Natalia Dyer, who plays Nancy Wheeler on the hit Netflix show “Stranger Things,” believes that her younger castmates on the show have been oversexualized by the broader culture.
Speaking with The Independent, Dyer said that the broader media reaction to the show, primarily its framing of star Millie Bobby Brown, was an over-sexualization of her co-stars, and she feels protective of them.
“I generally feel like, to me, it’s oversexualizing them,” she said. “I feel protective over the younger kids even though they’re not kids anymore, they’re teens. They’re all great people and all having to grow up in very crazy circumstances. As a private person, I just feel like, leave people alone – unless you’re talking about their work or what they want to talk about. It’s a very tricky and complex issue.”
“There must be a bigger concept behind it as to why. Just let people be the people that they are, without any judgment,” she added.
The Independent provided a brief history of the media’s sexualization of Millie Bobby Brown, such as when W magazine said she was one of the reasons TV is “sexier than ever”:
Spilling spoilers is not the only concern the young Stranger Things cast had to contend with. Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven, was listed as one of the reasons TV is “sexier than ever” by W magazine when she was just 13, among a group of much older actors including Nicole Kidman and James Franco. She subsequently spoke out against the “inappropriate comments and sexualisation” she was subjected to as a child actor. Finn Wolfhard, too, has complained publicly about receiving suggestive messages from adult fans when he was 14.
Earlier this year, upon her 16th birthday, Millie Bobby Brown lamented the “sexualization” and “insults” she has endured over the past few years while hoping that a change can happen for the next generation.
“16 has felt like a long time coming,” began Brown. “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,” she continued. “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. I’ll continue doing what I love and spreading the message in order to make change.”
The streaming giant Netflix recently found itself at the center of controversy when it released a poster for the movie “Cuties” that featured pre-teen girls in sexually suggestive poses. The company apologized after severe online backlash.
“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for ‘Cuties.’ It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which premiered at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description,” Netflix said in a statement.