It’s Not Britney, Bitch.

If Britney Spears’ defiantly lackluster performance of “Would You Hold it Against Me” on Good Morning America wasn’t enough to re-ignite your inner Britneyspearsologist, her new MTV I Am the Femme Fatale Special certainly will. In between almost exasperatedly mundane “behind-the-scenes” footage (Britney Spears needs coffee! Britney Spears has to pee!), interviewer Sway painfully delivers a set of Jamie-Spears-approved questions including zingers like “How did you feel when you saw all the props for your video?” Behold:

Sway: “Performing on stage has to be different than shooting a video or being in the recording studio.”
Britney Spears: “They’re totally different things.”
Sway: “How so?”
Britney Spears: “When you’re in the studio you’re totally focused on your head, and your ears, and on the notes and stuff like that. And when you’re performing you’re more of a like, tiger, more of like, you know, it’s just more of — your body.”
Sway: “It doesn’t just happen overnight. You’ve got to rehearse and practice —”
Britney Spears: “Oh yeah definitely.”

Britney, who seems just ever-so-slightly more bored than Sway, executes canned responses full of generalities, empty abstractions, the word “exciting,” and deferrals (constantly praising her “team” but not herself). When asked “when did you first realize you were a creative person?”, she rambles about her Mom’s friends finding her noisy and ends her anecdote, tellingly, with “and that’s when my Mom realized that I’m a very creative person.”

Though nobody asks, the answer that Britney Spears seems to be delivering is “I’m over this and would like to go make cheese grits for Sean Jayden or maybe go to college or something.” Rolling Stone reported that during the lead-up to her breakdown in the mid-’00s, “Britney has begged friends to help her run away, to leave everything behind and become a stylist or schoolteacher, or move to an island where she can work as a bartender.” Spears has said a few times that she’d like to be a “full-time mom.”

But this, now? Britney’s eyes are dead and her gaze as non-committal as a bored prostitute’s, her laughter is rare and forced, her passion imperceptible and her personality buried even when discussing such “exciting” topics as “tea” and “candles.” Tracie from Jezebel sums it up thusly:

Despite her canned affirmations, void of any emotion, to questions about whether she still wants to be a pop artist, there’s an overt vapidity behind her eyes and in her speech that, a few years ago, came off as a lack of intelligence, but perhaps it’s more indicative of a lack of interest in this path that was chosen for her at such a young age.”

Yeah, we could blame Britney’s disinterest on drugs or nerves or stupidity or just being spoiled, that’d be easy — or you could be ableists and blame her psychiatric meds (I promise, it’s totally possible to take Seroquel AND dance). But that’s not what seems to be going on here.

Britney Spears is over it.

The only problem? She’s not allowed to quit or even change her style because Dad’s in charge and Britney’s not legally allowed to make those decisions on her own anymore.

Britney is 29 and will turn 30 in December, which makes her about two months younger than me. Maybe that generational bond explains why so many of my peers are obsessed with Britney despite a general overall aversion to celebrity culture/pop music. And at 16, everybody wanted to be Britney Spears at least a little bit, including, hopefully, Britney herself, but now we’re older and wiser and things have changed and people have grown and it kinda seems like, at 29, most of us have lost interest in being Britney Spears, including, it would seem, Britney herself.

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I’ve always considered Britney Spears to be a fact of life, like peanut butter. I buy her albums like I buy eggs. She’s a thing I care about like I care about kittens. So I cringed watching her on Good Morning America – did you? Did you wail BRITNEY NO NOT AGAIN into your hoodie? Did your stomach hurt like it does during a really bad school play? Didn’t she already put us through this when she sleepwalked her way through “Gimme More” at the 2007 VMAs? Didn’t your HEART BREAK FOR HER? Britney’s dancing shouldn’t look like me at cardio hip-hop, it should look like Brittany S Pierce.

Maybe last time the media correctly chalked up the zombie-gaze lazy-limbed thing to drugs/skipping rehearsal, but not this time. This time Britney’s performance more likely accurately reflected her honest level of interest in it, which appears to be similar to “the feeling of working a double on Mother’s Day at The Olive Garden ’cause you just gotta make rent.”

But even Britney Spears can’t kill Britney Spears. Her single, “Hold it Against Me,” which our music editor described as a “uniform hit” with “uninspired lyrics and those predictable hooks that at first excited me but then multiplied and gradually resulted in concussion” — is selling well and her album sales are decent. Britney’s team’s gotten so large that Britney Spears herself is only a small element of The Britney Spears Empire.

This is all the doing of Jamie Spears, her (allegedly) emotionally abusive recovered-addict father, who finally succeeded in his wrestle for Brit-Brit Control in February 2008. That was the year Britney’s public trainwreck (detailed poignantly in this Rolling Stone article) bottomed out and, while Britney was in the hospital, Jamie’s lawyers arranged the conservatorship that granted him exclusive rights to Britney’s personal life and financials. It was supposed to be temporary, just ’til she got back on her feet.

But when Britney got healthy, Jamie’s lawyers actually pushed for greater authority and, on October 28th of 2008, Jamie secured a permanent conservatorship. PERMANENT! So HE OWNS HER FOREVER!

Jenny Eliscu, who wrote Britney’s 2008 Rolling Stone cover story, said it’s “very rare for a young adult who is not extremely ill to have their rights assigned to a conservator.” Furthermore:

“[The conservatorship]‘s designed, ideally, to protect people who are seriously ill. We’re talking about people who are non compos mentis, according to the lawyers I consulted. Or they’re in a vegetative state. Or they’re just so old that they can’t take care of themselves anymore. But Britney? It was making less and less sense as time went on.”

Even Wikipedia states clearly that “Conservatorships are generally put in place for severely mentally ill individuals or seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s.”

So what’s the deal? The Judge presiding over Britney’s case in 2010, when the conservatorship was once again renewed, told the press that Britney remained “susceptible to undue influence.” Eliscu theorizes that “political pressure on the courts to keep Britney off the streets” could be a factor. Meanwhile Britney has been “deemed unfit” to hire her own attorney (according to the Times UK), though she initially tried to.  The lawyers Jamie hired — including Britney’s —  “appear to have such a strong financial interest in maintaining the arrangement.”

According to The Times UK, friends of the Spears family “doubt [Jamie] is the right person to be taking care of his psychologically fragile daughter.”

In the meantime, Team Britney RAKING IT IN! By December 2009, Jamie had reportedly increased the value of Britney’s controlled assets tenfold, from $2,826,362 to $27,500,000. Jamie brought in more from her estate than he’s ever made in his life, and certainly more than he did from the construction business he started, which went bankrupt. The conservatorship is now going on three years as it was extended again in 2010. Is this really about protecting Britney for her own sake, or is it about turning her into a money-making machine?

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So why do I/we even care about Britney Spears? Is it the age thing, the music, or just because she’s really really pretty?

Well, for starters, Britney Spears both reflected and created the monumentally important fucked-up teen-sex culture of the 90s/early 00s that influenced so many of our lives. She felt fucked up about sex and so did we, but Britney Spears, that raunchy cake-pop of a girl, managed to put our fucked-up sex out there in the form of sugary, futuristic, playful pop music. With costumes! Our dark feelings seemed light when Britney sang them, like ‘Oops, I broke your heart but DIDN’T YOU LIKE THE MOVIE TITANIC?’ or “I’m addicted to you BUT ALSO I’M A MAGICAL FLIGHT ATTENDANT!

Her personal story has been genuinely compelling and complicated, but it hasn’t been as shocking to me as it seems it was to many in the media. I felt like I always understood why she did everything she did —  reasons ranging from “bipolar disorder” to “wants boys to think she’s sexy.”  It doesn’t matter if my evaluations are right or wrong because where celebrities/fans are concerned, the illusion of empathy is enough. She’s lost interest in wearing sexy outfits and asking large groups of people to want her body? Oh cool, us too.

So even while intellectually scorning Brit, we were secretly really into her and felt all at once totally unlike her and intimately familiar with her. For example, we relate to the following feelings:

+ Every time I try to fly, I fall without my wings. I feel so small.

+ I’m watching you disappear, but you were never here.

+ I’m stronger than yesterday, my loneliness ain’t killing me no more.

+ You drive me crazy, I just can’t sleep.

+ I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.

+ There’s a brave new girl and she’s coming out tonight.

