Everyone is talking about Britney Spears and her conservatorship. Her struggles with mental illness have left her with almost no rights as a woman, adult, or even a human. The conservatorship has two parts, the first part has to do with her finances and estate affairs, and the second has to do with her as a person. Britney has called the conservatorship abusive, and wants it to end so she can be allowed to marry and have more children. “I deserve to have a life,” said Britney. These all sound like such simple requests, but her life under the conservatorship has been anything but that.
Britney was forced to have an IUD implanted in her, and to take lithium. “Lithium is a very, very strong and completely different medication compared to what I was used to,” she explained to the courts. She was also forced to work, even when she strongly felt like she needed a break. Anytime she spoke out, like when she didn’t like a dance move in her choreography, she was spoken down to and disrespected. In many ways, Britney is being treated like a caged zoo animal – exploited by others for many and denied any freedom of choice in her life.
What conversations can this horrible conservatorship situation spark about women’s rights around the world? Is her story a once-in-a-lifetime headline, or is it a glimpse into the struggles a plethora of women faces every day?
1. Body Autonomy
Human rights are built on the basis of body autonomy. In theory, then everyone should have the right to choose how to take care of their own body. But unsurprisingly, that’s just not the case. According to the United Nations Population Fund, “persons with disabilities, for example, are frequently denied their right to accessible sexual and reproductive health information and services.” This includes information about pregnancy, fertility, abortions, and birth control. To not have access to basic information about how your body works and what you can do to take care of it is unimaginably horrible and probably incredibly confusing, but it’s a reality for far too many.
To make matters worse, the 2021 United Nations Population Fund report states that only “half of adolescent girls and women can make their own decisions that underpin bodily autonomy and integrity.” Body autonomy isn’t just about choosing what to do with your body medically, it also includes virginity testing, genital mutilation, and sexual assault, as the concept of consent is often ignored by those deemed to be ‘in charge’.
We clearly still have a long way to go when it comes to giving women, teenage girls, and people with disabilities the rights they deserve.
2. Forced Labor
In 2017, women and girls made up 99% of forced labor in the commercial sex industry, and 58% of forced labor in other sectors (like the garment and farming industries). Significantly more women are being exploited, trafficked, and enslaved around the world, so when we talk about labor laws, we’re also talking about women’s rights. But women aren’t the only ones being taken advantage of for cheap labor. Children make up a quarter of modern forced labor victims — that is incredibly high.
So why are women being disproportionately targeted? Not having access to education, economic opportunity, and social mobility make women second-class citizens, thereby creating inequality in developing countries that rely on cheap labor for a significant portion of their income. Women in forced labor can be found doing almost every job under the sun, from domestic work, to weaving carpets, to making clothes, to growing food, and so much more.
When we talk about slave labor, the general consensus is that it’s bad and we should get rid of it entirely. But the sheer volume of women working in forced labor almost suggests that it’s significantly more normalized and socially accepted than we might want to believe.
3. Rights for Those Who Have Mentally Illnesses
According to Mental Health America, one out of five Americans has a diagnosable mental health disorder, and half of Americans will experience some sort of “diagnosable mental health condition” in their lifetime. People struggling with mental illness certainly not always treated as equals, especially in a world where discrimination and abuse are already quite prevalent.
Mental Health America advocates for a variety of rights for people with mental illnesses, including the right to live free of “practices of seclusion and restraint”. This means that they are allowed to be a part of communities, have access to services, and have the right to privacy. These are all things Britney Spears, as a person dealing with mental illness, is being vehemently denied. It is entirely possible to acknowledge a person’s mental illness without making it their entire existence and essentially punishing them for it.
Where Do We Go From Here
Britney Spears’ story is one of many – but that doesn’t make it okay. She needs freedom, as do so many other women around the world. Hopefully, the idea of a privileged, wealthy, white, and famous person being unfairly treated makes people wake up and ask more questions about all the other women in the world who also don’t have body autonomy, but don’t have the resources or platform to garner the world’s attention.
Sign this petition to demand freedom for Britney Spears by ending her conservatorship! Then, sign this petition to demand that the U.S. Congress reform conservatorships to make them a last resort and pass legislation providing ample resources for conserved individuals to regain their full rights as human beings!
- Meatpackers Sue OSHA for Failing to Protect Workers from COVID-19
- Biden’s Releases “Agenda for Women” Unveiling his Plan to Make Sure All Women Get Equal Participation in the Economy and Country
- Mexican Activists Occupy Government Building to Protest Inaction on Gender Violence
- Watch the Trailer of “The Glorias” About Gloria Steinem’s Fight for Women’s Rights
- How Climate Change and Covid Have Led to a Resurgence of Child Marriages
For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Lastly, being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!