Leave Britney Alone

I don’t follow celebrity gossip, I only know 1 Britney Spears song (“Oops I Did It Again”, which by the way is an excellent pop song), and I misspelled her first name throughout the first draft of this post. Nevertheless when I read about this part of her recent testimony I got sick to my stomach:

Spears, who is the mother of two teenage boys, told the court that her father and the group of people who control her affairs do not want her to have any more children. She said she was not allowed to go to the doctor to remove her IUD, or intrauterine device, a small birth control device implanted in the uterus.

It’s heart-breaking that a grown woman is being denied the opportunity to have another child. But what really upset me was her father being so obsessed with her reproductive system.

And then there was this:

On medication: Spears said on Wednesday that she was put on lithium against her will. “I felt drunk. I couldn’t even stick up for myself. I couldn’t even have a conversation with my mom or dad about anything. I told them I was scared and they had six different nurses come to my home to monitor me while I was on this medication that I didn’t want to be on to begin with.” Lithium is commonly used to treat bipolar disorder, which often causes episodes of depression and mania, a feeling of uncontrolled irritability or excitement. It can also be used to treat depression. In court today, Spears did not mention any possible medical condition.

One of the hallmarks of US society is the obsession men have with the uteri of women, whether they know those women or not. And this isn’t a recent phenomenon. At the turn of the 19th century, US women’s reproductive health began to move from the care of midwives to the care of “credentialed” medical doctors during a movement to “professionalize” some of these newly-christened “professions”,

One of the things male doctors did was to give hysterectomies (literally removing the “hysteria” from women) to uppity women seeking the vote and equality because they thought the uterus was the loci of that disruptive behavior. See, an uppity woman was a “hysterical” woman, and the cure, obviously, was to remove her uterus. Surgery was primitive and many women who survived it spent the rest of their lives as convalescents. And because there were no antibiotics, women died from infection. This is still an operation that can be debilitating for women, and it takes the option to have children from women of child-bearing age.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Hmmm.

4 thoughts on “Leave Britney Alone

  1. I accept, reluctantly, that conservatorship is necessary in some extreme cases. It is also rife with abuse. Which case is Spears? I dunno, but I suspect that neither does the judge. Judges will be predisposed to listen to the “experts”, who may well have ulterior motives. I quoted Juvenal in another context the other day: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes”. What guarantee does society have that someone is looking out for the best interests of those in conservatorship, even if those best interests include ending the arrangement.

  2. It’s the money. It’s always the money. Even going back to the drive for women’s suffrage. If you let them vote, the next thing you know they’ll want to know where all the money goes. I saw the documentary about this a couple of months ago and I kept thinking if the judge just said, okay you can have control over all her finances but you can’t make any money off it, the father, the bank, the corporation et al would have said “oh she’s fine now, she can handle it all by herself”.

  3. It’s all completely legal. Maybe I should put that in scare quotes …

    It’s all completely “legal”. I noted a number of years ago our idioms are all fouled up, for example “swingin’ a dead cat.” Ever stretch a cat out nose to tail? Big house-cat can stretch three feet. A rat, on the other hand, stretched out even a big one won’t be much more than a foot. The idiom, the expression should be “can’t swing a dead rat around here without hitting a lawyer.”

    Should be the new national motto, we don’t Trust in God … It’s all completely legal.

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