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pop princess I've no plans to join the Free Britney campaign

It’s unimaginable now that any teenage girl’s ‘unsoiled by sex’ image would be monetised


Britney Spears

Britney Spears

Britney Spears

Free Britney Spears, with every 12-inch pizza.

Sorry, it's hard not to be flippant when the subject of the growing campaign is a multi-millionaire pop princess who's having daddy issues.

I haven't been so unmoved since Amy Winehouse sang 'Free Blakey' at Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday concert. Blakey was her husband who'd been banged up for assault and trial fixing, so he'd suffered almost as much as Mandela.

Britney's treatment at the hands of a conservatorship in the US has been attracting a growing band of support from diehard fans for several years and the recent New York Times documentary has lit a fire under the public interest in her plight.

I saw an item about the documentary on the news just after a piece about Bedouin people having their homes wrecked by the Israeli army and the plight of families enduring the war in Yemen.

Next up, Britney's stuck in her mansion posting dancing videos on Instagram while other people make decisions about her money.

It's like moaning to a nurse on a Covid ward that you're suffering without a regular hair appointment.

But this is the talented Ms Spears so she's got celeb fans like Cher, Miley Cyrus and Gwyneth Paltrow - who may be moved to create a Britney-scented candle if we're not careful.

The renewed spotlight on the 39-year-old's career and treatment by the media recalls a woman who went from being the biggest pop star on the planet to the punchline of a thousand jokes.

Britney's mental health struggles were played out publicly with images of the distressed singer shaving her head, beating a photographer's car with a broken umbrella and being carted away in an ambulance after locking herself in a bathroom with one of her young sons, whom she'd lost custody of (to her ex-husband Kevin Federline).

If that seems mad, and it was, the even madder world of Britney had a highly sexualised image accompanying her declarations of virginity throughout a three-year relationship with Justin Timberlake.

They were the Ken and Barbie of pop, who didn't need genitals because they weren't doing anything with them.

It's unimaginable now that a teenager's 'unsoiled by sex' image would be monetised, but the obviously untrue declarations of purity earned Britney a dressing-down from US news legend Diane Sawyer.

It's the equivalent of being slut-shamed by Esther Rantzen.

With hindsight we insist that the media scrum which followed her public breakdown would never happen now.

Tell that to Jesy Nelson from Little Mix who announced a step back from the limelight in December following a torrent of abuse on social media.

The judgemental focus and the misogyny haven't changed, just the arena.

Spears' only comment on the guardianship issue, following the release of the NYT documentary was, "remember, no matter what we think we know about a person's life it is nothing compared to the actual person living behind the lens".

It doesn't tell us anything, regardless of her madder fans' insistence that she's sending secret signals via her dancing videos.

Those tiny tartan shorts are multi-tasking, as distress flares.

She has, however, insisted after a court hearing last November which allowed her father Jamie to continue as co-conservator with an investment fund that she will not perform in public again until his control ends.

Not many women can boast that withdrawing their labour will cause a loss of millions of dollars.

Britney is not a powerless little girl who needs to be saved because she's a victim of big bad men.

But plenty of young women are. When do they get their campaign?

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