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Free Britney; Free All Women

The relentless misogyny that has pursued Britney Spears throughout her life is very unpleasant to watch.

Having watched the Framing Britney Spears documentary, it seems clear that what Britney needs is a very different kind of protection than legal conservatorship. She needed protection in the 90s, when she became famous as a teenage girl. Protection from men objectifying her, objectifying her in the middle of interviews, fetishizing her virginity and becoming publicly obsessed with her breasts. They did so with such entitlement and overt creepiness that it makes a person wonder what century was that?

Then she needed protection from an equally entitled and callous press; a collection of men stalking her for photographs, videos and comments. Targeting her on some of the worst days of her life, behaviour amounting to no less than harassment and stalking.

one of the most troubling displays of manipulating the concept of consent

The paparazzo who featured in the documentary, had clearly pursued Britney relentlessly, he clarified his take on the situation in one of the most troubling displays of manipulating the concept of consent by saying, “Working on her for so many years, she never gave a clue or information to us that ‘I don’t appreciate you guys, leave me the f alone.'” The interviewer probed at this point “what about when she said ‘leave me alone’?” The paparazzo responded with the completely implausible and bizarre statement “there were times when she [said] like ‘can you leave me alone, for today’, but it wasn’t like ‘leave me alone forever'”. This conversation is placed after the paparazzo had literally just told the story of Britney attacking his car with an umbrella and telling him loudly to fuck himself.

“the women in this family are very very strong minded and have their own opinion… it kinda sucks man.”

Later in the documentary we see a disturbing clip from an interview given by Britney’s brother which actually provides a lot more answers than it initially appears to. Britney’s brother rather bizarrely side-steps the question “have you ever seen anything that led you to be concerned that your sister was being held against her will?” with the response “Ah, everyday”, he then laughs and says “no, only joking” and goes on to say “the women in this family are very very strong minded and have their own opinion and they wanna do what they wanna do and as much as I admire that, as a guy and being like one of two guys in this entire family, it kinda sucks man.”

So the existence of women who have their own opinion and know what they want kinda sucks. He’s not just talking about Britney here, he’s talking about all the women in his family, he’s really talking about all women who don’t do what men say. It’s this familial misogyny that really explains much of what we’ve seen throughout the documentary.

the story of every woman living in a misogynistic culture, one that objectifies, exploits, judges and harasses women and girls.

The relentless misogyny that has pursued Britney Spears throughout her life is very unpleasant to watch. Her story though, whilst extreme, is the story of every woman living in a misogynistic culture, one that objectifies, exploits, judges and harasses women and girls without reprieve.