PC Reacts is a new series by PACEs Connection in which we look at current events through a trauma-informed and PACEs science lens.
In the next episode in this series, we will respectfully and mindfully discuss issues that are adjacent to Britney Spears' public struggle with mental health, human rights, as she fights to end her conservatorship with her father. The emphasis of our conversation will be on positive and adverse childhood experiences and potential trauma experienced for children in the entertainment industry, and the trauma-informed solutions we'd like to see in the future.
Join us for our next event:
Britney Spears, PACEs, and Mental Health
Friday, August 6, 2021
Noon to 1:00 PM PDT
Now featuring special guest @Louise Godbold (scroll down for bio).
Hosts: Alison Cebulla and Porter Jennings-McGarity with special guest @Louise Godbold
As @Alison Cebulla mentioned in a previous PACEs Connection blog post, our interest in Britney Spears is fueled largely by the fact that we grew up with her as children of the 80’s and 90’s (though we weren't in the public eye). In fact, when I think back to my childhood, I realize that a memory of Britney Spears can be woven into each major developmental phase of my life. For example, I watched her in the heavily marketed Mickey Mouse Club show at my childhood best friend’s house. A few years later in elementary school, I bought my first CD, Baby One More Time, after seeing the cover plastered on billboards and in magazines. Then at age 16 I have a vivid memory of driving myself to high school for the first time after getting my driver’s license blaring Toxic, a recollection that would come to mind while watching her highly promoted and long-discussed 2007 VMA performance in my college dorm room.
It is only now as an adult trained as a social science researcher that I am able to look back and recognize the extent to which the media coverage of Britney Spears (and other female celebrities) influenced more than just my childhood memories. I am now able to recognize the way in which I (and countless other young female Britney Spears fans like me) were exposed to the disparate sexualization of young female celebrities with every sexually suggestive outfit an adult producer selected for Birtney Spears to wear in her music videos (think the schoolgirl outfit in the Hit Me Baby One More Time music video), every inappropriate reference to her body and sexuality posed to Britney as a child star by adult media personalities in interviews.
And the media’s coverage of Britney Spears as an adult continues to impact our societal norms. This includes the perpetuation of stereotypical female body images each time the media has referenced Britney Spears’ weight over the past decade (think the myriad references to her weight following her 2007 VMA performance), and stigmatization of mental health issues beginning with the shaming during the media coverage following her 2007 “breakdown” to the current “Free Britney movement”.
So, my interest in discussing the media’s fascination with Britney Spears’ mental health is not to contribute to the unjust sensationalizing of an individual’s health issues, but rather to highlight this example as an opportunity to recognize the impact that the media portal of celebrities has on our values and actions as Americans. This, in turn, shapes the fabric of our society, and in this case the impact of the media on public perception of mental health in the United States.
We can turn this current example of media attention on Britney Spears as an opportunity to advance American society’s views on mental health that can contribute to much-needed mental health reform. To learn more about this opportunity, join us this Friday a 12:00 pm PT for our PACEs Connection Reacts to the Free Britney movement where we will discuss the impact of childhood trauma for Britney Spears and other female celebrities, the relationship between PACEs and serious mental illness in adults, and the importance of trauma-informed judicial systems that appoint conservatorships.
We are excited to bring varying perspectives to our conversation. Alison Cebulla will share her personal experience of the mental health impacts related to traits of 80’s parents. I will use my professional clinical experience to discuss the symptoms of serious mental illness and the importance of trauma-informed judicial systems). Our special guest, Louise Godbold, director of Echo, a nonprofit providing training on trauma and resilience to survivors and service professionals, will amplify this topic that she has addressed in her many posts for PACEs Connection and other organizations.
Louise Godbold is the executive director of Echo, a nonprofit providing training on trauma and resilience to survivors and service professionals. As one of the #MeToo silence breakers, Louise has given TV and press interviews internationally on the subject of trauma and sexual assault. Her writing has been published in the Huffington Post, The Imprint, The Smithsonian Magazine, and Pacific Standard. Read her piece in The Smithsonian Magazine: Britney Spears and the Age-Old History of Men Policing Women's Trauma.
This event is free and open to the public. We hope you will join to listen and share your ideas no matter what your background. We especially welcome experts in clinical mental health, mental health law, and mental health research to join and share your expert opinions with us on this subject.
Before joining the live discussion event, please reference the following resources:
- recording of the conservatorship hearing
- Britney Spears' Conservatorship Nightmare by Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino
- Britney Spears and the Age-Old History of Men Policing Women's Trauma by @Louise Godbold
- Failing Britney Spears by Craig Jenkins
- Framing Britney Spears documentary film
Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meetin...jn8y3uOBW5DksIoPN_td