Column: To be or not to be Britney: Conservatorship, is it necessary?


Credit: Reuters

Singer Britney Spears poses at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Beverly Hills, California, U.S. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Micah Sanders, Editor-In-Chief

“I haven’t done anything to be treated the way I have for the past 13 years!!! I’m disgusted with the system and wish I lived in another country!” – Britney Spears.

How did we go from America’s sweetheart to this? 

Being in the limelight since the age of 15, Britney Spears has grown to superstar status with numerous endorsements, awards, and achievements underneath her belt. Though the flashing lights, vast popularity, and fortune seem very intriguing, celebrities deal with some of the most difficult and inhumane circumstances when claiming celebrity status. 

With classic pop hits such as “Baby One More Time” and “Oops… I Did It Again,” in 1999 and 2000 that are still prevalent today, Britney certainly holds a tremendous amount of weight when it comes to the music industry and the numerous criticisms and gossip surrounding her. She was constantly scrutinized and kept underneath a microscopic lens concerning her “perfect” and “innocent” image that she had to maintain for an extended period of time. Of course, with anything kept underneath the heat for too long, it begins to burn and diminish, which is exactly what happened to the “toxic” singer. 

In 2007, Britney can be seen shaving all her hair off and storming outside with an umbrella attacking a car. This mental breakdown caused a lot of uproar and concern for Britney’s health, enabling her family to put her into a conservatorship the following year. 13 years later, Britney’s father, James Parnell Spears, was finally suspended from controlling Britney’s life, career and finances. 

The one question that numerous people around the world were asking during the FreeBritney movement was: “Did Britney deserve to be in a conservatorship?” My answer to that question is no and let me tell you why. 

Conservatorships can be, and in Britney’s case, were, extremely toxic and abusive. The pop singer was not allowed to make any decisions regarding her life or the various millions coming into her estate. Britney had to pay her father $16,000 a month, and for what? That does not even include what her sister, famously known for “Zoey101,” Jaime Lynn Spears, received or their mother. Even with numerous receipts and documentation showcasing extravagant purchases, both her mother and sister denied any claims regarding monetary compensation. It is sad to see how vicious and evil her family is and how they claim to support and love her, but their actions speak otherwise. Additionally, Britney was forced to do performances and concerts, intake various mind-altering pills, and still had the paparazzi harassing her everywhere she went.

Paparazzi and gossip sites and blogs like TMZ are some of the most vicious and destructive people ever.

Celebrities are still human beings, and I believe everyone should be treated as such, no matter the status. I understand that they are held to a higher standard since the public endorses them. Still, they experience the same things that any regular human does but cannot really showcase their true selves without numerous inputs from the media and society.  Mental health is extremely important, and I can certainly see why Britney had a meltdown after such a long period of harassment and judgment. 

To better combat Britney’s mental health issues, I believe she should have gone to rehabilitation for two years while still controlling her choices and finances. Imagine being a grown adult who gets treated like a child again and how that would make a person feel. Constantly being told that “You need help,” or “Did you take your medication?” not only makes the person feel more insignificant, but it causes even more issues to be perpetuated. The only way for a person to truly get better is to allow them to make their own decisions with little to no supervision. Otherwise, they will rebel again. 

Since the suspension of her conservatorship, Britney has gotten engaged, drives her several cars, and seems to be much happier than before. Hopefully, she can continue to live out her life with a hint of privacy to treat and mend to her mental being. 

As the case continues to unfold, the world will continue to see more information about what really happened. According to her recent Instagram post, Britney hopes to remain tight-lipped and incognito. However, after so many traumatic years in a conservatorship, she might shed some light on her situation. 

 “I’m scared to do anything because I’m afraid I’ll make a mistake!…. Lord have mercy on my family’s souls if I ever do an interview!” 

Let Britney be the prime example of how constant public media scrutiny can cause such a traumatic chain of events. We have to change how we publicize and obtain information from or about celebrities, starting with the harsh and sometimes unethical paparazzi. 

“The paps run through the trees and onto the road when I drive home, and it’s creepy !!!! And I have to drive by an elementary school … the kids are a big deal … but so am I! I don’t like that they try to scare me and jump out like they do … it’s like they want me to do something crazy! ”