I have been surprised and impressed with how many people decided, seemingly all that the same time, that Britney Spears should be released from her conservatorship. Years ago, when Britney was having public meltdowns people seemed to believe she needed help. What I don’t understand is what changed everyone’s mind? Was it as simple as hearing from her what she wanted?
The recent Netflix documentary, “Britney vs Spears” gives some interesting insight into what had, until recently been a very private matter. I don’t typically pay much attention to celebrity gossip, for the most part I feel like it simply isn’t any of my business. I watched the documentary after a therapist friend mentioned it to me. I thought it was interesting and well researched and I felt as though it missed some points.
Conservatorship essentially means that a person or business takes over the decision-making ability for an individual.
In our culture we have agreed that the more vulnerable among us (children, elderly, disabled) should be afforded additional protections. But there are two problems with this; first, where there is prey there are predators, second when does an individual lose free will?
As a culture we have agreed that people get to choose how they live. For example, we only institutionalize people against their will after being convicted of a crime or the (sometimes) subjective option that someone is a danger to themselves or others. When we remove someone’s ability to make autonomous choices, it is NOT supposed to be because we don’t like them or their choices.
Most of us have had or know someone who has had an elderly relative who at some point was no longer able to care for and advocate themselves. It’s this vulnerable population that conservatorship was designed for.
Being wealthy and or famous does not mean that someone is qualified or capable of making good financial decisions. Nicolas Cage, Lindsay Lohan, Wesley Snipes, Ja Rule, etc. have all joined the ranks of people who have made substantial financial mistakes and it doesn’t seem as though anyone is looking to take their decision-making power from them. People are allowed to make poor financial decisions. How many people legitimately thought they would get rich by “investing” in Beanie Babies?!
The documentary hints that Britney may have been addicted to or misusing Adderall at one point. Adderall is an amphetamine and is addictive. Again, addiction alone is NOT a good enough reason to take someone’s decision-making power from them. It can be enough that you lose custody of children and are no longer able to hold certain jobs/positions of power. But we don’t have millions of people who are addicts put into conservatorship.
How many people do you know (male or female) that just can’t seem to get it right in dating? People are allowed to have bad taste in partners. That seemed to be part of the justification for placing Britney into a conservatorship which is insane to me. There are countless books, seminars, support groups and research studies about how to find better partners!
It is not lost on me that I’m only thinking about all of this because I consumed media about it. And I strongly believe that media was part of the problem. She was chased by paparazzi in part because we all seem to think we have some sort of right to private information about celebrities that most of us have never and will never even meet. It’s really none of our business what she does in her free time, who she dates, etc.
I will admit that I’m a fairly private person. My personal nightmare would be to appear on a reality TV show. I can only imagine what it would be like for people to be following me around ALL the time and making judgments about me from the limited things they see. Imagine that in the most stressful time of your life (like a divorce and custody battle), you were also being stalked. It seems pretty obvious that at least part of her problem is a huge lack of privacy.
A friend of mine made a really good point the other day. He said something like, “You understand that the government has done bad things, right? When do you think that stopped?” I cannot conceive of how and why this was even allowed to begin with except for money. People knew how much she was worth and they found a way to steal (yeah, I said steal) money from her.
There is a great dark comedy, also on Netflix, “I Care A Lot” that came out in 2020 and demonstrates how predatory these kinds of conservatorships can be. Just like anything else we force on people, we get it WRONG sometimes. My hope is that the courts will take a much harder look at these kinds of cases in the future and/or that I’m never rich so that no one tries this on me.
As always, I’m here. If you are ready to work on having the life you want, call me and let’s get started!