Meanwhile, Femme Fatale is feelings-free and Britney’s barely in it, like she’s just one of many instruments in these dancey tracks which sound like precisely stylized music designed for picky robots (which isn’t to say I don’t like at least three of them). Dressing Brit in black versions of her old pink outfits hasn’t make her look more mature — instead, she looks like grown woman in a weird outfit. In that glittery context, Britney seems oddly infantile, and, ultimately, LESS empowered (although more confident) than she appeared to be in that schoolgirl outfit that allegedly scarred our generation for life.

Where’s the surly gum-snapping blonde who ‘wrote’ “Touch of my Hand” and “I’m a Slave 4 U”?

Who’s responsible for Femme Fatale‘s lyrics?

“I wanna go ding-ding when I hear that bass”?

“Spark and it’s like gasoline / I start pumping like a machine / my heart only runs on supreme /so hot, give me your gasoline”?

WHAT? I mean seriously, I’d prefer “E-Mail my Heart” to this crap.

 

Compare Britney’s 2011 MTV Special to her 2003 Diane Sawyer interview, in which she laughs, engages, genuinely thinks about her answers, defends her provocative photoshoots as “empowering,” and starts crying when Sawyer asks about Justin.

Or compare Britney’s 2011 MTV Special with Britney’s 2001 MTV Diary, which opens with a bouncy Britney declaring:

“I’m living on my own, on my own terms… having a house by yourself, it’s just that independent feeling of like, you know, I’m living on my own and my parents aren’t here, you start feeling more confident, more in control of what I do. It’s a cool feeling, it is.”

Interviews like that don’t happen anymore. Recently Carson Daly canceled his scheduled interview with Spears because he resented the constraints set up by her management — they wanted the interview pre-recorded & submitted for approval, for starters. “Interviews are never that restricted,” Daly said on twitter.”I’ve known and supported her since she was 15. I’m just shocked her management won’t let her do a normal interview.

“Even when I interviewed Michael Jackson, it wasn’t anything like this.”

Britney’s last (relatively) unsupervised interview happened in 2008, when MTV produced Britney Spears: For the Record in anticipation of her Circus tour. Britney wanted to “set the record straight” and acknowledge her emergence from a really complicated disaster of a few years. But that stuff wasn’t nearly as compelling as what she snuck in about her life now, under the conservatorship:

“I’ve been through a lot, and there’s a lot people don’t know. Sometimes it can get lonely ’cause you don’t open the gate. I’m stuck in this place, and I just cope every day.”

“There’s no excitement, there’s no passion. Even when you go to jail, you know there’s the time when you’re gonna get out. But in this situation, it’s never-ending.”

“If I wasn’t under the restraints I’m under, I’d feel so liberated.”

Almost immediately following the MTV interview, Rolling Stone was the first to discover a series of defensive hoops Jamie had reflexively put in place around his daughter, what Jenny Eliscu described as “a rigorously micromanaged process.” She wasn’t allowed to be alone with Britney, her questions had to be submitted for Jamie’s approval, and acceptable topics included “her new album, her boys, and that’s about it.”

When Britney first appeared on the scene, she (justifiably) terrified the Responsible Parents of America with her bubble-gum brand of spasmodic sexuality. Britney was acting out the same desires and curiosities the rest of us had, but she was doing it in front of everybody, and in more revealing shorts.

So sure — Britney was a lousy role model from the get-go, but g-ddamn if her syrupy exhibitionism wasn’t intoxicating for all the reasons it was destructive. Nobody asked you to take Britney Spears seriously, so it wasn’t a big deal to grow out of it.  But looking back, I’d take the naive giddiness exhibited in Britney & Kevin:Chaotic over the muzzled detachment of I Am the Femme Fatale any day.

If only the outrage over a rehabilitated 29-year-old woman (who lost it for a few years but had been way too sexy before that, so clearly she required containment) becoming the personal and financial property of a man she never even liked was half as loud as the chorus that once proclaimed her sexual ‘antics’ as degrading to women.

She’s spent most of her career and the entirety of her breakdown begging everyone to just let her be herself or find out who that is, but it’s out of her hands now. America’s not into freedom for freedom’s sake right now anyhow, we invented the Patriot Act.

And in the end, maybe the only person still waiting for their piece of Britney Spears… is Britney Spears.

Profile photo of Riese

Riese is the 33-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1747 articles for us.

180 Comments

  1. Thumb up 4

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    “If only the outrage over a rehabilitated 29-year-old woman… becoming the personal and financial property of a man she never even liked was half as loud as the chorus that once proclaimed her sexual antics as degrading to women.”

    WORD.

    Thanks for clearing up for me why I get so mad about the Britney sitch.

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    sigh “And in the end, maybe the only person still waiting for their piece of Britney Spears… is Britney Spears.”

    this makes me sad. I’ve loved Brit Brit since I was 11. It would be great to see her start fresh, but it seems impossible. =/

    still jamming out to the new album though.

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    It’s quite understandable why they are so protective of Britney doing any unsupervised or edited interviews since “For the Record”. They can’t have their money wagon letting everyone know how depressed she really is.

    When a person can say things like:

    ““I’ve been through a lot, and there’s a lot people don’t know. Sometimes it can get lonely ’cause you don’t open the gate. I’m stuck in this place, and I just cope every day.”

    “There’s no excitement, there’s no passion. Even when you go to jail, you know there’s the time when you’re gonna get out. But in this situation, it’s never-ending.”

    “If I wasn’t under the restraints I’m under, I’d feel so liberated.””

    – you know there is something truly wrong with the situation they are in.

    No wonder she is dead in the eyes.

    Give her a break.

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    i remember watching the ‘for the record’ doc and crying because it felt how i felt verbatim…but it was how i felt as a trapped teen who felt too much at once and couldn’t get out. At first it was the shock of someone saying what i never let myself say and then it was the sadness that someone else was feeling it right now. i really hope she wakes up because submissive slumber is fucking dangerous.
    also, i remember yelling she’s not crazy!, she’s a Sagittarius! :p

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    Oh wow. That’s really fucked up for anybody. Surely that’s abuse on multiple levels? Can’t anyone get her help?

    And this is someone who is relatively wellknown. Who else could be under similar shackles but doesn’t at least have the privilege of fame?

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    I agree with pretty much everything you said in article. I hate it when people slam Britney’s dancing because I think it’s gotten better since Circus, but the passion clearly isn’t there and the fact she’s making all this money for her dad is just horrible. For The Record showed her as a broken woman who just wanted to forget showbusiness and be a mum. The new doc showed her “really excited” about the new album, which she didn’t even care enough to write one song for. Or even co-write one song for. When she was doing promo for In The Zone a few years back – she looked as if she was loving every performance. She gaves good interviews. Then came the breakdown and I’m worried she’ll end up like Michael Jackson. People will force her into touring every year or every other year so that her income remains high. Britney has terrible parents IMO. They care so much about money and she little about what Britney wants. I’m stunned she was allowed to say she might give up music at some point. I thought she would’ve gotten told to “rephrase that to I’m never giving up music. I love music. Come see me on tour. My dad needs another new house.”

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    I am not a fan of Britney Spears however I am aware that she’s one of the most if not the most famous celebrity/musician of the 21st century regardless of your arguments. I may not know her personally (who does here anyway) but when she first came out of the limelight, I am sorry to some but she is born to be an entertainer anyhow ” as for my opinion.” She’s not the best vocalist, not the best dancer for some (I don’t think so), not the best entertainer (Michael Jackson) but you know what, she has fire embodying inside her which makes me interested, makes us all want to smile towards the TV or MTVs where we can see her. That alone sets her aside from ANYONE YOU CONSIDER THE BEST! Britney has IT. And how she can pack all of them, the “not-the-best’s” with her IT is what I consider a NATURAL TALENT. I am just sad to see this girl now showing a completely different character. She doesn’t have the unique expressions she once had and killing it. I felt that everyone made her like what she is now. I am bewildered of the timeline of The Britney Spears Story. It’s safe to say that’s it’s ok for her to take a long and meaningful break with the family and the boys and take time in looking for it which was taken away from her at such a young age. Britney, please be reminded of how beautiful life ahead of you, your fans will always be supporting you for sure, and other people who will be rooting for you and support you. Anyway you are already an inspiration of strength that NO ONE would really understand, even I am, simply because WE’RE NOT YOU, WE’RE NOT BRITNEY SPEARS.

