S4 E18 Framing and Freeing Britney Spears


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On August 13, 2021, Britney Spears' father, Jamie Spears, announced that he is stepping aside as Britney Spears’ conservator. This news comes after a social media movement known under the hashtag #FreeBritney.

According to her testimony to a Los Angeles judge, Britney Spears has been drugged, compelled to work against her will, and prevented from removing her birth control device under the conservatorship. In the meantime, she was able to release four albums, hold a global tour, and run a successful Las Vegas residency for four years.

How did a world-renowned superstar become a prisoner of a structure set up by her family to protect her? In this episode, we reflect on Britney’s career, what we owe her as a society that tolerated casual misogyny and ignored her pleas for help. We also ask ourselves the uncomfortable question: how many more young women are currently left in the prison of society's cruel and omnipresent scrutiny? What role are we playing in this?

02:00 - Introduction to “Framing Britney” and “Britney Spears’ Conservatorship Nightmare”

06:50 - What does Britney Spears mean to us — millennials who grew up in China? What do we owe Britney?

14:30 - Britney’s journey from a small town girl to international stardom

19:00 - American society’s attitude towards sex in late 1990s and early 2000s

26:00 - Britney’s marriage and her very public experience with motherhood

29:00 - How did Britney go “insane”?

32:20 - How did Britney get into a conservatorship? What was the motivation?

41:00 - How did #FreeBritney become an actual social media movement? Why now? Why is it the perfect movement for 2021?

47:00 - How many more young women have we put in a prison of “omnipresent surveillance”?

54:00 - Why so many celebrity teenage girls struggle to grow into women under the public’s omnipresent judging eyes

[Audio editor]

Joshua Ogden-Davis

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[Links & resources]

Britney Spears’s Conservatorship Nightmare by Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino

Framing Britney Spears by Samantha Stark

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