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The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

Britney Spears: The Woman in Me

This is the cover of Britney Spear’s new book The Woman in Me.

To write about Britney Spears, you can’t just write about Britney Spears. She was the pop star of the early 2000s’; she was hospitalized twice by her own father; she was bled dry by her family, her romantic relationships, and the veracious media who tried to put her on a pedestal while dehumanizing her. She was an icon, a phenomenon, a symbol, but rarely herself. 


In her memoir The Woman in Me, Spears finally wrote about herself. She starts with her childhood in Kentwood, Louisiana, where she stores most of the fond memories. “When I sing, I own the world,” Spears recounts in her book. Her path to fame starts off rather early. She started auditioning at the age of four for a Christmas program at her mother’s workplace, and gained popularity during her time on “The Mickey Mouse Club” at age eleven. Spears released her smash-single “…Baby One More Time” at eighteen. In the autobiography, Spears recounts that at eighteen was “probably the moment in my life when I had the most passion for music.” 


Spears undisguises feelings as she writes about her wounded relationships. Exploitation comes in the center of most of her relationships: the men around her, especially her own father, utilizes her for fame or money. After a public breakdown, a thirteen-year-long conservatorship started in 2008 when her father petitioned for a court-ordered conservatorship which meant that he would handle all of his daughter’s personal and financial affairs. Spears has since lived under his control. Throughout this time, she still continued to produce big-selling albums and made many appearances on headlines, magazines, and onstage performances. The public eventually became suspicious and concerned of the pop-stars personal being. Fans conspired that Britney Spears’ freedom was completely taken away by her father. The #FreeBritney movement was started by her fans trying to spread awareness of her situation. The conservatorship ended in 2021, and Spears began to openly speak about her experiences with her father.  She discussed that during this time, her struggles with depression were accompanied by a lack of autonomy and personal will. The Woman in Me has been dubbed “Spears’s truest voice”. 


The men around her were not the only ones exploiting her: the media uses Spears’ hyper-sexed image to shame her, promoting a national fascination with white femininity and virgin appeal. Spears was constantly pictured as the Southern girl from next door, someone charming, innocent and young but in interviews often asked about her breasts and virginity. Regardless of her creativity on fashion choices, the media criticized her clothing while obsessively sexualizing America’s sweetheart. 


Misogyny sets the foundation for Spear’s horrific experience in the music industry: the industry that  somehow turned her from talent to tramp. Finally, in her own words and voice, The Woman in Me helped her regain a long-lost aphasia in public under constraints. More than a form of amusement, reading this memoir is a good way to review the rises and tumbles of a pop-star’s life as well as her enduring optimism. 

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