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    Never been a big Britney fan, although I do find her extremely pretty.

    I guess I like my female pop stars to look like their having fun (soft spots for early Madonna and Cyndi Lauper) or edgy (Pink). Britney just felt too pre-packaged.

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    Really good article ~ I felt the same way watching her Vegas special for GMA. And this is going on tour? OMG! And I thought her Mother was bad enough but now her Father?! Maybe she wants to marry Jason so that she can get away from her Father? Or does he have to give her permission to even marry? I cannot understand how even her Dad cannot see that she is not performing at a Tour level. Haven’t they made enough money off her??

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    Great article! This story definitely makes you think: you can have all the money in the world and you can be blessed with fame and glory. But it all means nothing if you aren’t able to truly be yourself and know who you are. Maybe Britney’s true self is not a pop star at all….Sure you can be really naturally talented but it doesn’t mean thats what you would be happy doing. I mean, I was a great softball player, but my heart belonged to performance theater… although if it weren’t for softball, I’d probably still be in the closet…and I never would have had my first girlfriend….ok nevermind, thank you softball

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    This totally says what I’ve been feeling about Britney the last few days (because I am overly involved with people I have never met).
    I saw on her the Circus Tour and she looked like she was really enjoying herself and it was exciting but now it seems like she’s just regressing. The difference between Circus and Femme Fatale is huge. Femme Fatale is just bland. It’s NOT Britney.
    The whole conservatorship thing is quite obviously no longer helping her…I don’t know, I feel like I want to save her.

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    Do you have to be a certain age to get this Britney Spears thing? Cuz I don’t get it. Not that I want to. I got Debbie Gibson. But I was 9 then. And then I grew up and moved on. That’s what we did back in my day. We let go of these disposable pop stars. Thus the term “disposable”. This is the only reason her performance was bad. Something in her knows she’s well past her sell date. And all these people buying her music are to blame.

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      Wow….
      The point is obviously not to be made about “disposing” someone….you need to realize that this is not about you and YOUR happiness…there is obviously a situation that we can all feel but all you care about it who the coolest person on the cover of People Magazine is.
      Cold hearted much?

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      There are many other reasons other than “disposable popmusic product number 3668-5H88″ for Ms Spears’ pedestrian performance on GMA, which are available in this post, for you to read and comprehend them. The woman is an indentured servant to her father until either he or the courts emancipate her (literally!) or who knows what. If Papa Spears shuffles off, there’s probably another minder already appointed for her… FREE BRITNEY SPEARS!
      —-
      Debbie Gibson is maybe more easily compared to someone like Miranda Cosgrove (‘iCarly’)? She is also a bit more broadly talented (Broadway theater, actual acting in roles, etc.). I sure don’t think she could have gotten away w/ BritBrit’s sexual image back 20 years ago…

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    Coming from someone who makes Britney Spears a good portion of her life, thank you for writing this article.
    It’s unbelievable how many people have not a clue about what is really going on with her. Although we may NEVER know specifics…we know what is happening is not right.
    There is nothing she can do, and some day I hope there will be a book about this. I know years from now we will look back and realize just how insane this situation was and how at the time all we were concerned with was how she looked bloated on stage.
    Sad. :(
    FREE BRITNEY

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    Awesome article, Riese! I guess I’ve followed most of her career, and was aware of some of the stuff that happened in those few intense years, but I never really realized to what extent her dad controlled her life. It’d be so cool to get an real interview without the pre-approved questions and what not.

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    It’s entirely possible to take Seroquel and not dance. Actually, it’s entirely possible to take Seroquel and feel absolutely no emotions let alone any that would inspire you to dance or even get out of bed.
    Just saying.

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    That was a really good article, Riese. That’s insane that her father still has full control over her every move. I also get the feeling from her that she’s just over it. It doesn’t bring joy or enthusiasm for her anymore.

    In fact, speaking of child stars, I remember when Lindsay came out in 2008. The night she held Samantha’s hand tightly and proudly in Cannes, her face glowing with pure relief. In the time period following, Lindsay herself admitted she wanted to be with her so much it became destructive. But, I suppose, if you were told from the time you knew you were gay that your love is something that must be hidden at all cost (i.e. ashamed of) to the point where you feel obliged to hire emergency PR (See:http://juicyrumors.com/2007/05/08/theres-only-so-much-one-can-do/)to stop people talking about your LOVE, I can see how liberating yourself from the closet would be a huge experience, so big that you want to shout that love everywhere, and well, have that take its form in being with that person 24/7.

    She is, at the moment, in the middle of a one-week spiral of partying and apparent drug and alcohol use probably caused by a relapse and a subsequent break-up with Samantha and appears to see no light at the end of the tunnel, only more partying to drown her sorrows.

    She’s currently just hanging on to the final power of her fame (club appearances, hosting jobs etc.) and I think that if you were to ask what, at the end of the day, she REALLY wants, I think she would say that all she wants is to be free from her addiction and in Samantha’s arms and maybe, in a few yrs in the future, have kids.

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    I’m not a fan of Britney’s music, but I respect her as an artist and my respect and sympathy was raised considerably due to this article. Brilliantly written, Riese.

    I think her ‘for the record’ documentary was so painfully revealing. One moment that really struck me was when she was sitting on a couch, surrounded by her “team” and talked about being ‘horribly angry’. Everyone around her laughed. It seemed like the most dismissive reaction you could possibly get to a statement like that. She went on to explain how these people hear her but don’t listen, and simply stated, “I’m so sad” and broke down.

    ‘Free Britney from Conservatorship’ movement all the way.

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        Great article/writing, Riese. I work in mental health and am pissed off all the time w/r/t the state of same. I wish someone would advocate on behalf of her legally (the RIGHT way).
        Guardianship/Conservatorships are necessary of course in extreme cases but red flags are going up for me that this is a conservatorship instead of a guardianship (a guardianship gives you the power to take physical care of one, and if someone is disabled you can also be their payee for the SSD checks). But a conservatorship allows you to act in her stead to care for her ESTATE and basically EVERYTHING, apparently including talking. And for life and she cannot hire lawyer to appeal? That doesn’t sound right but I don’t know all the legal stuff regarding lifelong conservatorship–but my understanding is conservatorship is given when, like you referenced, someone is elderly/demented/alzheimer’s/brain damaged, etc, so is not considered able to ever get ‘better’ enough to regain the ability to care for self. Bipolar+her age does not fit this.

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      This is what is freaking me out man! She’s a prisoner to her own dad! It should be obvious to any competent judge that whatever kind of instability she may have suffered from does not warrant this kind of control over her life. I know there are more important things in the world than Britney Spears but the thought of this happening to anyone is just heartbreaking.

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    This article makes me sad and angry, and I’m not even a big Britney fan. But hell, a woman who loses her right to some man should have the fuckin city, county and federal government fighting for her to get her rights back even if she can’t. Clearly this was an immoral judicial decision, that needs to be investigated. If she can’t hire an attorney, the state or a civil rights attorney should be fighting for her case, and I say that for anyone in this situation. It is both wrong and cruel to take a lucid person’s life away from them and force them to perform. It is a pimp and hooker relationship and it is wrong.

    JustAGirl
    http://rainbows-unicorns-and-sparkles.tumblr.com/

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      i feel this way too, but unfortunately that’s not how the american legal system often works :( lots of fucked up things are allowed to continue unabated simply because the abusive/oppressive/exploitative side has money to hire better, smarter, more devious lawyers.

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    What century are we in? Why is this even legal and goes unchallenged? Even if she can’t hire a lawyer, the freakin city, state and federal government better be going to bat for her and anyone else who has lost the right to lead their own life.
    How misogynistic is it that daddy gets to run your life because you’re allegedly not mentally capable of doing so? Like, really? “You know, you and your silly hormones just make you soooooo irrational.” That’s what I feel like is being said. No person should have to lose the ability to lead their own life and not have someone fighting for them, even when they can’t fight for themselves.

    JustAGirl

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    This exactly paralells a feature of Ancient Roman Law. A feature actually done away with after the fall of the Republic. Even actual minors under their parents guardianship can apply for emancipation and have access to lawyers to act as their advocates. Surely there must be something that can be done to liberate her.

