Child actors don’t need this bullshit
By Katie Czenczek, Staff Writer
I can’t believe that this needs to be said, but sexualizing children is wrong, no matter what their profession is. It shouldn’t matter if they dress or look “old for their age.” They aren’t doing anything that can or should be interpreted as “sexy” or “adult” because they are children. They’re dressing how they want to express themselves and to figure out who they are.
During her UN speech about feminism, Emma Watson briefly discussed how during her Hermione days she was constantly sexualized by the media. She listed those moments as one of the reasons she became a feminist in the first place. The second that Watson hit puberty her body was made into an object for people to behold and define. The whole world got to see her grow up, and of course as magazines do best, they went on to discuss her fashion choices, body, and face as she was just getting used to the idea of breakouts and periods.
Another famous example of sexualizing children or underage actors in general, was when 17-year-old Brittney Spears appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in a bra and panties while holding a Teletubby, because having her pose lying on a bed wasn’t bad enough without pointing out the fact that she was underage at the time. The cover’s sub-header read: “Inside the Heart, Mind, and Bedroom of a Teen Dream.” What makes this that much more disturbing is thinking about the demographic that reads Rolling Stone magazine. I doubt it was fellow teenagers that were looking at her half-naked body.
It appears that matters haven’t gotten any better since that infamous 1999 photoshoot, as child actors of today are facing the same problems that stars of the past faced, if not to a more drastic extent with social media heavily contributing to the problem.
This has especially affected the young cast of Stranger Things. Millie Bobby Brown was named one of the sexiest actors by W Magazine and her co-star, Finn Wolfhard, was hit on by a 27-year-old model named Ali Michael. Both kids have only experienced 13 and 14 years on this planet each. Not only is this completely inappropriate; it’s pedophilia and it needs to be treated as such.
These kids are trying to grow up and live their lives and shouldn’t have to receive unwanted sexual attention from people who are way older than them. To those that argue that Finn should be psyched to have a 27-year-old hit on him, just look at his response to the situation on TMZ. He described the situation as “weird” and “creepy,” while trying to downplay the whole situation despite being visibly uncomfortable during the interview. This wasn’t the first instance when Finn and Millie have had to deal with inappropriate adult behavior towards them. Their Instagram comments are flooded with grown adults fangirling over them and talking about how cute they are. Finn was even called “daddy” by his fans, to the point that he had to ask them to stop calling him that because it made him uncomfortable.
Why is it that cases like these are not taken as seriously as they would be if a teacher hit on their eighth grade student, or if a man on the street said that a 13-year-old girl is the “sexiest woman he’s ever seen?” Just because they’re in the spotlight does not give a free pass for any creepy adult to stalk them, comment inappropriate things about their appearance, or get angered when they don’t respond. At the end of the day, the Stranger Things kids are still growing up and the inappropriate way that grown adults act towards them should be taken way more seriously that is has been.