Britney Spears is a 39-year-old woman, a mother of two, and a world-famous superstar.
Yet for more than 12 years now, she has remained under the control of her father, Jamie Spears.
Fans are increasingly frustrated with her lack of personal or financial autonomy, increasing public scrutiny with the #FreeBritney movement.
Framing Britney Spears is a new documentary that puts the entire conservatorship under a microscope.
This FX documentary is also available for streaming on Hulu, and premiered on February 5, 2021.
Instead of being the product of fan speculation and anxieties, it follows and speaks to key insiders.
The documentary includes lifelong family friend, a marketing executive, a lawyer currently working on the conservatorship, and an attorney Britney once tried to hire to challenge her father.
From the lifelong friend who was with Britney for years, the conservatorship was a shock.
She admits that she did not then truly understand what it meant, and is by no means an expert now.
But in the documentary, she explains how it doesn’t make sense for someone as capable as Britney Spears.
The marketing executive interviewed helped to craft Britney’s image as a pop superstar.
Britney’s image evolved over the years, but it also played a key role in her "breakdown" in 2007 and 2008.
In fact, it was the obsession of those around her with her image that prompted Britney’s decision to shave her head.
In fact, part of the documentary follows that era in particular — how incidents were misrepresented or blown out of proportion.
Because this was the time in Britney’s life when she began to lose her autonomy.
Among other things, Framing Britney Spears reminds us all that Britney’s stress was not only fame-induced. She was going through a custody battle.
Obviously, the documentary also looks at Britney’s fan base.
The #FreeBritney movement has taken the world by storm in recent years, but there have been outspoken objections to the conservatorship for well over a decade.
How has a temporary measure that was only supposed to last for a few days now extended to more than a dozen years?
And why is Jamie Spears so insistent that Britney remain under the conservatorship — with him in charge? He seems especially fixated on managing her investments.
In fact, the documentary delves into how control of Britney’s fortune may be a factor. One doesn’t have to "misplace" money to benefit as a conservator.
We also hear in the documentary that Britney had accepted that the conservatorship would happen, but her sole request was that her father not be in charge.
The documentary also takes a nuanced look at the meme-ification of the #FreeBritney movement.
Some social media users have latched onto Britney’s Instagram videos to search for "clues," a conspiratorial approach that threatens to pain the entire movement in a bad light.
But most of those who aim to #FreeBritney are more concerned with facts, human rights, and her next courtroom challenges than they are with trying to "read" her dance videos.