26th Jun 2021
The singer took to social media to try to explain why she felt she had to pretend to followers and fans that she's been okay for the past two years.
It’s very much a woman thing; that of putting your best foot forward, pretending all is well. This is something Britney Spears had tried in vain to master the past two years, but fans knew better.
You can see it in a handful of her Instagram posts. Alongside the social media posts, all a mix of selfies and dance videos, kittens, and quotes – no smiles ever really reach her eyes. There’s no light behind them. They felt unsettling to watch. It’s always been widely speculated that she does not actively control her own social media, and she admitted in court at times she felt forced to post certain content.
It was only this week the true extent of how much Spears was suffering was revealed.
The’s star’s heart-wrenching, gut-punching statement in Supreme Court detailed the abuse she has suffered at the hands of others – her closest family – for over a decade, thanks to a conservatorship, which has controlled her money and affairs since 2008. It read like a horror movie. The control over even the most basic of functions, her lack of bodily autonomy – she had to get an IUD which her team would not allow her to remove – this is a woman traumatized and coerced, often forced to work against her will.
It was devastating to read. She hadn’t spoken out sooner because she feared she would not be believed. It’s a legitimate fear, we’ve long put almost no value when it comes to the suffering women must endure.
And yet her putting on a front and telling everyone she was fine when it was the opposite helped her get through the worst of it, as she explained on social media.
After requesting to end her longstanding conservatorship, Spears took to Instagram on Thursday to “apologise” for pretending she was okay: “I don’t want people to think my life is perfect.”
“I believe as people we all want the fairy tale life and by the way I’ve posted…my life seems to look and be pretty amazing,” she wrote. “I think that’s what we all strive for !!!! That was one of my mother’s best traits…no matter how shitty a day was when I was younger…for the sake of me and my siblings she always pretended like everything was ok. I’m bringing this to peoples [sic] attention because I don’t want people to think my life is perfect because IT’S DEFINITELY NOT AT ALL…and if you have read anything about me in the news this week you obviously really know now it’s not.”
Spears then expressed an apology for “pretending” she’s “been ok the past two years” and offered an explanation as to why she didn’t speak out before about what was happening behind the scenes.
“I did it because of my pride and I was embarrassed to share what happened to me…but honestly who doesn’t want to capture there [sic] Instagram in a fun light,” she wrote. She went on to say that “pretending that I’m ok has actually helped.”
“Believe it or not pretending that I’m ok has actually helped…so I decided to post this quote today because by golly if you’re going through hell….I feel like Instagram has helped me have a cool outlet to share my presence… existence… and to simply feel like I matter despite what I was going through and hey it worked… so I’ve decided to start reading more fairy tales!!!!!”
What she’s written is jarring and a depiction of her coping mechanisms, very much hoping her life could be something else and attempting to gloss over the cracks. There have been studies that have said reading fairy tales actually improves mental health, so if that’s how the singer gets some comfort, after all she’s had to endure, so be it.
What’s equally striking is her need to feel she had to apologise when it’s the other way around.
We should be apologising to her.