3 Life Lessons from 'Framing Britney Spears' That Every Millennial Should Know

By
Sattva 🌹

I wasn’t expecting 'Framing Britney Spears' to put me in such a mood.

Not only did it remind me of the dark world of celebrity culture, but it made me reflect on how much psychological and emotional trauma millennials endured in a culture that was shaped by predatory elite white men (who happened to be from the Boomer generation). Britney Spears was 17 years old in “Baby One More Time.” Why did we think sexualizing a child pop star was normal?

Was our generation primed to be self-absorbed, competitive, and mentally unstable?

In some ways, Britney’s story is every millennial’s story. We are all fighting for our salvation against a system that just wants to control us, violate our human rights, and keep us in a gilded cage for further exploitation. I pray for freedom for Britney and for all of us. #freebritney

May we remember that all that glitters is not gold, our freedom is not guaranteed, and we don’t know what we don’t know. Do not stop resisting; keep demanding your basic rights as a human, prioritize your mental health, and walk away from the abuse, the lies, the B.S. and the drama.

1. All that glitters is not gold.


For decades, our generation has been shaped by deceitful cultural messages that we can do, be, and have everything we want if you just “believe in ourselves” "work hard enough" and “follow our dreams.”

These sounds like good sentiments until you realize that most people don’t dream of jobs that are not glamorous or exciting. The most common millennial dreams are intricately tied to wealth, status, and fame.

At some point, “you can be anything” collides with reality when we realize that the necessities of life are much more expensive than what was promised to us through the merits of hard work and talent. Few people reach their perfect life while many of us struggle having a viable career, a house, or sense of financial stability.

Social media feeds our obsession with celebrity and fame. The internet makes fame seem both possible and out of reach.

Although we HAVE much more than previous generations in terms of safety, convenience, and education, we have the highest rates of anxiety/depression than other generations. Our most common sources of anxiety/depression are loneliness, isolation, and burnout.  

Why do you think this is?


2. Freedom is not guaranteed.


We are also the most disillusioned with our government. Until more recently, we’ve been the most disinterested in politics compared to the civic engagement of previous generations’ at our age. Even those of us who achieve our dreams grow up with a cynical belief that nothing can be changed.

The media feeds us with lies labeled as truth and vice-versa.  This fills us with more apathy and a lack of confidence in systems and institutions. We enter a confusing world with too many choices which leaves us unprepared for adulting. Because we grow up believing we’re special, we internalize our failures and think we’re the problem.

We get desensitized to hearing about the horrible shit that happens every day. Apathy and indifference win, which creates a perfect storm for even more misogynistic and authoritarian white men to rise to power.  Trump gave us a harrowing glimpse into that.

Were the motivations behind these false narratives purely predatory and capitalistic? Were we programmed to be cynical and disengaged?


3. We don’t know what we don’t know.


It’s about time we realize that the game is rigged and stop confusing our dreams with false advertising that promotes individualism, consumerism, and materialism.

You’d think technology and material wealth would make us happier; it has not. More than ever, we long for social connections.

It’s time we prioritize stable close relationships and community, not a scripted fantasy of someone else’s life. Understand that our dreams, disappointments, and expectations were largely manufactured by our media consumption as children (which still puts a lot of pressure on us to be perfect).

Our salvation starts with radical honesty without any glitter or special effects.

Plot twist: the glitter and special effects were psychological mind games.

It’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to grieve the loss of a childhood you never had. It’s ok to feel like your innocence was robbed from you. In a lot of ways, it was. But the good news is that no one can take away the essence of who you are; that which contains your childlike spirit. Reclaim these parts of yourself so that you can rest deeply and come back stronger against these systems of abuse and oppression.

Millennials, your biggest resistance is your inner freedom. Freedom is available to you the moment you decide that no amount of money, fame, or status is worth the abuse, the mind games, the manipulation. Like Britney, walk off that stage and don't look back until your rights (and your children) are protected. Liberate yourself so you can liberate others. Our party isn’t over.

👏🏼Let’s 👏🏼fucking 👏🏼go👏🏼

References:

The Political Ideology of the Millennial Generation

Lonely, burned out, and depressed: The state of millennials' mental health in 2020

Millennials see themselves as greedy, self-absorbed and wasteful, study finds

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