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    Poor Britney. My heart goes out to her! I have an extremely controlling, abusive father but I also have the freedom to tell to fuck off and to choose not to talk to him. It makes me sad that Britney has the same father (apparently) but cannot get away from him.
    Exactly how long is her father going to push her? Until he literally works her to death? Because I think he’s close. I have this sad, sad, SAD feeling that one day we’re going to wake up to a Britney suicide splashed all over the news. Then what will her father do and what will happen to her precious, precious little boys!
    Someone needs to stop her father before this ends in disaster and SOON because I have a feeling that if we don’t that disaster will hit before we know it!!! :(

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    “Political pressure on the courts to keep Britney off the streets.” What the fuck does that mean? Was she going around doing drive-bys or something? That case needs to be fucking reviewed. This is all so nauseating on so many levels.

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      i guess it’s a reference to like, all the police cars they needed to chase her around the city? i have no idea. but now that she’s better, i don’t see why that would matter.

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    THIS ARTICLE! THIS ARTICLE! THIS ARTICLE WAS AMAZING!!!!! It is so intelligent in regards to a subject others would deem as “stupid”. As this article proves, Britney is not stupid. We grew up with her and somehow she’s still here…she’s our history. No matter if you like it or not, she’s a cultural icon and everyone has feelings about Britney. SO MANY FEELINGS! you have them and usually can’t explain why you care so much. My Britney feelings are equal parts love + sadness….

    going to post this article on everyone’s FB wall that ever told me “britney is stupid”

    ALSO HEY GIRL HEYYYY who had that poster of Brit’s RollingStone cover? yeaaa I know you did ;)

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    Amazing essay as usual Riese. I never really cared about Britney or her music, but this is heartbreaking.

    I just want everyone to be able to lead their lives in the way that they desire, can we have that please.

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    Really great article. Had no idea about the mess Britney’s in right now legally. It’s fucked up. So fucked up. I hope Britney can break free from this and find her passion because its obvious singing/performing ain’t it. I feel for her.

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    that gma performance was so depressing. she looked like she was in rehearsals, or like someone had wound her up inside a box and then opened the lid and let her out.

    also wtf would that even feel like to have so many people cheering for you, when you know that they’re only cheering for a contrived, fake version of you. like, how alone would that make you feel? that they don’t even have a chance to like the real you b/c you can’t show them, and even if you did they wouldn’t notice, because the real you can never be as loud and bright as this pretend person they love so much.

    i really loved it when she shaved her head. i think i would’ve gotten along well with that britney.

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      two things here:

      1) every time someone typed “gma performace” i read it as “grandma” performace, b/c i abbreviate grandma = gma. i feel like i wasn’t so far off here.

      2) i just watched the gma performace. i feel like the crowd got a better show from the clips on the big screen of her previous hits than the actual performace. and i hate when that happens

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    This may be the best article I’ve ever read about Britney. I hope she is able to read it. There has got to be way out for her… ? (suffocation)
    It’s madness that it’s not just the fame owning her anymore. That was bad enough.

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    Ugh, “bored prostitue”, Riese? I really enjoyed this article and it brings attention to a seldom discussed, dark, misogynistic moment in pop culture. However I’m reluctant to share it with anyone because of the really problematic reference to sex workers, as well as your appropriation of the phrase spirit animal (various autostraddle staff also use it a fair bit on formspring/tumblr, it’s pretty gross and kind of lazy for such a great team of writers and couldn’t you just say patronus?) It would mean a great deal to me personally, as a queer sex worker and Britney fan who regularly reads and shares your articles, if you could please edit that.

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      you’re making a couple of inaccurate assumptions about riese, me and the rest of the staff w/r/t our histories / lives in this comment.

      seems important to note that prostitutes are allowed to be noticeably bored without that being demeaning. and anyone can practice any type of spirituality and reference that practice whenever they choose. and not to make light of anything, but a patronus, in the way you’re using it here, is a fictional thing from a fictional book and means nothing to me, so no, i can’t just say that.

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        I agree that yes, sex workers (can you please not say prostitutes in this discussion and say sex workers, except when referencing the exact quote?) can be noticeably bored without that being demeaning, however the trope of sex workers not enjoying their work is overplayed and damaging, and maybe one of the other jobs people have listed as boredom-inducing could have been used?

        To my knowledge, using the term spirit animal or power animal to refer to anything other than the conclusion of an intense and spiritual journey is appropriation and grossly offensive, there is no way my statement could have been interpreted as policing other peoples actual spirituality.

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          I feel like you enjoy asking/telling people what words they can and cannot use to express themselves/concepts/people/things they wish to discuss. I’m not okay with that.

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          i mean, to be fair, we ask people not to use certain words to express themselves all the time. please do not use “gay” to describe something negative; please do not use “whorish” to describe something tawdry, cheap, and hypersexualized; please do not use “lame” to describe something stupid; please supplant “tranny” with “transgender person”; please supplant “prostitute” with “sex worker”; please do not use the word “spirit animal” to refer to the mascot of pop music when the term specifically refers to a central and sacred facet of a spiritual/individual identity. it’s pretty simple.

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          all prostitutes are sex workers but not all sex workers are prostitutes, so they aren’t interchangeable terms

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      I thought the same thing re “bored prostitue”. The ‘prostitute with dead eyes’ thing is an overused cliche. I mean, I’m sure there are some sex workers that are bored, just like in any other profession, but I feel like using that particular phrase just reinforces the negative stereotype. To be honest I was really surprised to see it here because Autostraddle articles always seem way more pro sex workers rights etc than other queer sites. I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t think Riese meant it in an offensive way but it could easily be read like that. Aside from that I thought the article was really well written and addressed some really important things.

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        hi. hi! this is important to me so prepare for me to get overly defensive and insane. as bee points out, i’m really careful with how we talk about sex workers here. i’m vigilant and i’m vigilant because i know whereof i speak, if you know what i mean. *AHEM* i don’t want to offend you or make you feel uncomfortable and i’m sorry that this piece felt that way to you.

        so — i don’t think the bored prostitute is an overused cliche. i think the Pretty Womanish lady-who-falls-in-love-with-her-john is an overused cliche. So is the drug addict prostitute and so is the college co-ed call-girl with a yacht/diamond/no feelings and so is the nymphomaniac. those cliches are employed by people in power to portray sex workers as universally “desperate” or somehow “depraved” people (addicts, lovelorn, materialistic, out of control). those are damaging cliches.

        but “boredom”? everyone is bored at work! boredom is something all workers feel sometimes — auto mechanics, gap salespeople, waitresses, CEOs, office managers, everyone! (does that make sense?)

        the look i’m evoking here is that of someone who sometimes, because it’s their job, has to pretend to feel sexy/sexual when they don’t feel that way. sometimes you’re tired or sometimes a client is irritating or sometimes it’s your fourth client of the day and you’re just over it. of course, sometimes a client is the best conversation you’ve had all day. sometimes boring, sometimes exciting, just like every other job. “a bored prostitute” doesn’t mean “always bored” in the way “dead hooker eyes” do.

        maybe the problem here is that i’m looking at this from the inside, not the outside, and from here it makes sense.

        /ihavealotoffeelings

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          you totally make sense.

          if i could explain where i’m coming from when i say stuff as well as you riese…well then…i’d be golden.

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          Well in that Spears is asked to put so much of herself out there for consumption and how the public always reacts about her looks(oh god shes gotten fat again people!) it really seemed fitting to me when you used the term. Maybe not physically but emotionally she gets used over and over in a similar fashion that the end user doesn’t seem to care about her feelings on the issue just their pleasure.

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          being repeatedly emotionally used and being a sex worker are not the same thing. Sex workers are NOT ‘used’ and clients do not uniformly disregard a workers feelings. Sex work is real work.

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          OKAY OKAY OKAY.

          Nobody here is trying to hurt anyone, everyone is here to have a dialogue, ideally about the topic of this post. But anyhow…

          Nobody here can speak for all sex workers. NOBODY.

          The term “sex worker” includes many people — prostitutes (sorry, it’s a specific word that means a specific thing, it’s not a synonym of “sex worker,” so i’m using it!), phone sex operators, porn actors, escorts, massage girls/boys, GFE providers, doms, exotic dancers — and it includes people who choose and love sex work as well as many who don’t choose and/or love it. Of all the sex workers I’ve been close to — and there are MANY — not one ever said they felt “used” — but they can’t speak for everyone, either. (Sidenote: “bored” does not mean “used”)

          However, although I understand and can definitely relate your defensive reaction to YumeLook’s statement, Teeny Bunny, it’s equally problematic for you to speak on behalf of all sex workers w/o their consent.

