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Framing Britney Spears exposes the contradictions of American womanhood | Moira Donegan

The documentary makes it clear Britney Spears had a real enthusiasm for performing – and that any woman who became that famous would have been treated that badly

“It’s something that would not have happened to a man in America,” a blond fan says in the opening moments of Framing Britney Spears, a New York Times documentary about Britney Spears. The woman is talking about Spears’ conservatorship, an elaborate legal arrangement, in place since 2009, in which the singer has been declared unfit to manage her own affairs. The conservatorship means that Spears’ life – and her money – are largely under the control of her father, Jamie Spears, who has been appointed conservator by the court. That arrangement has come under scrutiny as fans speculate that Spears’ independence has been needlessly curtailed by a greedy father and a misogynist court system, and that the singer has been trapped in a literal, court-ordained patriarchy. Spears herself has petitioned for the court appoint a different conservator, saying that she is afraid of her father.

Related: The time has come – I’m joining team #FreeBritney. Here’s why you should, too | Arwa Mahdawi

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