The Harbinger Online

The Culture of Child Stardom

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From toddlers to the old man down the street, child stars are universally adored. The “it” bunch of child stars at the moment are the Stranger Things kids — the friend group you wish you had in middle school, on and off screen.

In this age of technology, the cast has an active social media presence. From award shows pictures to behind the scenes pics, these newby teenagers have the Instagram that everyone’s freshmen selves would envy.

Appropriate comments on these photos should be “Aw”, “Cute”, or maybe tag a friend to gawk in these kids adorableness.

“Daddyyyyyyyyyy.”

“Marry Me.”

“Damn.”

“BABBYYY.”

These are unacceptable comments, and these are the majority of the comments on the page. It would be one thing if tweens were commenting this. While it’s gross, it’s socially acceptable because they are the same age. Tween girls are allowed to be obsessed with celebs, it’s a cultural rite of passage. However, it’s women with a ten plus year age difference commenting these things. Ew.

It’s not the female star of the show who is getting creepy comments, it’s the prepubescent 14 year old boys. They don’t look old for their age. They look like little boys. A child actor being on a TV show doesn’t give anyone the right to take their fame and sexualize them, creating their own fantasy about what they want their boyfriends to be like.

Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike in Stranger Things, gets so many of these inappropriate comments that it makes me want to grab my trashcan and spew yesterday’s macaroni. Just because he has the pale rocker boy tumblr aesthetic certain women find attractive does not mean he should be fantasized by 20 year old women. A 27-year-old model told Wolfhard to “hit her up in four years” on her Instagram story. She said it was a “joke” after intense backlash, but it’s still upsetting. She was telling a boy who can’t even shave yet to contact her in a sexual innuendo-y way. The way child stars are treated within the industry isn’t the right way to be moving as a society. They don’t deserve to get poor treatment from so called “fans”.

There was an uproar to her comment, but it would have been far more if he was just a regular 14-year-old. Who knew when you become famous you sign away your right to be treated with respect. Famous children are still children and deserve to be treated as such.

If Wolfhard was a girl, the public outcry would shut down every creepy male commenter. According to ABC news 96% of sex offenders are male, so it surprising every creepy commenter is a woman.

These comments are even more outrageous when you consider the sexual assault and pedophilia scandals that have come out in the last few weeks. It’s astounding how the public fails to rally together to shut out the creepy online pedophiles who have a fetish for these child stars. They aren’t old enough to drive. They are just barely eligible to see a PG-13 movie. They are freshmen in high school. Leave them alone.

Wolfhard isn’t the first and won’t be the last child star that is creeped on by older women. In today’s Hollywood climate where it seems more and more sexual assault allegations come out every day, one would hope that the actors could rely on their fanbase to support them, not make them uncomfortable.

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