          And also. Also. Also. We’re just gonna have to agree to disagree about “bored” being a negative stereotype. I don’t think it’s negative. I think it’s normalizing and acting like sex workers are constantly just bursting with happiness and love for the job is ridiculous, because NOBODY is always bursting with happiness/love for ANY job.

          I think we both have a case here, Teeny Bunny, with strong points on both sides. Neither of us are right or wrong here.

          However! If we actually want to combat ignorance around how people discuss sex work, we don’t start like this. We start with like — Hey! here you are — Teeny Bunny — saying that you love sex work and it’s great. so now you’re giving everyone reading this an example to combat some of the ignorance around sex workers. that’s where we start. opening doors, not closing them. unfortunately, because sex work is taboo in many cultures and rarely discussed seriously in formal settings outside of academia, even super-wonderful people like YumeLook might say ignorant things sometimes and I don’t think it’s fair to jump on her for it. That’s not the best way to start a good conversation.

          anyhow!

          if i was writing here anonymously, as you are, or if i lived in a country where the exchange of sexual services for money was legal, as i think you do (Australia, right?), i could start that conversation right now.

          but i’m not, and i don’t.

          so i can’t.

          so why doesn’t everyone go out and buy Whores and Other Feminists instead!

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          I never said sex work is not real work.

          But the fact of the matter is yes as a prostitute your body is being used. With your consent but clients are there because they want something without having the emotional ties of a relationship or even one night stand that go along with it. That isn’t to say that all clients will want to treat you badly or disrespect you in anyway. But they are there for what they want without having to really worry about what you want (besides some money). Britney is being treated in a similar fashion, and unlike you she does not seem to enjoy or want to be in her situation.

          I feel like I should really add that I am American and there isn’t much in the way of actual legitimate work as a sex worker. Being that most of the work done here in that fashion is illegal the rights of the workers are not respected. I have heard nothing but very positive things about the industry in Australia and would imagine actually since it is legitimate legal work there overall the workers are much happier than their counterparts that can’t even go to the police. (and I can’t really talk about it without thinking of Showtime Series Satisfaction which I really loved)

          But I do apologize for upsetting you. I just wanted to try and explain a little more where I was coming from.

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          As someone who loves being a sex worker I am more sensitive to the lack of portrayals that reflect my experience, and you evoked the imagery really well. I guess I just don’t think sex workers need more negative portrayals for a bit, apt as the comparison just explained is. Yeah. Thats it! Also I replied more in your comment before also will reply more to your email when I’m not at a post-birthgay party hi.

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          Have you seen the ‘Sex Worker’s Art Show’? They used to do shows at mostly east coast Universities. The show was great but the performers were AMAZING. So much intelligence in one cast. It was awesome.

          Anyways, it just popped into my head because I realized maybe I am rare in that when I head the term ‘sex worker’ I have a positive connotation because of that show, which is maybe what they were trying to accomplish in the first place.

          This was their site: http://www.sexworkersartshow.com/home_03152009.html

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      a lot happened in this article & if two phrases that you find “overused” or whatevs are going to stop you from sharing it, that’s your prerogative (get it??). but honestly, you could just disclaimer it to whomever you send it to and say, “hey, aside from these two phrases that i personally do not agree with – the rest of the article is pretty fucking good and you should read it & make your own conclusions.” i think that would be a good compromise.

      ps. autostraddle = my website spirit animal…so.

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          Honestly, I share articles from Autostraddle all the time. But this one is the one article where my friends have given me so much feedback. And it’s since led to, “Hey, can you link some more articles from that site to me?”

          I’m pretty sure I declared at Dinah that I would be an AS whore…so – I’m just living up to my promise, people.

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          right. no i totally i get it. but that’s why i thought the compromise would come with the small disclaimer. because what i feel is derogatory may not be the same as how someone else feels, y’know? which is fine. in the end, i just want everyone to have their own feelings.

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        If you aren’t currently a sex worker or never have been one, please be sensitive that you can never understand how media representations of my job make me feel. You need to not comment or involve yourself in discussions of our issues and lives, and just start to listen to what we have to say.

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          Oh man. Okay.

          I am all about being sensitive to all sorts of topics / people / situations / etc. Have I ever been a sex worker? No. But do I feel this is a reason why I cannot / should not respond to this topic? NO. Because if we’re going based off of that concept, there would be no communication, y’know? Because we all have different perspectives and experiences and that’s the whole point. To talk and give our input and go from there. Have I ever been a politician? No, but I still give my input. Have I ever been a trained musician? No. But..I still give my input. You get my point. The list goes on & on.

          I agree with you that it is KEY to keep an open-mind / sensitivity in mind, but I don’t think I should not “comment or involve myself” in these discussions.

          But anyway, I get where you’re coming from. But also I think there’s more beyond where you’re coming from. If that makes any sense.

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    such a loss of agency is just terrifying, I am generally indifferent to britney, but I would like to help her situation because that really sounds awful.

    also how does her lack of control of her own life affect her children’s? can she still make decisions in regards to their care and whatnot? I don’t understand why she can’t even hire a lawyer to challenge this decision!

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    Thinking about her makes my heart hurt.

    Also: I am in the midst of exams, am flying across the country tomorrow to then drive back home, haven’t even started packing to move in a week… and I thanks to this article, spent over an hour watching Britney interviews today.

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    I’ve never liked Britney’s music or the whole Britney Machine, but I’ve always had respect and empathy for her as, y’know, a human being. A human being who had the misfortune of being stuck with the worst kind of stage parents. During her whole melt down a few years back, I just wanted nothing more than for everyone to stop taking pictures, writing articles, trying to interview her, just stop everything. It seemed so clear to me that she was over the whole thing and just didn’t know how to not be famous (since she’s pretty much been groomed for it by her parents since early childhood). I never went so far as to, say, post videos to YouTube to demand people LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE, but I really wished they would. I’ve been incredibly irritated by all the attempted comebacks since then, since it seemed totally obvious to me that she’s a completely unwilling puppet at this point.

    I didn’t know just how disgusting and sad that whole conservatorship is, though. That’s just horrifying. Poor Britney. Can’t anything be done? Is there some way she could get a lawyer and fight it? I mean, if someone else could lend her the money or if a lawyer would take the case contingent on getting paid if they win, since her dad controls all her money.

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      This is how I feel as well…never been a big fan…but I do appreciate her immense talent and have empathy for the situation she is in. Just to survive that pop pressure cooker is an accomplishment since I know that I personally couldn’t for even a day.

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    I didn’t follow Britney that closely when she was really popular back in high school and I haven’t seen any of the documentaries mentioned. I’m not sure I even realized before this article that she was still under the conservatorship. But this a great article, superbly written, and it really made me think about what’s happened and what is still happening. Also, the conniving part of my mind started immediately trying to think of ways to hook her up with a good attorney outside of the father’s clutches and to do an end run around around his actions to get her out from under the conservatorship.

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    Thank you so much for writing this article. The world needs to know what’s actually going on.
    I’m surprised that you didn’t mention the last few seconds of the I Am the Femme Fatale interview where Sway asks her if she can see herself doing what she’s doing years from now and she nervously says: “Yeah, Maybe.. I don’t know… we’ll see.”
    It’s like she can’t speak for herself anymore. She’s saying what she’s told to say, but trying so hard to voice her opinion, but she’ll never be heard with her “team” surrounding her every move.

    I’d like to also mention that it’s unofficially known that she’s mentally ill (something that high stress and traumatic experiences commonly causes) and she’s heavily medicated. During interviews lately she’s seemed very sedated and not all there. I’m not saying that her team is drugging her per se, but it is known that it’s very easy to control someone who’s heavily medicated.

    I’m a hardcore Britney fan and have been thinking of starting a forum for everyone who’s interested & wants to chat about her heartbreaking state. If anyone’s interested, please reply to this & maybe I’ll set something up.

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    omg, i had no idea the conservatorship was or could be permanent. O_o That is absolutely terrifying to even think about. she’s not allowed to hire a lawyer and say “hey, i’m okay now, y’all. can i have my life back?”

    that fucking floors me.

