Millie Bobby Brown Says She’s Been Sexualized Even More Since Turning 18

Of course, she's been sexualized since childhood. But it's only gotten worse.

Millie Bobby Brown poses in the winners room during the EE British Academy Film Awards 2022 at Royal Albert Hall on March 13, 2022 in London, England.
New trend alert: It's the Don't Sexualize Teenagers Challenge.
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Like most young women in Hollywood — and also most young women everywhere — Millie Bobby Brown has been heavily sexualized from a young age. The actress entered the spotlight starring in Stranger Things at the age of 12, and was swiftly subjected to ruthless sexualization by fans and the media, despite being a literal child. Unfortunately, if unsurprisingly, the now-18-year-old star says things have only gotten worse since reaching legal adulthood.

During a recent appearance on The Guilty Feminist podcast, Brown said that she has “definitely been dealing with [being sexualized] more” since turning 18 in February, and has noticed “a difference between the way people act and the way that the press and social media have reacted to me coming of age.”

The star added that while she believes turning 18 shouldn’t change anything, “It’s gross and it’s true. It’s a very good representation of what’s going on in the world and how young girls are sexualized.” Of course, Brown added, while she may be experiencing more heavy sexualization now, it’s really nothing new. “I have been dealing with that,” she said. “But I have also been dealing with that forever.”

Indeed, the star has been subjected to heavily sexualized media attention for years. Brown’s friendship with rapper Drake, which began in 2017 when the actress was 13, has long been the subject of eyebrow-raising scrutiny and speculation. A few years later, Brown recalled on the podcast, she was crucified at the age of 16 for wearing a low-cut gown to an awards show. “I thought ‘My, is this really what we’re talking about?’” Brown said on the podcast.

Meanwhile, Brown is far from the first young star to deal with sexualization in the media. Let’s not forget the intense scrutiny a 15-year-old Brooke Shields faced after appearing in an arguably suggestive Calvin Klein ad in the ’80s. In the ’90s, it was a 17-year-old Britney Spears laying in bed in her underwear on the cover of Rolling Stone with a stuffed Teletubby. In the 2000s it was a teenage Miley Cyrus being raked over the coals for appearing in a semi-nude Vanity Fair shoot. I could go on.

In more recent years, teen stars like Brown and her contemporaries have weathered the uncomfortable shift from sexualized child stars to sexualized “barely legal” stars. As Billie Eilish’s 18th birthday approached, creepy jokes and countdowns flooded social media; ditto Olivia Rodrigo. If these stars were already being sexualized when they were underage, it’s basically open season once they turn 18.

To be fair, I suppose sexualizing a young star more heavily once they are of legal age is better than the alternative. Still, it’s pretty bleak stuff either way.

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