If you’ve been scrolling through your feeds the past few weeks, which I’m sure you have, you’ve probably come across a few #FreeBritney posts. The #FreeBritney movement isn’t new by any means – in fact, it’s been a major concern for Britney Spears fans over the years – but it has undeniably gained traction as of late. 

This has led many to rightfully wonder what the #FreeBritney movement is all about, and why fans are so concerned about the wellbeing and independence of one of the most adored pop stars on the planet.

Well, in order to talk about the movement’s recent second wind, it’s necessary to discuss Britney’s conservatorship.

Here’s the TL;DR version. Back in 2008, Brit was placed under a conservatorship, following concerns over her mental wellbeing. What’s a conservatorship, you ask? It’s a legal guardianship in which a court deems a person unable to make informed decisions for themselves. As such, guardianship was granted to her father, Jamie Spears, meaning he was given full control of her fortune, finances, and day-to-day life decisions.

People are usually placed under conservatorship in old-age, when extreme mental and physical ailments prevent one from taking care of themselves. 

Initially a “temporary conservatorship”, Jamie’s request for a temporary guardianship was eventually accepted, and, 12 years later, 38-year-old Britney can do very little on her own without the supervision or approval of her father. 

Over the past years, sources have claimed that Britney was being forced to enter treatment and take medication against her own will. Just last year, after she allegedly stood in front of a judge to ask for greater freedom, her father claimed that they had a strained relationship.

So why has #FreeBritney come up again? Some fans believe that she has been using her Instagram content to send secret messages to her followers.

Last week, a fan commented on one of her TikToks, requesting Britney wear a yellow top in her next video if she needed help… She wore a yellow top.

Following that, she quoted an author, who’d written a novel about a daughter who was attempting to escape from her father.

More recently, fans have claimed that Britney also photoshopped ‘911’ into her eyelashes in a selfie, alongside the caption “natural light always reveals the magic in the eyes.”

The conservatorship has already been extended a couple of times this year. But given the latest extension has been granted until August 22 – just over a month away – fans have been using this opportunity to advocate for her freedom.

Diet Prada posted the following message to its 2.1 million followers yesterday, quoting original slides from @dirty2000s.

“Britney Spears is a now 38 year old woman who is not allowed to do the following without her fathers permission or he can legally lock her up in a mental health facility: • drive a car vote • get married • have children • spend HER OWN MONEY • see how her money is being spent • see her children (she has 30% custody of both of her boys due to her dad assaulting one of her sons)• leave her home • hire her own lawyer • have any control over her careen speak about the conservatorship publicly• do interviews that aren’t scripted and all final cuts are approved by her father as well• use a cell phone without being monitored• use social media unmonitored • contact ANYONE without being monitored or having them extremely vetted. (Iggy Azalea allegedly had her house searched for drugs top to bottom when they collaborated on a song together)• go shopping • go for a walk • get Starbucks”.

Spears has since made a statement, claiming that she’s “as real as it gets.”

“I get how some people might not like my posts or even understand them,” she captioned an Instagram photo.

“But this is Me being happy ….. this is Me being authentic and as real as it gets !!!!! I want to inspire people to do the same and just be themselves without pleasing others ….. that’s the key to happiness.”

#FreeBritney has since given rise to multiple online petitions, including this 70k-signature-strong addressal to the White House, demanding Britney be freed from the control of her father.

When it comes to Britney’s independence, we’ll obviously never know what truly goes on behind closed doors.

That being said, the whole conversation surrounding her 12-year conservatorship is pretty damn interesting.

Oh, and her Instagram presence will forever be too pure for this world. We must protect it at all costs.

Image: Getty Images / Christopher Polk/MTV1415