i think a huge part of the problem here is that child stars generally perform in shows for children, and they’re styled as children, and they do interviews that are meant to be read and viewed by children. and stranger things is not a children’s television show. it’s hardly even “family entertainment.” it certainly has a kind of broad, all-ages appeal, but netflix is running the machine like any other prestige television series. and that means instead of wearing converse high tops to the teen choice awards and filming bumpers for the disney channel, these kids are walking down the red carpet at the Screen Actors’ Guild Awards in gucci and prada, and doing sit-down cover interviews for variety and the hollywood reporter. those are all very Adult Spaces, and it’s in netflix’s financial interest to maintain access to those Adult Spaces so as to solidify stranger things’ cultural standing as Prestige Television. which means packaging the kids as sophisticated and stylish little adults in all public appearances. like, compare this picture of the stars of disney’s andi mack at a film premiere to a picture of the stranger things kids at their own premiere:
the above picture is plainly kids in kids’ formalwear - bright colours, fun patterns, a t-shirt under a too-big blazer - whereas the stranger things’ kids outfits are functionally indistinguishable from something an adult might wear to a red carpet event. like, they just aren’t letting these kids be kids - which has especially dire consequences for the girls involved, as they’re being sexualized to a high degree. obviously, this is affecting the boys in the cast, too - 14-year-old finn wolfhard is having to deal with adult women saying, “call me in four years” and then having both that comment and his own reaction to it broadcast in the international press. but i think it’s coming down hardest on the girls involved. look at these photos of millie bobby brown at the season 1 premiere and the season 2 premiere.
she’s 13 on the left and 12 on the right.
like, it’s not… it’s not okay. let these kids be kids. let them present themselves as kids. you can still have your prestige tv show and win awards and preserve your serious, critically acclaimed brand without making the children in your cast vulnerable to sexualization and predation. end rant!