Growing up in Hollywood: child stars face constant backlash

The truth behind the cameras for young actors

By Madhavi Karthik

When I search for “child stars gone bad,” an extensive list pops up with names like Macaulay Culkin, Jodie Sweetin and Lindsay Lohan. But, in reality, no one really knows what it’s like to grow up in front of millions of people and be the center of attention 24-7. 

Being in the public eye from a young age is by no means an easy feat. The constant pressure and criticism from audiences makes working in Hollywood difficult for young stars. 

Social media posts are filled with judgemental comments of stars who are barely teenagers. And these children are forced to fit the mold of being the ideal role model. But it’s important to remember teen stars are growing up with us, facing the same life and development struggles we face.  

Infographic by Madhavi Karthik

Take Bella Thorne, for example. I remember watching her on one of my favorite Disney Channel shows at the time, “Shake It Up,” which premiered in 2010. 

I saw her and her co-star Zendaya in a magazine wishing I could dress like them, which was the classic skirt over leggings look, and of course anything bedazzled with sequins. Since then, Thorne has amassed millions of followers across her social media platforms. As she grew older, her style matured, as well, but the public did not approve initially. 

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Thorne opened up about internet comments slut-shaming her for her change in clothing and lifestyle preferences. 

The expectations people have regarding celebrities’ style choices as they mature are unexceptable. If a celebrity chooses to wear revealing clothing, they’ve “gone bad,” according to societal standards. This stigma has been surrounding females especially, suddenly making them no longer considered to be good mentors for children. 

In fact, Thorne also talked about how the public makes assumptions about her because of how she matured. Her experience as a sexual abuse survivor has caused negative comments to impact her on a different level. 

Another example of a teen star who also experienced backlash in wardrobe was Ariel Winters who starred in the ABC sitcom “Modern Family.”

Winters told The Hollywood Reporter about the online criticism she faced while being on the show. She noted her change in body appearance from the first season to the second, as she was a growing preteen at the time.

Because of the body shaming she experienced online, Winters attempted to change her appearance but received even more hate, she said. 

At such a young age, stars face criticism about their body image, which is despicable. No one should have to change how they look to please anyone. By actively body shaming young female stars, people are creating a societal rule that there’s an ideal body type we should all strive to have.  

Online hate has caused many young celebrities to change who they are, which shouldn’t be the case. This culture of criticizing stars for their appearance is toxic, and seeing hateful comments has a detrimental affect on teen stars who are — afterall — teens.

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