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Exploiting Britney Spears

Framing Britney Spears as Exploitation

I wanted access to Britney Spears all of the time. Like most ten year-old-girls in the year 2000, I wanted to be just like her.

In the lexicon of pop culture, statements like "I'm having a breakdown like Britney in 2007," or "They put Kanye on a 5150 hold like Britney," or "She showed her Britney," convey how we remember Britney Spears best: through her fall from grace. I remember sitting on the CVS pharmacy floor flipping through the pages of J-14 and Teen People, trying to skim through a lengthy interview with Britney Spears or behind-the-scenes pictures from her newest music video. I wanted access to Britney Spears all of the time. Like most ten year-old-girls in the year 2000, I wanted to be just like her. Before anti-paparazzi laws and restrictions improved in Los Angeles, paparazzi granted us the access we craved. However, her very public and photographed personal life soon eclipsed her music career.


Framing Britney Spears, a 2021 documentary a part of The New York Times Presents series on FX/Hulu, attempts to reframe and re-narrativize the pop singer's mark in pop culture and music history. New York Times senior editor Liz Day pitched this idea: "What if we made OJ: Made in America but for Britney Spears?"-referring to the Oscar-nominated ESPN-produced 5-part documentary series about disgraced football player OJ Simpson. Framing Britney Spears, inspired by social media's viral #freebritney movement, presents itself as an investigative documentary set on chronicling Spears' rapid loss of freedom under her now 12 year-long conservatorship overseen by her father, Jamie Spears.


Despite the filmmakers claiming to have good intentions in reframing Britney's story, we re-invade Britney's privacy by sharing this imagery. These experiences were never meant to be public, and yet they were made public.