WE SHOULD’VE LEFT BRITNEY ALONE

ALARA ALPAY

We all follow the lives of young artists and celebrities, who were placed on the headlines for their relationships, scandals and rumors, especially in the 2000s. But how closely do we pay attention to their personal feelings and privacy as we follow what these people are doing so closely?

In 2007, we all laughed at and mocked the internet phenomenon Chris Crocker when he cried “Leave Britney alone!” in a YouTube video. The reason why Chris was so upset was not only because of her performance at the MTV Video Awards that year, but because of the misogyny against her that we can now recognize very clearly.

We failed to recognize that a young girl whose youth and beauty was objectified and sexualized by the media, faced unanswered questions, embarrassing accusations, both as an artist and as a mother.

Every news story the media has made about Britney for the past decade has been aimed at her mental health, her former relationships or her motherhood – and that is just wrong. Although we did not realize how the media and popular culture were insidious towards young women, a new documentary called “Framing Britney Spears” sheds light on these embarrassing moments and even if it is a bit late, it provokes a reaction against misogyny and the toxicity of the obsession with the “celebrity culture.”

This documentary is a little different from the others, neither Britney personally, nor her family, nor her manager are featured in this documentary. It’s no surprise that his family and his father, who has controlled his life through conservatorship for 12 years now, have refused to talk about it. What’s surprising is that the documentary consists of scenes and moments from the programs, talk shows and interviews Britney attended; meaning archive footage – which are direct examples of the hatred and psychological violence Spears had to endure and suffered over the years.

In a 2003 program she attended, Diane Sawyer asks Britney why she broke Justin Timberlake’s heart, as if Britney was the only culprit of this mutual separation and Justin Timberlake was the victim. In 2006, Dateline presenter Matt Lauer exposed a photo of her driving with her son Sean in her arms – a photo taken by one of the dozens of paparazzi chasing Britney – and attacking Britney’s parenting abilities; all of this happening while Britney cries and very sadly shares her feelings about being constantly harassed by the paparazzi and her every step being followed. As if it was worse for a woman to hold her son than to be chased by hundreds of people and not shown any respect for her privacy.

Long story short, no one needs to give an explanation or give an interview to recognize the misogyny against Britney, these video clips from just 10-15 years ago surely clarify a lot of things; How destructive and harmful paparazzi and media terror can be and how easily the media can control our opinions and thoughts. Because, unfortunately, when Britney was going through all these traumas, almost the whole world thought she was crazy because she shaved her head and everybody made fun of her.

What we see in the documentary and the misogyny are shameful, and in 2021 there is no room for such acts anymore, media outlets and paparazzi have to be much more careful, but most importantly, they need to show that they have common sense. For years, not only Britney, but dozens of successful women like herself have had to endure sexist questions since their youth and have had awkward and uncomfortable experiences as a result.

Although we like to be curious about what the celebrities we love and care about do everyday and follow their every moment, we should not forget that being famous is both a blessing and a curse that can ruin people’s lives. With the documentary “Framing Britney Spears”, we can change our perspective and reflect our love by showing our favorite celebs respect and understanding, instead of constantly following or harrasing them. As Chris Crocker would say; Leave Britney and talented women like herself ALONE!


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