Britney Spears recently shared on Instagram how happy she is to be getting closer to freedom – but also how scared she is, partly because the paparazzi have started following her again.
She says they hide in trees, jump out and run onto the road – and it’s “creepy.”
“I don’t like that they try to scare me and jump out like they do … it’s like they want me to do something crazy 🤷🏼♀️ !!”
Obviously, media coverage of Britney’s path to freedom is an important one but it doesn’t have to be harmful. And it certainly doesn’t require paparazzi pics of her every move.
So we can sit by and watch like we did in the early 2000s, or we can do something about it before the frenzy really starts:
1. BEFORE YOU CLICK on a story about Britney, consider whether it contains paparazzi pics. The headline (eg. “Britney Spotted Outside Her Home”) or feature image (usually a blurry pic of her going about her day) will always give this away.
Every time we click, we add to the publication’s readership count. We are telling them we want more of this type of content and as a result they keep engaging paparazzi.
A moment of thought before clicking can break this cycle.
2. SCREENSHOT, DON’T SHARE. Sometimes the paparazzi pics involving Britney are so blatantly intrusive, we comment on and share them out of outrage on her behalf. However…
By sharing the link, we are inviting more clicks to that very page, which again, adds to the publication’s readership tally… and means they’ll publish more of that same content.
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3. WRITE TO THE PUBLICATION: Let them know your concerns about the paparazzi. Let them know these packs of photographers are making a woman fear for her safety. And that their actions can have a real impact on mental health.
If the publications hear it enough, they may be inclined to change their policies. (We’ve seen it before when it comes to sharing photos of the children of celebrities – Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard spoke out about this in 2014, urging us all to boycott publications which do and sure enough, a number of major sites including Entertainment Tonight and Just Jared changed their ways.)
4. FIND OUT which magazines your local cafe, hairdresser or medical centre subscribes to. If it’s a tabloid or other publication full of paparazzi pics, encourage them to swap to a more reputable mag.
All it takes is a quick email, phone call or chat. And if you’re really dedicated to the cause, buy some good magazines (like British Vogue) and leave them in the waiting room instead!
5. SHARE THE GOOD STUFF: Look out for the meaningful stories. The ones about Britney’s fans who’ve been relentlessly supporting her. About the impact she’s had on people around the world. About how her situation has raised important discussions around mental health, disability rights and the media.
Find and share the stories celebrating her talent and her heart – not the ones making a story out of a paparazzi pic taken without her consent.
Love clicks over paparazzi clicks, always.
Why should we care, you might be wondering? Well…
Because we, the consumers, actually have the power to create change in the media. As The Good Place star Jameela Jamil once said, “we control the market, the market does not control us.”
Because mental health matters.
Because there’s no space for dangerous or threatening paparazzi culture.
Because people are always, always more important than clicks and profit.
And because Britney is human.
(Feature Image Credit: Tinseltown/Shuterstock)