Mara Wilson may relate to Britney Spears’ plight.
The 33-year-old actress who started work at the age of 5 and has appeared in films, among other things Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfirewrites in a New York Times Growing up in Hollywood, she learned at a young age that she had no control over the narrative painted on her and was sexualized by both the media and the public – like the pop star.
“Hollywood has decided to take action against harassment in the industry, but I was never sexually molested on a movie set,” Wilson wrote. “My sexual harassment always came from the media and the public.”
Wilson recalled being burned by the press in 2000 when she was 13 years old for being referred to as a “spoiled brat” in a Canadian newspaper profile (entitled “Mara at midlife”). The writer claimed she “complained to her staff” at a press event. She quickly learned “the narrative” cast up on the stars by the media and the public, and as it always was about how “anyone who grew up in public will come to a tragic end”.
In the same demeaning profile, Wilson was asked what she thought of Spears – then a superstar in the “Oops! … I did it again” era – and “apparently I replied that I” hated “her. I didn’t I actually hate Britney Spears. But I would never have admitted to liking her. At the time I had a heavy streak of “not like the other girls” that now feels embarrassing … Some of it was sheer jealousy that her was as beautiful and cool as I would never be. I think most of the time I had already recorded the version of the narrative surrounding her as a ‘bad girl’ because I was posing for in a bra top Rolling Stone.“”
Wilson said that while “many teenage actresses and singers” like Spears “saw sexuality as a rite of passage that appeared on the covers of Lad Mags or in provocative music videos,” she decided, “I would never be.” That’s because, “I was already sexualized and I hated it.”
While Wilson “mostly starred in family films” and “”never appeared in anything more revealing than a knee-length sundress, “a deliberate choice of her parents,” it didn’t work. People asked me, “Do you have a boyfriend?” In interviews since I was 6, reporters asked me who I think was the sexiest actor and how Hugh Grant was arrested for asking for a prostitute. It was cute when 10 year olds sent me letters saying they were in love with me. It wasn’t when 50-year-old men did. Even before I turned 12, there were pictures of me on foot fetish websites and photoshops in child pornography. I was ashamed every time. “
Wilson said the way people talked about Spears “was horrible to me then, and it still is today. Her story is a striking example of a phenomenon I’ve observed for years: our culture is building these girls just to destroy them. Fortunately, people are becoming aware of what we did to Ms. Spears, “who came to the fore when the documentary was released Framing Britney Spears, “and started apologizing to her. But we still live with the scars. “
Wilson wrote that part of the narrative for female stars has always been that whatever happens to them – addictions, overdose, etc. – are things that “famous kids deserve”. That “They asked for it by getting famous and entitled, so it’s okay to attack them.” In reality it “often has far less to do with the child than with the people around him”.
When considering Spear’s breakdown, in which the singer was involuntarily hospitalized twice in January 2008 after losing custody and visiting rights of her toddler sons, Wilson said the “saddest” part was that it never had to happen. When she broke up with her husband, she shaved her head and furiously attacked a paparazzi car with an umbrella. The tale was forced upon her, but in reality she was a new mother dealing with major life changes. People need space, time and care to deal with these things, none of them. “
Willson said that “I was familiar with many moments in Ms. Spears’ life. We both had dolls of ourselves, had close friends who shared our secrets, and grown men commented on our bodies. But my life wasn’t all easier.” because I was never tabloid famous, but because unlike Mrs. Spears, I always had family support. I knew I had put money away for myself and it was mine. If I had to get out of the public eye, it disappeared I – safely at home or at school. “(She wrote more about her upbringing: going to public schools, being a Girl Scout, and sharing a bedroom with her little sister.)
Wilson ended her essay by saying that she had learned to take control of her own story – and her narrative is no longer “a story someone else writes. I can write it myself.”
Spears has not spoken about the documentary, which premiered on February 5, and also deals with the conservatory she has been under since her breakdown. The film has led to a re-examination of celebrity and how the female stars in particular have faced relentless trials and shame. Spears’ ex-Justin Timberlake recently apologized to Spears for playing into the negative narrative about the pop star.