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    Oh god this is terrifying.

    this makes me sick to my stomach. is this what we do to pop stars in america?
    I didn’t know that this was a thing, the permanent conservatorship. i don’t even know what to say right now, because I’m in so much shock and disgust over this.
    I can’t believe I didn’t know about it.
    Its like she is a caged, photoshopped, auto-tuned, and overly processed bird. do people realize she is a real person under all of the modern day glamour?

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    OMG i had no idea the conservatorship was permanent either. how horrifying! its situations like these which cause these brilliant stars to be six feet under way too soon. these people like Elvis and Michael Jackson with their terrible fathers and terrible managers who dont or didnt have any control over anything. i want my britney back! i want her to be free!!! i have a terrible feeling something awful is gonna happen to her! :'(

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    this is a great article – sympathetic, understanding and thoughtful towards someone who so badly needs that, and so rarely gets it.

    just while we’re talking about language… what do you mean by “schizophrenic sexuality”? i feel like that’s a little problematic, particularly in describing someone who’s actually been prescribed antipsychotic medication

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    This is a comment I added earlier in the middle of a discussion but want to thread it here as well for people who just follow the bottom of the discussion…

    I just have a comment that is in no way meant to be critical – just something I am putting out here – as much I personally sympathize with what Britney is going through as well, there is truly nothing we can do other than not be part of critics who want to tear everybody down.

    But there are a lot of women and gay issues that we face everyday that we can do a lot about. I wrote a comment the other day about personally doing interventions on girls with eating disorders that pretty much got ignored by everyone, which is ok and I am used to it, but my point is there are people all around us who desperately need help and they don’t have the advantage of the name recognition like Britney. My experience there are no shortage of girls reaching out for help and the only limitation is how much time there is in a day to help.

    Again please don’t take this as critical (I am probably overly sensitive in this area – I know I am), just putting this out there into the discussion.

    take care…

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      I get your point. I don’t think there is much each of us can do as individuals to help the situation that Britney is in but I think this article is really important because it highlights the fact that a father can, with the blessing of the court, have complete control over his adult daughter’s life to the point where she cannot make any decisions of her own. I think this is an issue that faces women and gay people- queer people have been shown to have higher incidences of mental illness than their straight counterparts. If Britney’s father can gain complete control over her life then it could possibly happen to anyone. Obviously that’s kind of an extreme scenario but it is scary how seemingly easy it is to gain consevatorship over someone.
      Don’t get me wrong I do think it’s great if you can help people in your own life.

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        Thanks, its a great point. I was looking at it from the angle of the comments around interventions. But the legal issues of conservatorship (sp?) and how easy or difficult it is to break out of those shackles is a very valid issue and concern.

        I suspect, that this is could be an issue for people who have had mental health issues and somebody gets legal control of their finances etc. As they get better, one wonders how easy it is to get out of that. I might look up some articles on this.

        thanks for the reply. Great point.

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          I get what you mean about the comments about intervention in Britney’s situation because realistically we can’t help her.
          I do think this article would be a great starting off point for a discussion about the legal issues surrounding conservatorship though but that’s probably just because I’m a law student who’s obsessed by any and all legal issues.

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          I agree. I am a chem major so law is a mystery to me, but its great we have people like you to help those of us (read – me) who are clueless on most things law. I do find it an interesting question, to bring it down to average people who we can help, this question of the mentally ill and what happens when they get better and try to regain control again. I was serious when I said I want to look up some articles on that because I am guessing it happens very frequently.

          take care.

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    I am not a Brit fan. I don’t admire singers who can’t sing, and dancers who are mediocre. Compared to her, Ke$ha is Placido Domingo, sorry. Brit is the musical equivalent of canned soup, and barely human in an artistic sense.

    Having said that, this conservatorship sounds horrendous. How did her dad get life-long control over her? She is obviously not incapable of functioning if she can tour and do interviews.

    If her dad has complete control over her legal actions and her finances, then she couldn’t get a lawyer without his OK, or marry without his permission, as all of those are contracts, and she has no legal standing as an individual.

    This is awful. Free Brit, and free music from her. All would be better off.

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      I don’t see how bashing Britney as an artist and comparing her to canned soup is relevant to the article at all. And I’m actually offended by it.
      I’m glad you see what’s going on with her personal life is wrong, because it’s people like you that dismiss her as being a silly popstar and not seeing the sadness in her life.

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    I always thought the conservatorship was iffy, but never realized the extent of it. How could one of the most famous women in the world have legally no rights? Reading this made my stomach churn- but I’m so glad you’re bringing it to attention and talking about a wrong that everyone else seems to ignore.

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    It looks like she is using a body double in her video “Until the World Ends” ~ Check it out on YouTube “Britney Spears – All Body Double Scenes Revealed (Till The World Ends)”
    What do you think??

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    This article is really pathetic. Its author is even more tragic than Britney.

    Calling her father “emotionally abusive” with no evidence to back that claim up, is libelist. Britney requested that the conservatorship be extended when the time came a year ago. So, give me a break. She doesn’t want to run her life. Why would she? It’s so much easier for her to have someone else take care of all that “un-fun stuff”. Hell, even her kids aren’t taken care of by her.

    It’s time to grow up. Britney had a shelf life, and she’s been expired for a number of years now, running on empty. She was a marketing tool, and now they have younger, prettier, and perhaps even better: a few gals with an ounce of talent, waiting in the wings. Britney is considered an over-the-hill fossil for the shtick she’s still trying to pull. Her claim to fame was playing the Lolita. Once she hit 25, and pushed out a couple of kids, the fantasy was over.

    It’s time for Britney to retire.

    “Femme Fetale” is a commercial bomb. It opened to an abysmal 276k last week in the US, and will be knocked out of the top spot on the Billboard 200 by UK singer, Adele, who already hit #1 with her latest album, and has had it available in America since February! Britney is being beaten by a two month old album. Lady Gaga broke digital sales/radio play records with her latest single, “Born This Way”. The single stayed at #1 for 6 straight weeks, something that hasn’t been done since Elton John’s 1997 “Candle In The Wind”. Britney, who released her single right around the same time as Lady Gaga’s, hit #1, but only lasted there a week. This is a massive blow to Britney Spears Inc. Others are treading on Britney’s territory and have taken it over. “Femme Fetale”, bombed big time in the UK, and in France. Rihanna’s “Loud” beat Britney’s new album on the UK charts, and that album’s been out for how long??

    Britney’s fans are scared to let her go because without her their childhoods are truly over. They have to come to grips and grow up, not to mention face the reality that a new generation has taken over.

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      You kind of missed the WHOLE point of the article, you know, about Britney not giving a shit, not being in it to win it in any way shape or form anymore? No big surprise sales are off.

      She really should just take a dive and let her career go to shit so her father is conservator of nothing. See how fast he leaves when the money dries up.

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        That was never an option before because she had a contract with JIVE to release 7 albums, and there was some kind of restriction on how many years apart they have to be, touring, etc.

        But Femme Fatale completes her contract with Jive, so now this is a very interesting time for Britney and we’re all waiting to see what she does after this era. Hopefully retiring, or eliminating the conservatorship and releasing music she truly loves.

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    “Almost immediately following the MTV interview, Rolling Stone was the first to discover a series of defensive hoops Jamie had reflexively put in placed around his daughter, what Jenny Eliscu described as “a rigorously micromanaged process.” She wasn’t allowed to be alone with Britney, her questions had to be submitted for Jamie’s approval, and acceptable topics included “her new album, her boys, and that’s about it.””

    That’s how it works! All interviewers are told straight off the bat what is allowed to be asked, and what’s off limits. Nothing to see here!

    “Where’s the surly gum-snapping blonde who wrote “Touch of my Hand” and “I’m a Slave 4 U”?”

    Yeah… sure, she wrote those. *snort*

    Why does this author constantly refer to her as “Brittany”? Some fan!

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    The commenter ‘Brian’ is some Lady Gaga stan trying to undermine Brit.

    At any rate —

    The conservatorship is a horrific violation of her civil liberties, but it does ***NOT*** allow Jamie to “force her to perform.” She has to perform because she HAS A CONTRACT WITH JIVE RECORDS THAT SHE HAS TO FULFILL. She either fulfills it or buys it out. That has NOTHING to do with the conservatorship.

