How Framing Britney Spears Has Changed the Way I Think About Celebrities

Framing Britney Spears has made it clear exactly how the media spun Britney Spears’s every move into a narrative that benefited their profit margins — from sexualizing her at a young age, exploiting her romantic relationships, and turning her 2007 meltdown into a lucrative storyline.

As I watched it, I immediately felt guilty. I’ve personally spent years obsessing over celebrities, diving deep on the internet to figure out the nuances of their relationships, and making assumptions about their private lives based on paparazzi photos and salacious headlines.

I considered myself a Britney fan, yet I was one of the many who closely followed her “meltdowns,” joked about her recent social media use, and used the phrase “if Britney survived 2007, you can survive . . .” The documentary, presented by the The New York Times, made me realize I was far from an ally and forced me to confront my own relationship with celebrity culture. For the first time ever, I attempted to put myself in Britney’s shoes. I tried to imagine what it must feel like to go through a private struggle while the public watched, all while scores of people to relied on me for a paycheck. Being a private person with no fame whatsoever, I know my attempt to internalize over a decade of Britney’s trauma was a fraction of what she actually has felt and continues to feel in reality.

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