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Child actress Mara Wilson says media was complicit in sexualizing her dating back to when she was just 5 years old: 'The lies Hollywood tells about little girls'


Highly disturbing account

Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Actress Mara Wilson — famous for her roles in "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Matilda," and more — says that Hollywood and the media were complicit in sexualizing her when she was a child.

What are the details?

In a New York Times op-ed titled "The Lies Hollywood Tells About Little Girls," Wilson — who is retired from Hollywood and is now 33 years old — said that she and her parents worked hard to avoid Hollywood's sexualization, but ultimately failed.

Writing that she intentionally hadn't ever "appeared in anything more revealing than a knee-length sundress" as a child actress, Wilson says people sexualized her anyway.

"This was all intentional: My parents thought I would be safer that way," she explained of her demure style as a child. "But it didn't work. People had been asking me 'Do you have a boyfriend?' in interviews since I was six. Reporters asked me who I thought the sexiest actor was and about Hugh Grant's arrest for soliciting a prostitute. It was cute when 10-year-olds sent me letters saying they were in love with me. It was not when 50-year-old men did. Before I even turned 12, there were images of me on foot fetish websites and photoshopped into child pornography."

"Every time," she continued, "I felt ashamed."

Wilson added, "Hollywood has resolved to tackle harassment in the industry, but I was never sexually harassed on a film set. My sexual harassment always came at the hands of the media and the public."

What else?

Wilson's opinion piece comes on the heels of a documentary on the life of superstar performer Britney Spears, which documented her media sexualization, legal battles, and more.

The explosive documentary, "Framing Britney Spears," also explored how Hollywood used Spears to sell an image of young sexuality and her subsequent mental breakdown.

"Many moments of Ms. Spears' life were familiar to me," she added. "We both had dolls made of us, had close friends and boyfriends sharing our secrets, and had grown men commenting on our bodies."

Wilson said that she's able to empathize with the trials Spears endured and said that while the #MeToo movement was necessary to effect change for future generations, those who lived through what she and her contemporaries did as little girls in Hollywood were irrevocably damaged.

"We're still living with the scars," she admitted.

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