    The conservatorship is noxious enough on its own — you don’t need to lie about it to make it look bad.

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    I won tickets to see Britney Spears in Vegas a few weeks ago. My friend and I left the club feeling very sad. It was creepy. The mood was very dark and whatever semi-energy she had was forced.

    Thank you for writing this article. It shines a light on how messed up this situation is. Poor Britney.

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      Hi, CYB. My friend and I are thinking of going to Vegas for her concert. I note you went to the one a few weeks ago. All the hype was that it was great ~ really? What do you think? Would you have paid to go? I am coming from Canada so not a cheap trip. Maybe she will never do another one if this is the last record of the contract deal.

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    Ah, yes. We should all rescue Britney so we can put her safely back into the arms of Sam or Adnan where she truly thrived.

    Her father has nothing to do with her requirements to her label which she is still under for now. With or without him, she has to fulfill her label obligations and I think her dad is just trying to help her function as best as possible under the circumstances. It’s quite easy to blame her dad rather than feeling like he stepped in and did what any father would do to save his child.

    How quickly people forget the round the clock endless driving, the Rite-aid runs at 2am while talking in a British accent, paparazzi gathering INSIDE her home, the crying on the curb all alone. Not one but 2 5150 holds. Surely Britney is perfectly fine and those damned judges, doctors and entire medical team are all in on this together. You know, to help Jamie steal his daughter’s fortune.

    It’s quite easy for us on the outside to sit and judge what makes Britney tic. Maybe, just maybe Britney is doing her best given her mental state and or rehabilitation. It doesnt happen overnight – and as Britney has said many times before, dancing and music are her life and they are what keep her going. I’d like to jump on the bandwagon with you and claim her dad is behind the scenes with a whip telling her to get out there and perform, but my common sense tells me otherwise.

    After all, someone has to be the villain or there’s no story to be had. Lets not forget Jason Trawick because surely he is in on this too. Perhaps he and Jamie are splitting those big paychecks that the court actually controls to make sure people cant touch Britney’s money. Well there goes that conspiracy.

    Okay, </sarcasm but really.. Lets just look at this for what it is. She is and probably always will be recovering from a nightmare we cant even begin to fathom, and making music keeps her busy, helps to heal her mind and dancing, whether we think its up to par these days, is as Britney has said "very thereputic for her".

    Whether you're on team Britney or Team Free Britney, people should not judge unless they know the facts which is what I try to do. Not judge.

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      PB, you make some good points, and bipolar illness can be severe even on medication. However, if one is that ill, fulfilling contract obligations does not fall high on the list of priorities and I doubt she could be sued for not being able to do so during severe illness. So, where this goes wrong for me is that if she is ill enough to need this conservatorship and this close of monitoring I cannot see how the stress (no matter how controlled it is) of touring/recording to the degree she does can be considered ok. She is quoted as saying singing and dancing are therapeutic? Meaningless quote as she is edited. What if she would have finished the sentence with …but I’d like to do it now and then and I really just want to raise my kids.
      I can see him looking out for her future re: money but that amount is obscene if that is the justification.
      Aside: I went back and clicked on the permanent link and part of that article states:
      “Britney’s father Jamie will now have long-term control over her assets, estate and business affairs and Spears’s mental health will be closely monitored by a team of experts. The order will remain in tact until the 26-year-old has made a full and stable recovery.” So, it is not forever.

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          Mental health is not an exact science, so I can see why you brought that up. But there are guidelines such as lack of hospitalizations and/or short term quickly stabilized ones, medication compliance (I hate that term but that is how it is referenced), responding rather than being intractable to medication therapy, not putting self or others in danger by actions (which is different than suicide issues), And, no, being on meds for life doesn’t equal incapable of living life on one’s own.

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      I agree completely with you, PB. All that she’s went through has had an effect on her. People think that she can just bounce back, but it was a lot. Just because she doesn’t wear neon wigs anymore or chase after paparazzi with an umbrella doesn’t mean that she is completely stable.

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      You make a good point, PB.
      Yes, it’s true that if it wasn’t for her father intervening she might not even be with us today. He DID help her get her life back on track. And he did so by the TEMPORARY conservatorship. The problem is that she seems to be better now. She’s released two albums, had a 90+ show tour, and is now embarking on another tour. I don’t think a conservatorship is even needed at this point. The girl can manage her own life without being caged by men in suits.
      The poor girl can’t even have a cell phone.

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    You don’t know how incredibly sad it makes me to read this. What’s most terrible is that I have to say I agree with everything that you said… Britney is MESSED UP. Her managers have taken everything with this conservatorship way too far, and now as a result, she’s lost almost every bit of personality and passion she had before. She feels so trapped and guarded, and she’s not allowed to free herself. It’s so sad. I recently bought “Femme Fatale”, and I love it to death and think it’s a perfect Pop album. However, some of the songs to me are really eerie. For example, in “I Wanna Go”, she sings “lately people got me all tied up, there’s a countdown waiting for me to erupt.” Now, I got chills when I heard that, because that is SO TRUE about her life right now! She wants so badly to just be able to live and love, and she’s not allowed. I HATE what has happened to her, because she’s always been one of my favorite artists and I’ve been a fan since she first came out back in 1998, but nowadays, she just looks so DEAD most of the time! Like, completely devoid of emotion! She used to be this cute, dorky, giggly girl that everyone loved with a passion, but now… it’s like she’s a robot.

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    I enjoyed your article and I agree with MOST of what you wrote- she doesn’t genuinely seem interested in performing like she used to.

    Michael Jackson had a crummy life at times but whenever he went on the stage he always gave his all on that stage and gave electrifying performances.

    I agree with you that at this stage in her life, Britney doesn’t really want to continue with this career, it’s not her true passion anymore.

    But I disagree with you putting a lot of the blame on her father.

    You’re completely dismissing the years when she went crazy and had bad people in her life like SAM LUTFI who DRUGGED her. I can’t believe you didn’t even mention his name, because he is one of the big reasons for her breakdown.

    You don’t remember the head-shaving bald Britney, the crazy bright wigs, going to clubs with her son in the back-seat of the car, being carried off on an ambulance gurney after locking herself in a room with her sons and screaming hysterically?

    I think that her father Jamie is genuinely trying to help her. If he left her alone, what would have happened to her?

    You can not say that she was stable at that time.

    I think that the bad people she had around her like Lutfi and being surrounded by paparazzi all the time really affected her negatively and made her lonely. But is that her father’s fault? No.

    I really don’t know why you are villainizing her father. In my opinion, he is doing his best to protect her and her children.

    If he or anyone close to her hadn’t done anything and she had a drug overdose like Michael Jackson, everyone would be blaming them (her family, close friends) for deserting her.

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    is what I always thought since his father began taking her life …
    She does all that well yet because of his father, the whole team horn on her head, she can not stop, this is the best for her, etc … etc … But what does she want? I believe she wants to stop, take a break, she’s tired of being Britney Spears, she should want at the very least be able to take account of her life alone, oh and find a guy she loves, she loves Jason, you see this clearly by comparing how she was happy with the kevin and justin, who does not love that guy to death when a loved one with this. While this change does not happen in her life, we see that this girl is a puppet in the hands of his father, a money-making machine that makes a bunch of vultures do not leave dirty up our girl.

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    I recently walked through the conservatorship process with a close friend. We were also told by every professional involved – two lawyers, a social worker, a psychiatrist, an MD and others I can’t remember now – that conservatorship is the route of absolute last resort because once you’re put in a conservatorship, you’re unlikely to ever be released.

    I know this is anecdotal, but this was the advice given to someone with no assets and no remaining treatment options. I can’t understand how the professionals evaluating Britney justified recommending a conservatorship for a young woman who had – if I read the comments correctly – an undiagnosed or untreated mental illness and more than enough assets to pursue any necessary treatment.

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    From People Mag:

    “Commissioner Reva Goetz stated that the permanent conservatorship was “necessary and appropriate.”

    Experts say, however, that the permanent status doesn’t necessarily mean forever.

    “People shouldn’t read too much into the word ‘permanent'” explains Terry K. Wasserman, a mental health lawyer not involved with this case. “In many cases, it’s just a formality to avoid having to renew a temporary status over and over again.”

