Eleven Going on 30

by Lindsay Howard

It is no secret that the entertainment industry is primarily dominated by the appearance of the entertainers. Gone are the days when raw talent was enough to make a name. In this day and age, young performers must spend a cut of their time and energy on their “look.” Magazines have their lists of sexiest, prettiest, and hottest bod. Social media provides a platform for the average person to comment on the looks and actions of performers. The option to insert an opinion is too tempting to some, resulting in the lengthy Facebook posts I’m sure we have all seen at some point. While this may be something that “comes with the territory” of Hollywood for adults, what happens when adolescent children are put in the position to be called sexy? Apparently, we objectify them. Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown is an absolute star, full of talent and passion that is visible from her performance. At age 13, she inspires many with her acting chops that look as if they come from 20+ years of life under her belt. This young girl has recently been looked at by the public as if she is an adult woman, with many blogs and websites commenting on her relationship status and “sexiness.” Millie Bobby Brown is arguably one of the most talented young actors working in Hollywood today, but the public has gone too far in thoroughly analyzing the love life and sexuality of a young girl.

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American fashion magazine “W Magazine” named Millie Bobby Brown one of the sexiest actresses in Hollywood post Stranger Things 2. The article cited the adolescent as one of the reasons as to “Why TV Is Sexier Than Ever.” Brown is elegant, sophisticated, and a fantastic picture of grace in the limelight. However, naming someone not even able to drive a car as “sexiest actress” is very sadly putting Brown in a position to be viewed as such by fans and creeps alike. While Millie Bobby Brown is indeed in the public eye, that does not take away her right to be a child. As awful as it is, the people that inevitably read posts claiming children as sexy cannot be regulated. Once this information is out in cyber space, the entire population has access to it, including the pedophiles of the world. The word sexy being used to describe a 13 year old girl opens the door for people, particularly the stereotype of a creepy man sitting alone in his basement, to see them as something they are not: a sexual object. Brown is a young girl with a lot of life left to live. She hasn’t even hit puberty yet. With headlines like this, we as a society are only promoting exactly what we need to put to rest.

It is our job to speak out against these articles and headlines. People took to Twitter to express their concern about the magazine’s choices. Although the intentions of "W Magazine" may have been good, the article put Brown in a position of objectification. Opening up the door to legitimize pedophilia is all too easy with a simple headline. Claiming a 13 year old as sexy or cute puts that star in the position to be viewed as a sexual object at such a young age. The backlash that resulted from this publication puts the media in the position to create a dialogue about the matter, hopefully ending in a change being made regarding how the public views child stars.

So here’s the truth: before she was an actress, she was a child. Her career choice shouldn’t have to change that. Now here’s the dare: even if the media is attempting to sexualize a child, we as audience members don’t have to participate in the robbery of a performer’s childhood. It is important to remember that behind every TV kid is a child trying to develop their career as an actress, not as an object.

Lindsay Howard