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Millie Bobby Brown calls out the ‘gross’ way she continues to be sexualized after turning 18

The "Stranger Things" star said after she turned 18, she started seeing a bigger difference in how the press and social media spoke about her.
Millie Bobbby Brown at the 2019 WWD Beauty Inc Awards in New York on Dec. 11.
Millie Bobbby Brown at the 2019 WWD Beauty Inc Awards in New York on Dec. 11.Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Millie Bobby Brown is opening up about the “gross” way she’s been sexualized and talked about in the media. The “Stranger Things” star was a guest on “The Guilty Feminist” podcast this month, where she spoke about growing up in the spotlight.

Brown was only 12 years old when she landed the role of Eleven on the Netflix hit series. In the interview she said she’d been dealing with comments about her appearance “for forever.” However, she started seeing a bigger difference in how the press and social media spoke about her after she turned 18 in February.

“I deal with the same things any 18-year-old is dealing with, navigating being an adult and having relationships and friendships, and it’s all of those things,” Brown told host Deborah Frances-White and actor Susan Wokoma. “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 that, obviously, I’m doing that in the public eye. So it can be really overwhelming.”

“I have definitely been dealing with that more within the last two weeks of turning 18. Definitely seeing a difference between the way people act and the way that the press and social media have reacted to me coming of age,” she continued. “I believe that shouldn’t change anything, but it’s gross and it’s true.”

The “Enola Holmes” actor continued by noting that she thinks “it’s a very good representation of what’s going on in the world and how young girls are sexualized.” 

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

Brown then brought up a time when she was 16 and decided to wear a poofy, lower-cut dress for a red carpet event. She recalled being “crucified” for wearing the gown.

“I thought, ‘Is this really what we’re talking about?’ We should be talking about the incredible people that were there at the awards show, the talent that was there and the people that we’re representing,” she said.

RELATED: What can we expect from ‘Stranger Things’ season 4?

In the second part of the podcast, Brown also touched on how she misses feeling “innocent and naïve” like when she first started “Stranger Things.”

“I crave that back again. I don’t have that anymore,” she shared, adding how it affects her acting. “I’m so aware of my body and how I look. Not in a bad way, but I’m very aware of how my face moves on camera now.”

She’s also aware of her star power and the influence she can have on her 48.2 million Instagram followers. Brown shared that she knows how toxic social media can be and wants her Instagram to be a “place of fun.” However, she explained that she’s decided she’s “not posting personal stuff anymore.”

“You’re not gonna see that part of me. You get to see the things I choose to put out in the world,” she said, adding how she hopes to be a better role model for younger people. “I hope if there’s a 12-year-old that’s told Instagram they’re 18, and they’ve created an account, they’re going on my account and they’re not being exploited to the horrible world that’s out there.”

This isn’t the first time Brown has spoken about the sexualization and insults she’s faced. When she turned 16, she wrote a post about how the “last few years haven’t been easy” and the “pain and insecurities” she’s faced during her rise to fame.

Brown will next be seen in season four Vol. 1 of “Stranger Things,” which will be released on May 27. The official trailer was released on Tuesday. She’s also starring in “Enola Holmes 2,” out later this year.