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Lessons Learned from Britney Spears’ Battle to Control Her Life

Lessons Learned from Britney Spears’ Battle to Control Her Life July 7, 2021

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.

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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.

/ Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

 

About Scott R. Stahlecker
Scott Stahlecker is a former minister and now writes for Thinkadelics about the joys and benefits of living as a freethinker. He is the author of the novel Blind Guides and Picking Wings Off Butterflies. You can read more about the author here.

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8 responses to “Lessons Learned from Britney Spears’ Battle to Control Her Life”

  1. Something to keep in mind: Spears was a micro-managed child star–her mother had her in baby pageants practically from birth. Under constant vigiliance, she was able to perform.

    The minute she was a legal adult, she promptly went off her meds and went off the rails. From marrying randos in quickie Las Vegas weddings to sleeping with random strangers to shaving her head and screaming at people in public, to getting repeatedly pregnant and endangering her children by tearing up and down the highway in a convertible with no seatbelts and the children on her lap…she spun off the rails.

    Then someone took charge of her, got her on her meds, and she became functional. Not mature; she doesn’t have to think about anything in the world besides performing–which sometimes she claims she loves and other times claims she hates. She doesn’t have to make any plans, pay the light bill, worry about car insurance…she’s like a child because she can’t handle adult responsibilities.

    This is no surprise to anyone who has a family member or close friend with mental illness–on their meds, they’re somewhat functional. But the second they’re in control of their meds, they go off and spin off into crazy and self-destructive behavior.

    Even on her meds, she’s done stupid things like setting her workout room on fire and finding it hysterically funny. She can’t have custody of her kids because she lacks basic maturity. When allowed to speak for herself, she’s incoherent…and this is *on* her meds.

    Now she wants to go off her meds, take out her IUD, and have more children she can’t take care of. She was never known for her brains, but it seems like she’s got the reasoning ability and emotional development of a pre-teen.

    But for people looking out for her, she’s be broke and homeless and toothless, wandering around the streets screaming at random passersby.

  2. Those are details I did not know about her! Would it be sexist of me to say that you offer womanly insight that went over my head?

    My approach to writing this post was to focus on how her conservatorship effects her freedoms. Granted she’s made a lot of mistakes, but haven’t we all? And many of us have made far more worse mistakes and still don’t live under a conservatorship.

    I feel for her. It would be interesting to learn more about how her pressures to perform at an early age influenced her actions and decisions later in life.

  3. That was a good short read.

    Without getting into specifics, I have a family member that doesn’t need to live under a conservatorship, and Britney seems far more capable than she or he.

    And WTF? She claims she doesn’t even have the choice to have a child. And this happens in America?

  4. Scott, she’s got 2 children that she doesn’t take care of. They had to go to their father (who against all odds has turned out to be a competent parent). And she’s on a medication for her mental health that causes terrible birth defects. You wouldn’t express outrage if a 40-something-year-old woman on (for example) cancer-fighting drugs whined that she wanted a BAYBEEE, right-now-this-very-minute, and “they” wouldn’t let her.

    She’s got the mental age and poor decision making skills of a preteen. She burned down her exercise studio with candles and thought it was hilarious. Her musings about being an adult sound like an 8-year-old vowing that they’re going to grow up and eat candy all night and spend their days at theme parks. And this is when she’s on her meds. This is as good as it gets.

    I think your greater question is valid–should we be taking a look at conservatorship? Absolutely. Should this particular woman be set free to live as she wants? Only if you want to see her toothless in the gutter five years from now, flinging trash at people and screaming incoherently as her five children cling to her in terror.

  5. That’s where I was going with this post, that perhaps it’s time to rethink the conservatorship rules and regs. Because of her celebrity status, I think Britney is going a long way in bringing this issue to the forefront.

    Even so, I err on the side of freedom, and if people want to live toothless in a gutter that’s their choice. With her sizable income though, it would be no problem for a few good lawyers to draw up trust paperwork that would ensure that she never has to be homeless. The primary concern, of course, is for the children. Lots of people who have kids don’t have what it takes to raise them to be responsible adults. But even in these situations the state doesn’t take away the rights of the parents.

  6. The state has already taken away custody of Britney’s two existing children and given them to her husband because she was such an unstable, dangerous mother. If you recall, she spent a couple of years off the rails until someone took control of her and made sure she took her meds. The only reason she appears competent to some people is that for years she’s had no responsibilities–someone else takes care of all the adult responsibilities like food and medical appointments and paying her bills for her.

    I think we’re going to disagree about her in particular, but you made an excellent point about the whole process of conservatorship being reviewed.

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