The Media Shamed Britney Spears For Getting Help
That’s a dangerous habit that needs to stop
Britney Spears has always been associated with what the media loves to label the “downward spiral,” thanks to the series of shocking events back in 2007; that included the abruptness of a shaved head, physical altercations with the relentlessly vile paparazzi, and the heart-wrenching image of her being carted away to the psychiatric ward for observation after losing custody of her sons.
The polarizing scrutiny of the then 27-year-old pop starlet was intense enough to give this age of social voyeurism a run for its money. This sums up the awfulness of the media’s abuse that went far beyond the lines of reason, and into the realm of gross misconduct with elements of life endangerment.
What was happening to the young mother of two, who was in the middle of a dissolving marriage, was payback for a level of fame that many desire, preferably without the endless trespassing by equipped vultures, who are paid to capture the worst moments in life that are callously added to the memory vault of pop culture for eternity.
Even a decade after Spears was forced to endure the epic downfall in full view of disloyal fans, and with the general acceptance that she would never get back on the throne of global adulation, media outlets still chose to punish her with an unworthy anniversary scrapbook, featuring events that almost ruined her for life.
An article in HuffPost from 2017, recklessly recalls the harrowing details of what turned out to be the worst year in the life of an exceptional performer, who spent the best years of her life being exceptional, until she fell under the strain of fallibility, which drew major disapproval from the crowd of perfection, who tend to lose interest once their anointed vixen becomes too human for comfort.
The author mentions how the “shaving-head moment is still unforgettable” after all these years, as if this triumph is a feat that one should be proud of accomplishing, despite the other more vital areas of achievement that have nothing to do with suffering from mental distress.
The offensive article ends on a high note, with an homage to the then 35-year-old entertainer’s amazing comeback story, that proves her resilience and fortitude despite the challenges that threatened to keep her imprisoned.
Of course the author carelessly omitted the paragraph that summarizes all the ways in which reporters like her assisted in making the life of Britney Spears a living hell, by ensuring that her slow climb to the top would be a arduous undertaking; with the probing lenses of violent photographers, baiting at every turn, hoping to log in another mental breakdown, and the biting tongue of writers, who mock the chaotic past before documenting the present.
And now in 2019, an older and wiser Spears is back in the headlines for daring to do the right thing by submitting to a mental wellness check, as a precaution, and with responsibility that confirms her sense of awareness when it comes to lessons learned and the refusal to be devoured by those demons.
Not too long ago, celebrities weren’t allowed to be open about their struggles with depression or serious mental disorders, and that gave the media all the power to demean and downplay what should’ve been handled with care, with the extra dose of information for uninformed readers and viewers who can relate to those periods of disarray.
But in the last 5 years, A-listers like Kanye West, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Destiny’s Child songstress Michelle Williams, Kid Cudi, Serena Gomez, etc have all chosen to take the selfless route of being refreshingly candid about what it means to battle bipolar disorder or other forms of depression.
The diva herself, Mariah Carey, who experienced the very worst the media has to offer when “breakdowns” became the nationalized punchline at your expense, recently confessed that her bipolar disorder was diagnosed in 2001. That was around the time that she stunned viewers with her revealing appearance on MTV’s TRL, and in 2009, a disgusting article in Jezebel referenced that time when “Mariah Went Crazy.”
And now that Britney Spears, who is juggling the blessing of a career rejuvenation with the heartache of an ailing father, and other upheavals of life that normally dominate various stages of existence, is being unfairly assessed by the media’s voracious attempts to capitalize on the resurfaced residue of the past, the only thing to do is to shut it down with a quickness
It’s unforgivable to bully a notable figure, who is being transparent about her ongoing issues, by tasking her with the burden of reassuring the world that despite being a victim of tabloid fodder, that’s taking a toll on her road to recovery, thanks to the destructive rumor mill — she’s still the superwoman, who can balance taking of her mental health with the media’s keenness to keep her under water.
We saw this happen when Serena Gomez willingly checked into a facility, and media outlets quickly went into overdrive with the spin cycle that delivered ridiculous theories about her desperate need for help.
Instead of the reverence by editors when tackling an ultra-sensitive subject matter, we were treated to the play by play of how a young starlet’s “emotional breakdown” was enhanced by the sudden high-profile marriage of her ex-boyfriend.
The media has to do a better job when discussing the fragility of celebrities, especially when these massive platforms have the kind of outreach that warrants the extra attention to detail that could possibly save lives.
We can no longer tolerate the mandated salaciousness and sedated insensitivity that gives permission for the total disregard for the proper healing of superstars, who can’t seem to take a much-needed break from being “super” due to the scorn of society’s unrealistic requirements.
It’s already been proven that depression among Americans of all age groups has risen sharply in the last couple of years, and the epidemic is only getting worse.
This is why we can’t afford not to hold the media accountable for the dire role its playing in exacerbating this crisis with non-stop coverage that deplorably diminishes the reality of mental health, and the heroism of sufferers from all walks of life — who should be praised instead of harassed.
The media shamed Britney for getting help by swiftly posting damaging exit images showcasing her “walk of shame,” as evidence of hard times, and that move was beyond shameful.
Kill the click-baits and do better!