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12th Apr 2022

Millie Bobby Brown and the sexualisation of Hollywood’s teenagers

Ellen Fitzpatrick

What is the creepy obsession with this?

Millie Bobby Brown has just turned 18, and similar to other Hollywood teenagers, she’s already being unnecessarily sexualised.

Calling out this type of behaviour, the Stranger Things actress said that this type of talk has been going on since she was 12, but it has been even more “gross” since her 18th birthday.

She told The Guilty Feminist podcast: “[It’s] really overwhelming. I have definitely been dealing with that more in the last couple weeks of turning 18.

“[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.

“I have been dealing with that — but I have also been dealing with that for forever.”

Millie isn’t the first teenage celeb that this has happened to, it has been going on forever in the industry.

When Miley Cyrus turned 18, there was a countdown to her birthday. Cole Sprouse recently came out and spoke about how he witnessed a lot of his female cast members on Disney Channel being sexualised. Billie Eilish purposely only wore baggy clothes to avoid this, and the second she was pictured in a tank top the internet went crazy. In May 2012, two months after he turned 18, Justin Bieber was asked if he was a virgin. Britney Spears was asked when she was 10 years old if she had a boyfriend.

The list goes on, it seems that this has happened to almost every teenager that has passed through Hollywood, and for years nobody seemed to ever question these comments.

The media and onlookers seem to be completely obsessed with teenagers coming of age and while yes, they are legally adults, they’re still teenagers. They still go through everything else any other 18 year old goes through, they’re still in school, and they’re still more or less, children.

In the era of social media, Millie Bobby Brown has admitted that she refrains from social media due to this, posting back in 2020 a video montage of the insults she was getting.

The then 16 year old said: “I get frustrated from the inaccuracy, inappropriate comments, sexualization, and unnecessary insults that ultimately have resulted in pain and insecurity for me.

“I hope this video informs you on the things that go on behind the scenes of the headlines and flashing lights. don’t worry I’ll always find a way to smile.”

As mentioned above, when Miley Cyrus was turning 18, there were apps you could download to help countdown with her, one was even called “Miley Cyrus Legal Age Countdown for iPhone”, with a website that has since been removed called “”

Cole Sprouse told the New York Times last week: “The young women on the channel we were on were so heavily sexualised from such an earlier age than my brother and I. There’s absolutely no way that we could compare our experiences.

“I’m violently defensive against people who mock some of the young women who were on the channel when I was younger. Because I don’t feel like it adequately comprehends the humanity of that experience and what it takes to recover.

“When we talk about child stars going nuts, what we’re not actually talking about is how fame is a trauma.”

Billie Eilish spoke out last year to say she was “offended” when she was praised for wearing a tank top in public. Known for wearing her baggy clothes to avoid being sexualised, telling Elle in 2019: “The point is not: Hey, let’s go slut-shame all these girls for not dressing like Billie Eilish. It makes me mad. I have to wear a big shirt for you not to feel uncomfortable about my boobs!”

“I was recently FaceTiming a close friend of mine who’s a dude, and I was wearing a tank top. He was like, ‘Ugh, put a shirt on!’ And I said, ‘I have a shirt on.’ Someone with smaller boobs could wear a tank top, and I could put on that exact tank top and get slut-shamed because my boobs are big. That is stupid. It’s the same shirt!”

Britney Spears was hounded with inappropriate questions at the age of 10. Appearing on Star Search with Ed McMahon in 1992, she was asked: “I noticed last week you have the most adorable, pretty eyes. Do you have a boyfriend?”

When she said no and was asked why not, she responded that boys are mean, to which the host said: “Boyfriends? You mean all boys are mean? I’m not mean, how about me?”

While it is mostly the young women of Hollywood who are subject to this, a freshly turned 18 year old Justin Bieber was asked straight up in a Sunday Times interview in May 2012 if he was a virgin, which they noted in the write up as him embarrassingly asking to move on from the question, and they decided his reaction must mean he wasn’t.

Even from TV shows like Euphoria and Riverdale, Hollywood loves to glamourise this, it loves to sexualise teenagers. While the actors are well above the legal age, they are portraying teenagers in an over sexualised way, and while it makes for good television, we need to question it a whole lot more.

A study carried out by the Parents Television Council found that Hollywood is deliberately doing this, with 86% of all underage and young adult females being sexualized were of high school age on our screens.

There are countless more celebrities who worked as children and come out with stories that they were oversexualised as children or newly turned adults, and countless interviews from over the years as back up to their claims.

It’s 2022, there needs to be an end to this.