Mara Wilson says mistreatment of Britney Spears is ‘scary’ and speaks out against the sexualization of child stars


Mara Wilson says she is still appalled by the public scrutiny of Britney Spears.

The former child star, known for her roles in “Matilda” and “Mrs. Doubtfire” in the 1990s, published an opinion piece Tuesday criticizing the Hollywood industry for failing women, especially women. the young stars.

In her op-ed for The New York Times, Wilson, now 33, talks about what she calls “The Narrative” that has been perpetuated by the media and the public for years. She describes it as “the idea that anyone who has grown up in the public eye will meet a tragic end.”

Wilson shared one of her earliest memories of being publicly rejected after a journalist referred to her as a “spoiled brat” in an article when she was just 13 years old. She noted that she was “broke” at the time despite having been “trained to appear, to be, as normal as possible, whatever is necessary to avoid my inevitable fall.”

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In the same article, Wilson says she was quoted as saying she “hated” Spears.

Mara Wilson shares her thoughts on the mistreatment of Britney Spears by the media and the public.
(Gilbert Carrasquillo / FilmMagic)

“I didn’t really hate Britney Spears. But I would never have admitted that I liked her. There was a strong streak of ‘Not like the other girls’ in me at the time, which feels embarrassing now, even though I hadn’t. Believe that, when had I spent so much of my childhood auditioning against so many other girls? ”Wilson analyzes. “Some of it was pure jealousy, that she was beautiful and cool in a way that I never would be. I think most of all, she had already absorbed the version of the narrative that surrounded her.”

Wilson continues to share the ways he became involved with Spears in the 1990s. His reflection comes just a couple of weeks after the documentary “Framing Britney Spears” sparked renewed interest in the singer’s guardianship battle against his father, Jamie Spears, and the intense scrutiny he faced as a global pop star.

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“The way people talked about Britney Spears terrified me then, and it still is now,” writes Wilson. “Her story is a striking example of a phenomenon that I have witnessed for years: our culture edifies these girls only to destroy them. Fortunately, people are realizing what we did to Ms. Spears and starting to apologize. with her. But we are still living with the scars. “

Like Spears, Wilson says she experienced her fair share of being sexualized at a young age.

“I never came out in anything more revealing than a knee-length sundress. This was all intentional – my parents thought I’d be safer that way. But it didn’t work out. People have been asking me, ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’ In interviews since I was 6 years old, “writes Wilson.

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the "Framing Britney Spears" documentary that has drawn attention to the downfalls of the battle for stardom and the singer's tutelage against her father, Jamie Spears (left).

The documentary “Framing Britney Spears” that has brought renewed attention to the falls of the struggle for stardom and the tutelage of the singer against her father, Jamie Spears (left).
(Chris Farina / Corbis via Getty Images)

Fortunately for Wilson, she says she had something that Spears apparently didn’t have in her early career: the support of her family.

“Many moments in Ms. Spears’ life were familiar to me. We both had dolls made with us, we had close friends and boyfriends who shared our secrets and grown men commented on our bodies. But my life was easier not only because I never went. a tabloid – famous level, but because unlike Ms Spears, I always had the support of my family. I knew I had money in store for me, and it was mine. If I needed to escape public attention, I would disappear, safe at home or school, “Wilson continues.

Wilson says seeing the public scrutiny of Spears reminded her of what she didn’t want for her in the spotlight.

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“I followed the buzz for the Rolling Stone cover story, where the first line described her ‘honeyed thigh,’ and the furor on the AOL message boards when her nipples were showing through her shirt. I saw many Teenage actresses and singers embrace sexuality as a rite of passage, appearing on the covers of boys’ magazines or in provocative music videos. That was never going to be me, I decided, “says Wilson.

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Wilson also reflected on the now-viral photos from 2007 when Spears was caught on camera smashing a photographer’s car with an umbrella. She writes that the singer’s so-called “collapse” “never had to happen.”

“The narrative was imposed on her,” Wilson writes, “but the reality was that she was a new mother dealing with major life changes. People need space, time, and care to deal with those things. She had nothing of that”.

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Wilson added that “she was never sexually harassed on a film set.” However, he claimed that his harassment occurred in other ways, such as “at the hands of the media and the public.”

He concluded that he has regained the reins of telling his own story. Her “Narrative,” she says, is an “I can write myself.”

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