Now 18, Millie Bobby Brown Reflects On Experiencing Sexualization From A Young Age
Actress Millie Bobby Brown is speaking frankly about her experiences with growing up after becoming ultra-famous at the age of 12 thanks to her main role in the series Stranger Things.
When she stopped by The Guilty Feminist podcast, Brown said she has been sexualized from a young age but has experienced it even more intensely since she recently turned 18. “I deal with the same things every 18-year-old is dealing with,” Brown began her comments. “Being liked and trying to fit in, it’s all a lot and you’re trying to find yourself while doing that. The only difference is that, obviously, I’m doing that in the public eye. So it can be really overwhelming.”
She then went on to add, “I have been dealing with that more within the last two weeks of turning 18. Definitely seeing a difference between the way people act and the way that the press and social media have reacted to me coming of age. I believe that shouldn’t change anything, but it’s gross and true.” In the lead-up to Brown’s birthday in February, several online groups posted countdowns to the day, and her social media posts became noticeably more populated with explicit comments when the day eventually passed.
However, Brown was also quick to point out “I have been dealing with that – but I have also been dealing with that for forever.” She remembered on the podcast one time when she was “crucified” for wearing a lower-cut dress on a red carpet at the age of 16, and she said it left her thinking, “Is this really what we’re talking about?”
This treatment wasn’t just relegated to anonymous creeps online. She was profiled by GQ at the age of 12, which decided to headline the article “The Very Grown-Up Child Star of Stranger Things.” Brown was also included in a W Magazine feature when she was 13 entitled “Why TV Is Sexier Than Ever.”
Several former child actresses, including Natalie Portman, Matilda star Mara Wilson, and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, have also spoken about how working in Hollywood from a young age led to harmful over-sexualization from the media and anonymous “fans.” In an opinion piece for The New York Times, Wilson wrote, “People had been asking me ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’ In interviews since I was six.” She also remembered, “It was cute when 10-year-olds sent me letters saying they were in love with me. It was not when 50-year-old men did.”