The Framing Britney Spears documentary on Hulu sparked a nationwide re-evaluation of how celebrities are treated by the media (and by proxy, the general public). It was almost like a cultural reset, as everyone from late night talk show hosts to fans have come forward with regrets on how Britney Spears was covered during a vulnerable time in her life. Kim Kardashian saw the documentary and recently shared her thoughts on Spears and how it relates to her own mega celebrity status.
The SKIMS entrepreneur had nothing but compassion for pop icon Britney Spears after watching the documentary, which follows Spears’ early rise to fame, her tumultuous relationship with paparazzi, as well as the odd circumstances surrounding the conservatorship that runs her life. In her Instagram stories, Kim Kardashian wrote:
So I finally watched the Britney Spears documentary this week and it made me feel a lot of empathy for her. The way the media played a huge role in her life the way it did can be very traumatizing and it can really break even the strongest person. No matter how public someone's life may seem, no one deserves to be treated with such cruelty or judgment for entertainment.
Kim Kardashian also made it a point to draw a parallel between Britney Spears and herself – and she is not wrong. Keeping Up with the Kardashians propelled Kim and the rest of her family into household names. But the toll is high when you're being watched practically every second of your life.
The Framing Britney Spears documentary draws a compelling throughline of events in Britney Spears’ life that led to her being under conservatorship by her father. Particularly, the film alludes to Spears’ untreated postpartum depression coinciding with being hounded by the press for pictures of her child as reasonable explanation for very public breakdown. Likewise, Kim Kardashian states that she faced a similar situation while being pregnant with her first child, North. She suffered from preeclampsia and heavy weight gain, which was heavily scrutinized in tabloids. Kardashian continued:
Looking at all of the photos of myself online and in magazines made me feel so insecure and I had this fear of wondering if I would ever get my pre baby body back. I was shamed on a weekly basis with cover stories that made my insecurities so painful I couldn't leave the house for months after. It really broke me.
To give you an idea, Kim Kardashian included photos of numerous tabloid covers in her Instagram stories that she found and still thinks about. Some of the headlines include “Dumped at 200 lbs” and “Paid to Get Fat.” The screengrabs even show how she was compared to other women like Kate Middleton and even Danny DeVito's Penguin character. One even likened her to Shamu the whale.
Kim Kardashian works hard these days to channel media exposure into something more positive. She advocated for compassion on mental health when it came to her (soon-to-be) ex-husband Kanye West. She has also been advocating at the White House for individuals incarcerated unfairly. The reality star said in her post:
You just never fully know what someone is going through behind the scenes and I've learned through my own experiences that it's always better to lead with kindness.
From child stars to reality stars, celebrities are still people, too. Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian are just two examples of countless women that have been torn down over the years. Perhaps with the changing of the cultural tides, we can all be a little more sensitive in how we engage with those we idolize.