The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears

By: Justine Walsh, Editor-in-Chief

Through interviews, home videos, and more, we are given a glimpse into the life of Britney Spears. Besides from her life, her social media, career, and the timeline of her conservatorship are focused on. This documentary in particular has helped audiences get a better understanding of what daily life is like for Spears under a conservatorship.

A conservatorship is defined as “​a legal concept in the United States. A guardian or a protector is appointed by a judge to manage the financial affairs and/or daily life of another due to physical or mental limitations, or old age. A person under ​conservatorship​ is a “conservatee”, a term that can refer to an adult.” Many believe Spears does not fit the criteria to be a conservatee, considering she has been working and going on tours throughout the 13 years she has had it.

Along with lawyers, and her former assistant, activists for the “Free Britney” movementwere also interviewed, and filmed rallying outside the courts. Her family members, including her mother Lynne, her sister Jamie Lynn, and her father Jamie (who has been in charge of her conservatorship) either had declined or did not respond to be a part of the documentary. In the past, Jamie Spears has said in the press that the “Free Britney” movement is a “conspiracy theory,” so it is to no surprise he was absent.

Since the beginning of the conservatorship in 2008, everything Spears has done has been under close watch. Prior to this, she was in full control of everything, her money, her work, her kids, etc. We see a lot of what her life was like before the conservatorship, including the overwhelming amount of backlash from the media that ultimately led to her downfall.

On top of focusing on the conservatorship, the documentary shows how from a young age she was sexualized in the media, being asked about things such as her boyfriends, her breasts, and her sex life, all of which she wasn’t there to discuss. Footage throughout the documentary shows paparazzi swarming her on multiple occasions, so bad to the point she almost couldn’t move without someone being in her face.

At the end, we see what her life is like now, seemingly better than before. Although she is still under the conservatorship (which is in an ongoing investigation right now), and has a lot more work to do, we see how she is able to express herself via social media. Fans and friends alike say she is sending cryptic messages through captions on her posts, and are hoping the investigation ends in her favor.