Framing Britney Spears follows the gut-wrenching struggles and tribulations of Britney throughout her life in the public eye. The documentary features interviews with different people from Britney’s life who help shed light on her life beyond the cameras.
The documentary begins with videos and images from Britney’s rise to stardom. These clips show Britney performing on TV at just 10 years old, helping viewers remember why the world fell in love with her in the first place. Interviewers explained that even amongst Britney’s rise she did not lose touch of her roots; she even spent one Christmas at home in Kentwood, Louisiana handing out $100 bills to each person she passed.
However, the documentary quickly shifts to Britney’s adult life to focus on the relationship between her and Justin Timberlake. Videos and interviews help to portray the intense admiration fans had for one of the first and only Hollywood couples of the time. When the two finally split, though, Britney was put through the wringer. Timberlake constantly alluded to the idea that Britney cheated on him, and for this, she was publicly shamed. The music video and lyrics of Timberlake’s song “Cry Me A River,” portray Britney in a negative light, causing viewers to believe she slept with other men while the two were together. The documentary highlights the huge discrepancies between the way Britney was treated in the press as opposed to how Justin was treated. The press took advantage of Britney being a woman and her appearance to deeply criticize her actions and decisions. This “slut-shaming” has continued throughout Britney’s life in the public eye and has played a huge role in her downfalls.
When Britney got married and had kids, the shaming and paparazzi invasion was brought to a new level. She was attacked for anything and everything she did with her kids. People were constantly degrading her as a mother and a person, and eventually, it got to her. After a failed attempt to visit her children at their father’s house, Britney was deeply saddened, and the paparazzi refused to stop following her. When they approached her to ask questions, she snapped and began beating their car with a baseball bat. Britney also shaved her entire head to signal to the world that she was struggling and was done trying to fit a certain perception. A few weeks later Britney was hospitalized against her will for refusing to let her children go while under the influence during a visitation, leading to the suspension of her visitation rights with her children.
Following this scary phenomenon, Britney was placed under the permanent conservatorship of her father Jamie Spears. When someone is under a conservatorship, their daily life and financial affairs are under the control of their conservator. This is usually done for people who are incoherent and incapable of functioning to make their own decisions. However, in Britney’s case, she is coherent and capable of making her own choices, but her father is still in charge of all of her financial affairs and who she can see and talk to on a daily basis. This is the case even though she has fought in court to get out of it and continuously expresses that she wants her freedom. A movement started in 2017 called #FreeBritney, working to help her break free from her conservatorship and live a more fruitful life. Following the release of this documentary, there has been a surge in support for the #FreeBritney movement and members of the movement believe that the conservatorship will soon come to an end.
This incredible documentary calls attention to the immense struggles women face each day. Women are constantly subjected to shaming based on their looks and clothing without focusing on their actions and talents. Britney was constantly exposed to intensive comments about her appearance. The documentary highlights the disgusting notion of the public believing that Britney must have been sleeping around while she was with Justin Timberlake simply because of the way she dresses. People consistently looked at Britney’s appearance before considering her amazing voice and dance moves. Finally, this constant degradation took its toll on Britney, like it would on anyone.
Overall, Framing Britney Spears helped to show the extreme struggles Britney Spears faced simply because she is a woman. This caused me to think that if she were a man, people would be way less concerned about her looks and more about her actual talent. Additionally, the documentary helped to bring new light to Britney and help people better understand why Britney did the things that she did. This documentary is eye-opening and a must-watch! The run-time is 1 hour and 14 minutes and you can check it out on Hulu under “The New York Times Presents!”
Cover Photo: YouTube