I didn’t think this would be an article that I’d ever have to write because it seems so deeply obvious, but at the moment there’s been a worrying trend occurring unchecked on social media, and that’s the trend of sexualizing young, popular tweens. I’m not talking about kids getting crushes on celebrities their own age, that’s a completely healthy and normal experience that most people go through, but I’m talking about grown adults discussing children in a way that should be deeply disturbing.
Most of this talk has, at the moment, been focused on rising child star 14-year-old Finn Wolfhard, star of two massive hits, the Netflix Original ‘Stranger Things’ and the remake of the horror classic ‘IT’, as well as being one half of the popular ship ‘Mileven’ and, slightly less popular, ‘Reddie’. There’s no doubting that Finn is a guy to be admired, he’s a highly talented actor – having carried two challenging and emotional roles, if not weirdly similar in their role of having him ride around on bikes in the 80s with a token girl, that quickly turned him into a breakout star- as well as being a musician, and someone who has show that he will not tolerate the culture of sexual harassment by leaving his agent when allegations of sex abuse arose.
And what has he gotten in return? People on the internet being unnecessarily creepy towards him.
Recently, 27-year-old fashion model Ali Micheal posted an Instagram story stating ‘Not to be weird but hit me up in few years’ on an image of Wolfhard and tagging his account, before later being forced to apologize when the backlash arrived in the form of social media outrage.
The kind of attitude that Ali Micheal is taking relies on the idea that they are ‘waiting until it’s legal’ before doing anything, which leads to a position that is viewed as more defensible, only implying sexual attraction to a child without outright stating it. But, in reality, it is an immoral and disturbing viewpoint. This is the kind of insidious behavior that leads to the normalization of ‘barely legal’ porn, that exists so men can feel better about fantasizing about the youngest women possible, or creepy comments that many girls have had to face since hitting puberty about ‘waiting until they turn 16’, and just because it is now happening to boys does not make it any less harmful.
When a literal child has to come out and ask grown adults to stop calling him daddy, then you know there’s a deep problem. He should never have been placed in that position, and those who do place him there should be heavily critiqued and derided, not excused based on his or their gender.
Finn Wolfhard seems like a great person to admire, but please, please don’t use that as an excuse to sexualize him or any other children. Let him be a kid, without having to comment on what he’ll look like when he’s older, enjoy him for his good acting and music and morals, and that’s it.