Another day, another frightening development in the increasingly sad saga of Britney Spears.
If you've been following the latest news of the pop icon, then you're aware that Britney's fans have become seriously concerned for her well-being -- and with good reason.
Many of their fears stem from Britney's conservatorship, which has been in place since 2008, and has allegedly deprived her of her basic rights and freedoms.
It's common knowledge that Britney does not have control over her $60 million fortune or major decisions regarding her career.
Now, fans fear that she's not even permitted to leave the house or communicate with her adoring public.
The concerns that Britney is being held captive stem largely from her Instagram posts, in which she frequently behaves in an erratic fashion.
Her short video clips are often accompanied by nonsensical captions, in which the singer makes frequent, confusing references to colors and plants.
Some fans believe these are clandestine cries for help, that Spears is communicating with her fans through coded messages.
Others believe that they're simply an indication of a woman who is suffering from mental illness and not receiving the treatment she needs.
Whatever the case, both groups agree that the latest development is the most troubling of all -- Spears has disappeared from Instagram entirely.
After months of posting every day -- often several times a day -- Britney has been silent on the site for over a week.
Her unexpected absence comes as her latest legal battle is intensifying.
Back in August, Spears lost a court case against her father, Jamie Spears., as a judge ruled that her controversial conservatorship should continue until at least February of 2021.
Now, Britney and her legal team are appealing the decision in what some observers have described as a literal fight for her life.
In one of the case's most dramatic moments, Britney's lawyers claimed that she's mentally unfit to give testimony in court.
This included comparing her to a comatose patient whose fate is being decided without her understanding or consent.
Now, Jamie Spears is lashing out against that description and claiming that he can prove his daughter is perfectly aware of what's happening.
According to a new report from TMZ, Jamie is using the upcoming election as proof of Britney's mental competence, pointing out that she still retains certain rights, including the right to vote.
In recently filed court docs, Jamie lashed out at Britney's attorney, Sam Ingham, arguing that he does not have the right to be her "exclusive voice."
The bickering involves Britney's decision to retire from performing, something her father claims she's capable of explaining to the court herself.
When a judge asked why Britney has not filed a declaration about her career intent, Ingham argued that she's not mentally equipped to do so.
Ironically, the situation finds Jamie arguing in favor of his daughter's mental competence and pushing for her to testify in court.
This is a development that would surely attract a great deal of media attention to the case.
As for Britney's disappearance from Instagram, she might be keeping a low profile on the advice of her attorneys.
Either way, you can be sure the #FreeBritney community will be paying close attention if and when Britney takes the stand.
Most do not buy into the "coded messages" stuff, and instead of treating her freedom as a meme, prefer to actually care about her human rights.
Recently, Britney's makeup artist compared her conservatorship to The Handmaid's Tale.
The analogy including the dystopian story in which women have lost all reproductive autonomy sounds like it was hitting the nail on the head.
According to that interview, Britney is unable to have a baby at the moment -- but if she were free, she would be married to Sam Asghari and would already have a baby with him.
In that same podcast, it was reported that Sam went through "hell" just to be able to date her as her boyfriend.
Many have suspected that he may have had to sign non-disclosure agreements that effectively bar him from being a vocal advocate for Britney.
And it's not just fans, makeup artist, and former acquaintances who are concerned.
Paris Hilton has spoken a great deal about personal freedoms and autonomy and how easily those can be taken away -- having experienced it herself as a teen.
She has acknowledged that Britney's life is strictly controlled.
As fans are painfully aware, Britney can make few of her own choices, and is not permitted to drive her own car. She is reportedly unable to vote.
Britney's conservatorship began in 2008 after a breakdown led to the court granting a temporary conservatorship.
It is alleged that aspects of Britney's behavior that led to her loss of freedoms were a set-up. A letter, said to be from Britney herself, has claimed as much.
But that weekend conservatorship has dragged on for twelve outrageous years. When will enough be enough?
Matters are made worse by the fact that her awful father Jamie Spears is involved in the conservatorship.
Jamie allegedly attacked one of her young sons last year. Both of her boys have since been granted restraining 3-year restraining orders.
Many fans are hopeful that Jayden James and Sean Preston will remain protected from Jamie for the rest of his life.
Speaking of Britney's boys, Britney is widely known for being an especially good mother.
She has allowed her boys to step out of the spotlight when they want to.
When their schoolwork became more advanced, she hired a tutor -- to teach her how to help them with their math.
Britney is a wonderful woman and a talented pop star -- one of the greatest fixtures in music that the world has ever seen.
She is also a human being, deserving of all of the fundamental human rights that go with that.
Fans remain hopeful that Britney's court date in February will remedy all injustices, but others have their doubts that any good news will come of it.