Freedom, at its most basic level, means having the right to control one’s life. What we are learning in the case of Britney Spears is that the conservatorship she lives under has taken this freedom away from her.
There are a lot of individuals who work behind the scenes making sure Spears’ business machine runs smoothly. Folks like lawyers, publicists, agents, managers and the like. And there are individuals such as her father James Spears who also plays a role in helping to manage her career and life. I have no interest in passing judgement on any of these individuals or commenting on personal situations in her life that I know nothing about.
My criticism is the way in which conservatorships restrict a person’s right to control their own life.
Given that Spears is the bread winner for a small army of people who depend on the fruits of her labor to maintain their lifestyles, her conservatorship could be described more in terms of court-ordered slave labor.
- First the obvious. Any musician who has the wherewithal to record several successful albums, to go on a world tour, to perform in Vegas for many years, and to succeed at other businesses is plenty capable of handling all the other mundane details in their life. Spears is one tough woman. Many people simply couldn’t handle this kind of stress and workload. The fact that she can handle this stress tells me she’s capable of making her own decisions.
But as Spears’ stated in her recent court appearance, those enforcing her conservatorship won’t even let her take out her intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD). If this is true, then her conservators are not even allowing Spears to control her own reproductive rights.
That should make every woman angry.
- Secondly, it’s unclear how much of a choice Britney Spears has in planning for her future as an international pop star. In other words, can Spears choose when she wants to go on her next tour or produce another album? Or is she living in a nightmare in which she has no say in future work opportunities and contractual negotiations?
I suspect she has considerable input in her career choices. However, if she is caught in a situation where she has little or no say, then she is in a sense being forced to perform and generate income for those who have a vested in making sure she continues to perform.
Such a situation could easily be viewed as a form of slave labor.