'Matilda' star Mara Wilson pens essay slamming treatment of child stars, Britney Spears

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Zac Ntim
·3 min read
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mara wilson
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Author Mara Wilson attends the 9th Annual Shorty Awards at PlayStation Theater on April 23, 2017 in New York City. Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Shorty Awards
  • Mara Wilson wrote an essay for The New York Times about the dangers of child stardom.

  • Wilson, 33, is best known for the 1996 classic "Matilda."

  • The actress also draws comparisons between her early career and that of Britney Spears.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Actress and author Mara Wilson, who is best known for starring in "Matilda," 1994's "Miracle on 34th Street," and "Mrs. Doubtfire," published a personal essay in The New York Times about the dangers of child stardom and the media's "terrifying" treatment of Britney Spears.

The Times published the essay Tuesday in which Wilson, now 33, detailed her own experiences of being sexualized by the media at a young age, and the striking parallels between her early career and the media's treatment of Britney Spears, which has sparked widespread conversations following the premiere of FX's popular "Framing Britney Spears" documentary.

"The way people talked about Britney Spears was terrifying to me then, and it still is now," Wilson wrote. "Her story is a striking example of a phenomenon I've witnessed for years: Our culture builds these girls up just to destroy them. Fortunately, people are becoming aware of what we did to Ms. Spears and starting to apologize to her. But we're still living with the scars."

"Framing Britney Spears"
"Framing Britney Spears" explores the stars relationship with the media. Sky

Wilson continued to say that while Hollywood has moved to tackle issues of harassment in the industry, she was never sexually harassed on a film set. Instead, she said her "sexual harassment always came at the hands of the media and the public."

"I never appeared in anything more revealing than a knee-length sundress. This was all intentional: My parents thought I would be safer that way. But it didn't work. People had been asking me, 'Do you have a boyfriend?' in interviews since I was 6. Reporters asked me who I thought the sexiest actor was and about Hugh Grant's arrest for soliciting a prostitute," she said.

"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, I felt ashamed."

"Framing Britney Spears" was released earlier this month and tracks the toxic media circle that has surrounded Britney Spears for much of her career. The documentary also digs into the contentious conservatorship battle between Spears and her father, Jamie Spears - an issue that Wilson highlights as the biggest difference between her life and Britney's.

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

"But my life was easier not only because I was never tabloid-level famous, but because unlike Ms. Spears, I always had my family's support. I knew that I had money put away for me, and it was mine. If I needed to escape the public eye, I vanished - safe at home or school."

Read the original article on Insider