With six number one albums, a 2001 VMA performance that everyone still thinks about, and a musical influence that cannot be accredited to anyone else, is the eminent pop singer: Britney Spears.
It is a meaningful moment in pop culture, as today marks the release of her long awaited memoir, The Woman In Me. Described by The New York Times as “relegations that send gossip algorithms into overdrive” and an “ongoing thrum of family dysfunction and fear”, this highly anticipated memoir encloses details of the pop star’s life under intense media scrutiny, her relationships with family and the mistreatment she went through, due to the 13- year long conservatorship that lasted much longer than it ever should have.
As the pop star prepares to tell her story, let’s go back to the start.
1998. A transformative year for the music industry, and well, the world. Britney Jean Spears, was just seventeen when she revamped teen pop with her chart debut “Baby One More Time.”
Separating herself from her former Disney career, Spears created a “racy risqué energy that has since then altered the standard of pop music, forever”.It was a thrilling, new adoption of a woman’s creative power. A power that intimidated a lot of people.
2007. The beginning of a trend of picking apart the musician’s personal life, which meant catching her amidst heavy custody battles and public meltdowns. With absolutely no concern of her mental health, this infamous year was focused on broadcasting the artist checking out of two rehab facilities, getting into a car accident, losing custody of her children and jamming a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella. The same night she notoriously shaved her head.
Elaborating on these incidents in her memoir, she describes herself as “out of my mind with grief.” And yet, in the face of these circumstances, she delivered her fifth studio album, Blackout. There were a lot of different ways to look at this record: an album that couldn’t be separated from the preceding chaos and cause heavy damage to the artist’s career, or as i-D likes to convey it, all it would take for this icon to start the journey to winning back her pop music authority were three simple words: “It’s Britney, bitch.”
2008. The loss of control. Of her choices, her capital and her life. Taken in for a psychiatric evaluation twice following a custody dispute with ex-spouse Kevin Federline, Spears was classified as “Gravely Disabled” (GD), meaning she was deemed unfit to take care of herself. Leading to the court to grant Jamie Spears, the pop star’s father, temporary conservatorship- which would grant him total capacity of her and her estate. Under this legal arrangement, he has complete control over who the singer sees, what she does and what she wants to do with her million-dollar income. Thus, beginning this not-so temporary arrangement that would last 13 more years and change the pop singer’s life, possibly in more ways than she changed the music industry.
Sharing a name with Shania Twain’s second studio album, Britney Spears brings an entirely different meaning to the title of her autobiography. Following a review of the book by The New York Times, The Woman In Me is not a “blazing feminist manifesto” that some may want the pop singer to write, rather a rightfully rageful narrative of the circumstances she has dealt with, for the last decade or so -with bizarre conditions such as a schedule that would plan out her every minute and contracts that wouldn’t allow her to remove an intrauterine device from her own body. These are conditions no one should have to ever go through. The singer also voices her interactions with multiple family members and how seeing familiar patterns of deteriorate ing mental health and signs of addiction can be a lot to witness for a teenage girl. She mentions brief accounts of her own relationship with alcohol and Adderall.
The artist also discloses her interactions with other celebrities such as her friendship with Paris Hilton, her compassion for Elton John and her demanded abortion from ex-boyfriend, Justin Timberlake.
Apart from many horrible events and even more horrible people, Spears writes about her connection with music and a sense of optimism about the future. A future that is hers and hers, only. After the successful efforts of the #FreeBritney campaign that led to the end of her conservatorship, The Woman In Me comes pretty close to making her fans the happiest for her. It means so much to the world to see the superstar speak her truth.
And now it really is nothing, but her way.