Former child-star Mara Wilson has spoken out against the objectification and sexualization of 13-year-old Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown, questioning why social media users and media outlets feel that it’s acceptable to “make pronouncements about the body of a 13-year-old girl.” In particular, Wilson wrote in an Op-Ed for Elle, she “felt sick and then … furious” after reading social media posts from grown men — and even from TODAY — claiming that the Brown was “all grown up” after she was seen wearing a black leather dress at a recent appearance at a premiere for the hit Netflix show.
“A 13-year-old girl is not all grown up,” wrote Wilson. “These adults fetishize innocence, and the loss of innocence even more.”
Wilson, who had worked as an actress in movies since she was 5, revealed that “even before I was out of middle school, I had been featured on foot fetish websites, photoshopped into child porn, and received all kinds of letters and messages online from grown men.” At the time, she wrote, she tried to laugh off the disturbing behavior. But she found herself unable to laugh off the way people alternatively sexualized Brown, or condemned her for dressing “in a ‘revealing’ way.”
“The implication was that if a young girl in the public eye showed anything that could even possibly be construed as an expression of her sexuality, she would be an acceptable target for scorn or harassment,” wrote Wilson. “It would be unacceptable for an adult to comment on the body of a 13-year-old girl they knew. So why do these adults make pronouncements about the body of a 13-year-old girl they have never met?”
Read the full Op-Ed at Elle.