    A source close to Spears concurs, saying, “This is by no means something that’s going to last forever. The conservatorship being made permanent in name is primarily to ensure increased time with her children, and provide support for her music and work goals.”

    Adds Wasserman: “Ms. Spears can regain control of her life anytime – as long as her doctors feel she’s able to manage her own affairs.” ”

    Now, I certainly think the people quoted in the article (http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20236331,00.html) are painting quite the idealistic picture of the process of exiting a conservatorship. But at the same time, it doesn’t seem like a “permanent conservatorship” is actually a “life sentence” (so to speak).

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      The quotes you cited highlight, for me, many of the problems with this situation (and why the article smacks of pacifying PR to me). Permanent is ‘”just a formality” for not having to renew temporary status over and over.’ Yes, that’s pretty much the definition of permanent vs. temporary. Things become permanent when a situation is stable or unchanging.

      My bullshit meter flared with, “The conservatorship being made permanent in name is primarily to ensure increased time with her children, and provide support for her music and work goals.” The conservatorship status is not just in name, it’s legally binding. She has ample resources to create any support structure she needs to support her goals without the conservatorship.

      But what made me really sad? ‘Adds Wasserman: “Ms. Spears can regain control of her life anytime – as long as her doctors feel she’s able to manage her own affairs.”’ And guess who’s in control of hiring the doctors making this evaluation?

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    Conservatorship? Really? For someone who is capable of working and earning what she does? Not considered fit to hire her own lawyers, but more than fit enough to generate an income for daddy? This decision stinks, and I mean reeks, to high heaven. Something wrong with the legal system if this is allowed to stand. What if she just decides to quit? Can he force her to work? Is she allowed to marry, or does daddy dearest get to vet any contenders for her hand? And, not on drugs? Maybe not the illegal kind. Any number of prescription drugs will produce the zombied-out mess she is now…

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    “When Britney first appeared on the scene, she (justifiably) terrified the Responsible Parents of America with her bubble-gum brand of spasmodic sexuality. Britney was acting out the same desires and curiosities the rest of us had, but she was doing it in front of everybody, and in more revealing shorts.”

    Sans the Rolling Stone photoshoot, Britney generally wore pants and crop tops.

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      Ok it worked.. anyway – i love* britney but i have to say, i miss the olden days. Anyone ever see her true hollywood story? Homegirl could actually sing when she was a kid.. but she gave ti up for pop, leotards, and autotune. I don’t know how i feel about that…

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    her story is so sad. this illuminati bullshit has gone to far it is BEYOND clear they are behind the whole britney spears empire and i think its about time this world gets some freedom of speech for real and the corrupt lawyers and judges that are all satan worshippers just go to f*ckin hell already and stop ruining the lives of anyone who once had a dream of “making it” . hollywood is too f*cked up for its own good anymore. it has killed britney.. just let the girl get her life back and move on, if she doesn’t want to be a 30 year old pop star she shouldn’t have to be one

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    Dear Riese,
    Thanks for writing a well thought article on one of my biggest crushes of all time. I miss the Britney that roamed through the halls of her school in Catholic school girl skirts but with the shirt tied up. I’ll always love Brit and I hope at some point she gets to be who she actually wants to be.

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    I’ve been a fan Britney Spears since she first appeared on the scene, I’ve gotten every cd, been to her concert etc… and when she had that breakdown I felt soooo bad for her & I still do. This conservatorship thing should’ve ended by now, I understand it being put in place towards the beginning when she had her break-down but now it seems she’s on the proper medication & she’s doing better so why does it still exist other than so her dad can make millions off her!!! I miss the old Britney, the one who laughed & made funny faces during interviews, who interacted BIG TIME with her fans, you could genuinally tell she enjoyed herself but now you don’t see that anymore. I dunno if it’s cause she has in fact lost interest in performing or maybe she’s tired of her father telling her what she can & can’t do. Maybe if this conservatorship was lifted we’d start seeing glimpses of the old Britney again, who knows. I just hope in the meantime nothing bad happens :(
    oh btw where’s her MOM in all of this?? or her sister even?? I mean I understand there’s probably not much her sister can do (haven’t heard anything about her since she had her kid) but surely her mom can do something or even if her mom banded together with the rest of the family to oust the father, I mean I understand that Brit had her breakdown while her mom was in the picture so many probably blame her but when she first burst on the scene with her mom, she was happy, energetic, bubbly etc. & then her breakdown came & her father pushed the mom out of the way and took over. Now look @ her, she’s no longer the happy woman she once was when her father wasn’t around, that to me also speaks volumes!!

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    I think this article sums up how wrong this conservatorship really is – but no one seems to be helping Britney, I thought everyone was entitled to legal rights – how can one earn a living for a whole family, yet not be allowed to control ones own life – Is there not a lawyer out there who will step up and help this poor girl – I’m sure she does what she does so she is allowed to see and be with her boys – that the hold the family has.

    If I had money I would help – I would certainly contribute to help her.

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    Coming from a HUGE britney fan, this really shows people how bad it really is, she is such a powerful woman, yet she cant do anything for herself, it sucks knowing what Britney used to be, i have seen her 6 times in concert, and met her once, i would much rather her be a mom and be happy, then forced to “record” music she doesnt even write and songs she doesnt even like, Femme Fatale is NOT her, not in the least bit. Im going to the femme fatale tour, hopefully she puts on a good show because i spent over $800 for tickets, and as for her dad, FUCK YOU.

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      She need to find something else for herself that would make her happy; not children, not the boyfriend, not more clothes, or another mansion or another new car. She peaked at 23 – 25 and it is time for her to move on to another career. She is making herself very unhappy if she thinks she can continue to lip-sync and slowly move and still command the headliner ticket prices. This Femme concert tour will be very interesting to watch given how the critics killed over the Circus tour. I wish I could go as I am a big fan but she is not coming anywhere near me. This might be her last tour.

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    BRITNEY IS BRILLANT!!! Here we are all hating on her father, but she needs him to do that so that she can get insurance on her tour. The insurance company threatened to pull the insurance coverage initially on the Circus tour so she did not contest the conservatorship being extended. She needs it until after this new Femme Fatale tour. Now doesn’t that make more sense??? She isn’t saying anything because we are all thinking it is for the kids. Nope! Doesn’t it figure that it would have to do with Money. I wonder how fast that will change when the tour is over.

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    I am a definite Britney fan. But on to the conservatorship issue. Having a mental health issue does not by any means equal or mean that one is necessary. She is indeed able to function and do a good many things that would indicate someone being in control of her is unnecessary. She may be bipolar but that doesn’t equal what she has going on. Look, we have clients with a number of disorders that come through our facility in crisis respite and most of them do NOT have even a guardian. Granted they aren’t pop stars but being one doesn’t equal needing a conservatorship. Which honestly seems rather extreme. I can agree it would seem that earlier on she needed someone to step in and help her so to speak.

    This whole thing with Britney is heartbreaking and if she wants out of the business she should be allowed out. She should be able to be free of her father. Mental illness is not something that just goes away. It’s a battle and some days it’s going to be harder than others but again this in my eyes does not mean that a conservatorship is necessary. While I can see that there was a benefit early on(or so it would seem) for it to continue is not beneficial.

    It is true that none of us know exactly the whole situation. That’s something Britney and a few others know. So, I don’t repeat myself I’ll leave my comment here. Thanks for the article.

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    Wow–this is an insanely well-written article. Thanks so much for articulating a situation that seems superficial but is actually very tragic, and part of a much larger issue of women’s roles in the pop music industry.

    I’m about a year younger than Britney, and until you just equated yourself to her age-wise and in life experience, I hadn’t thought about being roughly the same age as her, particularly in the way I think of myself and the world now in my late 20s rather than the way I did when I was a teenager or in college. Priorities change; outlooks change. But clearly this is a woman who is not being allowed to grow up. Creepy.

    Like you said, I both loved and hated Britney Spears’ music as a younger person (I do think Toxic is one of the best dance numbers ever), but this article really humanizes her in a different way than I’ve read before. So thanks.

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    Comment post problems. Tryin’ again.

    First thought in my head when I saw it (aside from holy shit! Those lips! that partially shaved head! XD~) was that this thing is queering the hell out of an established scene of guys/etc. posturing like, well, I’ll let y’all decide for yourselves what to compare it to…

    PS read the first harry potter book today.

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