Ever since making her debut on the smash hit show Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown has skyrocketed to fame fairly quickly. Now that’s she’s the face of Calvin Klein and appearing on the cover of fashion mags, many fans are starting to question if it’s appropriate for the 13-year-old to look and act like a mini adult. Critics were especially vocal during this year’s Golden Globes where the teen star showed off a backless dress that many found a little too mature for the petite star. “Not only is the dress inappropriate, her facial expression is unsettling,” a Facebook commenter wrote. “Her parents and team are disgusting.” Another one wrote, “She’s posing like she’s grown. Why would her parents think a backless dress was appropriate?”
However, the accusations of sudden “maturity” started late last year during the premiere of Stranger Things 2. Millie, now with shoulder-length hair and an updated wardrobe, prompted reporters to gush about how “grown up” she looked. But while Millie strutted on the cover of Interview, many fans were worried that the 13-year-old star was growing up too fast. “Millie Bobby Brown looks TOO grown up tbh like who tf slapped all that makeup on that poor kid!?” someone tweeted. Another wrote, “I hate how she’s being marketed as much older than she really is. It’s easy to forget she’s only 13.”
But probably the most disturbing aspect of the backlash are fans who think even Millie herself is letting fame go to her head by acting more “mature” for her years and being too confident. We’re not making this up! A quick Google search proves that this is clearly what other people are thinking. “This girl is forever acting grown,” a commenter wrote on a message board, “interrupting the other kids and speaking to them like they’re stupid, talking over the adults, etc.. Sooo unpleasant all around.”
But as critics started criticizing Millie’s appearance, many of her fans have come out in her defense, lashing out at the media for even igniting the “all grown up” reports. “She’s like 13,” a Twitter user wrote in response to all the articles. “Please could you just… for like two seconds don’t be disgusting.” Even former child actress Mara Wilson came to Millie’s defense, critsizing the oversexualization of child stars. “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?” Wilson wrote. “I laughed when it happened to me. But I can’t laugh when it happens to others.”
Although Millie herself has said she’s “never been one of those girls who dresses provocatively” and that she tries to “wear as minimal makeup as possible”, it is worrying to hear that a young actress is being scrutinized at such a young age. Even Miley Cyrus has admitted to feeling sexualized as a young child star. “People were so shocked [when I twerked on Robin Thicke], but it should be more shocking that when I was 11 or 12, I was put in full hair and makeup, a wig, and told what to wear by a group of mostly older men,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in 2017. “It’s no wonder that a lot of people lose their way and lose who they really are because they always have people telling them who to be.”
How she used to dress before the “rebranding.”
Modern Family star Ariel Winter has echoed similar comments about the pressures of a being young woman in the spotlight. “[From the age of 7, I was dressed in] the smallest miniskirts, sailor suits, low-cut things, the shortest dresses you’ve ever seen,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “People thought I was 24 when I was 12.”
As the public continues watching former child stars like Bella Thorne go through rebellious downward spirals, fans will probably continue to worry about the 13-year-old and scrutinize over the appropriatness of her attire. Here’s hoping she has supportive family and friends in her corner.