Streaming giant Netflix generated controversy last week after it promoted its upcoming movie “Cuties” with a poster that sexualized its pre-teen characters. While the streamer’s blockbuster series “Stranger Things” treats its teenage characters age appropriately, star Natalia Dyer says the media doesn’t always follow suit. Dyer stars as Nancy Wheeler in “Stranger Things” and tells The Independent in a new interview that her younger co-stars are often over-sexualized in the media. The young “Stranger Things” cast includes Millie Bobby Brown and Finn Wolfhard, among others.
“There are so many layers going on here. I generally feel like, to me, it’s over-sexualizing them,” Dyer said when the topic of how her young co-stars are portrayed in the media came up. “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,” Dyer added, noting the sexualization of young actors is “a cultural issue, there must be a bigger concept behind it as to why. Just let people be the people that they are, without any judgement.”
As The Independent notes, Millie Bobby Brown was only 13 years old when W Magazine included her on a list of reasons why television is “sexier than ever.” Brown was included alongside the likes of Nicole Kidman and James Franco. Wolfhard made a statement in November 2017 calling it “gross” how a model made a sexually-charged comment about him when he was just 14 years old.
Dyer has mostly avoided the media spotlight outside of promoting projects like “Stranger Things” or her latest indie film project “Yes, God, Yes” (read IndieWire’s glowing review). The actress said, “It’s very like, ‘Oh my gosh, I just want to go to the grocery store and get some milk. I don’t want to take a photo everywhere I go.’ At first, it was jarring. There are fans everywhere. It’s a difficult thing to navigate.”
“Stranger Things 4” is expected to hit Netflix sometime in 2021.