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This Teen Star Just Called Out the Media for Sexualizing Her: "It's Gross"

Millie Bobby Brown says the situation grew worse around her 18th birthday.

Child stars go through a lot, whether that's confronting fame at a young age or being taken out of traditional schooling and away from their peers. But, one of the most disturbing aspects of child stardom is the sexualization of young celebrities, particularly girls, by fans and in the media. For Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown, that upsetting sexualization hit its peak around the time she turned 18 earlier this year.

On a new episode of the podcast The Guilty Feminist, Brown opened up about how "gross" the treatment of her has been and how she's coped with it. Read on to see what she had to say.

RELATED: This HBO Child Star Says Her Role Made Her "Resent Her Body."

Brown became very famous at a young age.

Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, and Millie Bobby Brown at the 2016 Emmys
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

When the first season of Stranger Things premiered, Brown was only 12 years old. The show was a major hit, so its young cast members all became famous overnight. For her work on the show, Brown has been nominated for two Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series. In addition to Stranger Things, she's starred in the movies Enola Holmes, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and Godzilla vs. Kong.

She's still dealing with all the regular aspects of growing up.

Millie Bobby Brown at the premiere of "Stranger Things" season 3 in 2019
Tsuni-USA / Shutterstock

On The Guilty Feminist, Brown explained that she's had to go through all of the usual teen issues while also being famous.

"I deal with the same things any 18-year-old is dealing with," Brown said. "Navigating being an adult and having relationships and friendships, and it's all of those things. Being liked and trying to fit in, it's all a lot. And you're trying to find yourself while doing that. The only difference is, obviously, I'm doing that in the public eye. So it can be really overwhelming."

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Plus, she has to face something more harrowing.

Millie Bobby Brown at the BAFTA Film Awards in 2022
Neil Mockford/FilmMagic via Getty Images

In addition to living out her teens in the public eye, Brown has also been inappropriately sexualized by fans and the press. For instance, as reported by BuzzFeed News, in the lead up to her 18th birthday, there were people counting down the days until she was "legal." This is something that other child stars have faced in the past, too.

"I have definitely been dealing with that more within the last couple weeks of turning 18," Brown continued, reflecting on how her experience is different than a non-famous teen. "Definitely seeing a difference between the way people act and the way the press and social media react to me becoming of age."

She added, "In my life, in my opinion, I believe that that shouldn't change anything. But it's gross and its true. And so I think it's just a very good representation of what's going on in the world and how young girls are sexualized. And so I have been dealing with that, but I have also been dealing with that for forever."

Brown is open about her experience because she wants to promote change.

Millie Bobby Brown at the Teenage Cancer Trust Concert in London in 2022
Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images

In February 2020, when she turned 16 years old, Brown posted a video to her Instagram that including headlines about her, as well as some moments from her life. In the caption, she wrote that inaccurate and sexualizing comments had made her feel insecure and frustrated.

"16 has felt like a long time coming," she wrote, "i feel like change needs to happen for not only this generation but the next. our world needs kindness and support in order for us children to grow and succeed. the last few years haven't been easy, I'll admit that. there are moments i get frustrated from the inaccuracy, inappropriate comments, sexualization, and unnecessary insults that ultimately have resulted in pain and insecurity for me. but not ever will i be defeated. ill continue doing what i love and spreading the message in order to make change."

RELATED: This Former Child Actor Quit After "Devastating" Star Wars Experience.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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