I’ll say it again. Britney Spears‘ mental health is damaged, and it’s all our fault. Maybe not entirely, but the we, the media, played a substantial part of obliterating a child who just wanted to grow up doing doing what she loved.
Framing Britney Spears, a documentary released by The New York Times, premiered on FX and Hulu on Feb 5. The film centers around the conflict over her conservatorship, and journey up to this point. Reflecting on the mistreatment she has endured through out her career.
How many times do we see parents telling their children, “You can be anything you want to be when you grow up.” Does that also include being treated like a Circus Clown act? For decades, Spears was surrounded by people seeking to capitalize off her (as many young celebrities are), and abused by an insidious culture who would not leave her alone.
I didn’t want to do this story. I didn’t want to feed into the chaos of being another person who doesn’t respect someone else’s private life or personal struggles. Life is complex and perplexing as it is, and the idea of being trapped in a pandemic struggling with a severe mental health condition feels like walking a tightrope.
The sobering truth is this — what can happen to someone with a lack of attention and someone who has too much attention can have the same effect — losing their mind.
Britney Spears deserved all of her glory, but she didn’t deserve to be harassed and abused for it. Spears is not just a performer; she’s someones daughter, sister, cousin, girlfriend, best friend, and Mom.
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How can we say we love and revere someone so much and equally destroy them at the same exact time? Our music artists deserve better treatment from the media. Yes, music can transform our moods and lives, and it can sometimes feel like a heroic life saving event, especially when we are having the worst day of our lives. Playing that one song that makes us feel like we will be okay.
But the mistake people make is that artists are not heroes, they are human. They have good days and bad days, and sometimes they feel lost too.
Mental Health has been a very observed topic in this era, and instead of us talking about our own demons, what if we acknowledged the people around us who might be struggling, too? What if we did our part to be kinder, sympathetic, and courteous.
You really don’t know what someone else’s life is like. You can be rich, but not have control of your own money. You can be in love, and still feel extremely alone. You can smile all the time, but feel broken on the inside. How many people REALLY know what it’s like to live in your shoes…
Britney deserved better from us, and the media. She deserved better from her fans who bombarded her personal space, and the men in her lives who only loved the idea of her but not the entire person that she was.
We’re so sorry, Britney.
Jessica Velle reports on entertainment, politics, social media and stories relevant to the Latinx community. She can be reached at Jessica@reel360.com.