Chart-topping singer, Britney Spears, is trending in the news again, but not for her music.

The harrowing Framing Britney Spears documentary aired this week, shedding light on the shocking harassment, abuse and objectification that the star has been subjected to since the age of 16.


Capitalising from Britney

Using archive footage and interviews with former colleagues and journalists, the documentary charts Spears’ rise to fame. Perhaps the most upsetting feature comes from the unsettling revelations over the conservatorship battle between Spears and her father, which sees him controlling many aspects of her day-to-day life for over a decade.

The documentary also speculates about Spears’ mental health following the birth of her two children and after divorcing Kevin Federline.

Several interviewers have been criticised for the way they treated the singer during her career. Former boyfriend, Justin Timberlake has also come under fire for supposedly capitalizing on his breakup with Spears as he launched his own solo music career.

#FreeBritney

Viewers of the documentary were quick to comment on what a ‘painful watch’ this was, with one angry viewer suggesting that Framing Britney Spearsmust be a moment of change’. Other fans took to Twitter to share their disgust at how ‘savage and cruel’ the media were, saying how her ‘sad story’ made them ‘mad about sexism all over again’.

As well as her loyal fanbase, many others have expressed their sympathy. Journalist Tamron Hall claimed that ‘it’s an understatement to call it heart-breaking’, and actor Heather Matarazzo described the ‘rage and sadness’ she felt when watching the documentary. Even Miley Cyrus took to publicly showing her support for the veteran superstar during her performance at the Superbowl.

The documentary has been instrumental in getting the #freebritney movement to gain momentous speed. A considerable public effort has been made to free the singer from the constraints she is currently under, with the hashtag setting a trending blaze on Twitter and being used by big Hollywood names.

The movement, which started in 2019, has seen over 104,000 people successfully petition the White House to weigh in on Britney Spears’ conservatorship. Over 185,000 people have already signed a Change.org petition to grant Spears the right to an attorney. Helping the fragile singer who has been entertaining us for over two decades is once again, rightly, at the forefront of our minds.

The documentary is a necessary step to getting justice for Spears who has shockingly so little control over her personal and creative life. But Framing Britney Spears has given us something else to think about; the continuing dominance of the misogynistic and patriarchal empire that is Hollywood and its offshoots.

Britney Spears’ tragic story is not just about a woman’s life being stolen and her human rights confiscated, it is also, sadly, about the chauvinistic society we live in. We must do better to help those who need help: #freebritney.