Can everyone just stop commenting on young female celebrities’ bodies please?
Posted by  badge Boss on Apr 14
Let’s stop with the creepy sexualisation of teenagers like Millie Bobby Brown, yeah? (Picture: EPA)

I don’t know what’s worse: a young actress revealing the extent of sexualisation she’s become an increasingly larger victim of, or that I’m no longer surprised by such revelations.

Am I a monster, or am I exhausted?

The public, and the media – no two ways about it – has been pretty creepy towards young female stars for eons now and while I don’t have the answers as to how we make it stop (even as someone who’s a member of aforementioned media), I can at least use this platform to try to call out how insidious this kind of attitude towards young women is and how it threatens all of us – not just the famous.

And yes, before you ‘what about’ me on the subject, people are also dodgy towards young men in the public eye. We only need to see previous treatment of ’s co-star Finn Woldhard to know that is definitely a thing. 

But there is a systemic issue in the treatment of young women – with women in minority communities, as well as those in the LGBT community subjected to this on top of bigoted discrimination and prejudice – and that is why I’ve gathered you here today.

After being sexualised as a young teen rising to fame in the evidently seedy world of showbusiness, and previously opening up about it when she turned 16, Millie this week spoke about how much worse the interest got when she recently turned 18.

‘[It’s] really overwhelming. I have definitely been dealing with that more in ,’ she said on the Guilty Feminist podcast.

The star, here celebrating her 18th, said the comments became worse around her birthday (Picture: @milliebobbybrown)

‘[I’m] definitely seeing a difference between the way people act and the way the press and social media react to me coming of age. It’s gross.’

Long before she turned 18, the star – who was cast as Eleven in Stranger Things in 2016 at the age of 12 – was being sexualised online, with comments lobbed her way, such as those from armchair critics who suggested she was dressing ‘too grown up’.

Then, the forums began to pop up. 

One such included an 18+ Reddit chat that counted down to the star’s birthday, was teased as ‘NSFW’ and was to ‘unlock’ only when she reached the milestone age. I s**t you not.

Disgustingly, a description of the page, shared in another forum, read: ‘[It’s] to post sexual pictures of her the day she turns 18. It’s a sub solely dedicated to sexual pictures of Millie, who is currently a minor, until next week but they have a sub prepared already with thousands of subscribers.’

Yes, there were people actually waiting until it was ‘legal’ for them to post sexual pictures of her. This is apparently a thing that happens to female stars when they turn 18, with similar websites popping up ahead of the Olsen twins’ birthday back in the day.

Millie’s not the first to speak about this level of crude sexualisation, with former child star Mara Wilson revealing before she was out of middle school, she was ‘featured on foot fetish websites, photoshopped into child porn, and received all kinds of letters and messages online from grown men’.

Emma Watson previously spoke about the level of sexualisation she was victim of (Picture: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Emma Watson was also a victim of this, after upskirting shots of her were published in mainstream media the day she turned 18, which would have been illegal only 24 hours prior.

It’s a sad reflection on society when these sorts of revelations, which *should* raise all sorts of alarm bells that lead to meaningful change, just don’t shock me anymore. 

Is it because, as a young female myself, I’ve been exposed to this sort of thing, be it directly to me, or in my general sphere, for nearly two decades now? As a woman, am I both horrified but also, wildly desensitised? Has society got me so down I’ve simply given up?

God, I hope not.

We’ve probably all subconsciously shared sentiments about stars like Millie such as ‘wow, she’s so grown up now’, which, at the time, might not intend to come from a predatory place, but when you think about the fact we’re still commenting on a teenage girl’s body, or what she’s wearing, it’s pretty bloody creepy, isn’t it? So while you may think I’m bleating on about something that you don’t see as a problem, it really is.

Even under a story of the star’s remarks about being sexualised, I saw a comment remarking how Millie’s ‘kid-teen’ looks were ‘long gone’. We just can’t help ourselves, can we?

Again for the cheap seats at the back, whether it’s positive, or from a place of support, just because these women are famous does not make their bodies public domain. If they’re not yet 18, it *really* bloody doesn’t make their bodies public domain. Keep comments to self, people.

Heard of the Lolita Effect? It’s a term coined in a 2008 book by Meenakshi Gigi Durham, derived from Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita, which is all about a middle-aged professor becoming obsessed with a 12-year-old girl, and refers to the media sexualisation of girls, as well as the blame that can be put on them for their part in abuse or harassment that girls face.

Lolita was published in 1955, remember. So we’ve clearly not learned any lessons here, and the internet, a haven of gross, is just giving this Lolita energy a place to expand.

Plus, to rub salt into the wounds, even when their bodies are not treated as theirs – when they’re objectified, when older men in boardrooms make decisions about the ‘image’ they’re going to publicly portray, when they’re hacked and nude photos of them are L***ed online, it’s still seen as their fault. How many female stars have been forced to apologise for the sexualisation of their own bodies that they did not consent to. Isn’t that wild? 

Perhaps it’s because we’ve seen what happens when these young stars don’t bend to the whim of the powers that be – they’re cast aside. The ol’ adage of sex sells has never rung more true, it matters not to the executives whether the starlet is of age, and that mentality is clearly passed own to the consumers and baying fans.

But if we continue to allow this sort of behaviour and conversation fester in the comments of Instagram posts and remain unchecked in Reddit forums, we’re only allowing that weed to grow when discussing non-famous women. 

By shrugging off Millie’s comments as ‘what you get for being famous’ it’s merely justifying that rhetoric to be weaponised against ourselves. And huns, we’re not about that life.

Well look at that, I’m not feeling so exhausted any more: let’s rage.

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