year Vegas residency, released fashion and fragrance products, and appeared as a judge on The X Factor.

The reason that a conservatorship is debilitating is that it means Britney can’t make decisions for herself; she can’t spend her own money, see her kids (she also lost a portion of her custody because her father assaulted her son), or even leave the house without the permission of the conservator. If she truly had early-onset dementia that has been progressing for 12 years and she was still alive, she would not be able to walk or talk, let alone absolutely murder her choreography. Though Britney has been in a mental health facility as recently as April 2019, this does not warrant her civil rights taken away from her.

For someone who is internationally beloved and altogether nonproblematic, she has been treated unfairly by both the public and her family. Her father allegedly controls every aspect of her life, and the public tear her every move apart. There’s even a podcast dedicated to “analyzing” her Instagram posts.

Although Britney has asserted on Instagram that she is in control of her life and it is unclear which fan theories are true, the one thing that stands out is there are several parts of her life that we need to #free her from.

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