America has traditionally enjoyed destroying young women. Short yet incomplete list: Judy Garland received amphetamines at 16 on the 1938 “The Wizard of Oz” set. In 1942, Frances Farmer was institutionalized against her will, and Dorothy Stratten, 20, was killed by her ex-manager in 1980.
A year after Stratten died, Britney Spears was born. Her new memoir, “The Woman in Me,” says we haven't made much headway in avoiding harming the people we love.
Most of her address before the judge wasn't about the millions her father, presumably in her best interests, stole from her under conservatorship. Instead, she requested human treatment. “I deserve to have the same rights as anybody,” Spears added. “By having a child, family, or those things.”
Madonna, like Faulkner and West, advocated for her human rights. Her drunken, mistreated father James Spears reared her in Kenwood, Louisiana. His mother committed herself at his baby brother's grave after being institutionalized against her choice. Kerry Howley's 2022 New York magazine feature on Britney's parents is great.
James, a local sports legend, struggled after high school, like many other stars. After an early divorce, James married a local beauty named Lynne, who presented him with divorce papers in 1980, claiming his drinking and aggression. She took him back and had three daughters, Britney being the oldest.
One of her earliest recollections is her mother shouting at her intoxicated, incoherent father. “Just feed him and go put him to bed, he’s sick,” Britney yelled at her mother. Spears says, “To be honest, it was kindness to us when he went away.” He disappeared for days.
What did we learn? Interviewers and paparazzi lament turning the Princess of Pop into a hunted animal and a target. We discuss how we all learnt.