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If actors are cattle, then child actors are veal.
June 12, 2013 10:56 AM   Subscribe


 
7 Reasons Child Stars ... Crack?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:05 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Great piece, so insightful. Child actress makes good, you go girl!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:08 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Brooke Shields has said that being a sex object led her to feel like she wasn't in control of her own body, and is one of the reasons she didn't have sex until she was 22.

That's...old? Really?
posted by LogicalDash at 11:08 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


LogicalDash: "That's...old? Really?"

When you've been sexually objectified by much of the country for 10 years, it probably felt like it.

Mara Wilson is so charming, and I wish they would pass "Mara Wilson's Law" so this piece was required before any contracts were signed for child actors.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:13 AM on June 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Brooke Shields has said that being a sex object led her to feel like she wasn't in control of her own body, and is one of the reasons she didn't have sex until she was 22.

That's...old? Really?


I think if you were surrounded by people treating you as a sex object since pre-pubescence (ew), then yes, it would feel like you had waited a long time. Pretty Baby came out when Brooke Shields was 13, so she was probably all of 12 when it was made.

[on preview: what MCMikeNamara said]

I've enjoyed reading Mara Wilson's blog since the last post about her on the blue; if you haven't read the (previously) in the post, do so! She's perceptive and witty.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:19 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Everything here probably applies to child musicians and atheletes as well.
posted by ogooglebar at 11:20 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


TIL Uncle Fester was married to Betty Grable and was a total badass.
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 11:21 AM on June 12, 2013 [12 favorites]


That's...old? Really?

What age do people start having sex? When I was younger (I’m close to her age) it would have seemed pretty late.
posted by bongo_x at 11:42 AM on June 12, 2013


...so this piece was required before any contracts were signed....

Required to be read by whom? The piece is about how there's no one around the kid to protect them. What responsible person are you imagining that was just lacking some facts this piece is going to give them?
posted by DU at 11:42 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's...old? Really?

FWIW, my wife waited until we were married. She was 23.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:45 AM on June 12, 2013


That's...old? Really?

Googling, US average is 17, and 70% have made the beast with two backs by their 19th birthday.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:52 AM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Everything here probably applies to child musicians and atheletes as well.

They touched on this in the NPR interview. Roughly the same thing, aside from levels of exposure in the public eye.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:56 AM on June 12, 2013


The piece is about how there's no one around the kid to protect them.

Yeah, I don't get the "Parents Can't Help Them" end of it. I get that some parents don't. And obviously child stars get ripped off for money by their parents and exploited, etc.

But if you're plugged in to being a parent, taking 'no' for an answer doesn't seem to enter into your thinking.

My father called the station the next day to suggest that they, you know, not talk to a child about soliciting sex. But he was rebuffed, and the complaint was ignored.
Really? How about I come out there then and change the entire direction of your life?
I mean, it's wrong to lay it on her dad, but parents seem to get cut enormous amounts of slack by law enforcement when it comes to their kids.
Buddy of mine had a professional photographer taking pictures around something that occurred and he told the guy he didn't want his kids' pictures taken.
The photographer could have handed it better, but basically he told my pal to go to hell.
So my buddy took his camera. And the guy went and got a cop. Told him he stole the camera and threatened to put him in jail for theft.
Ok, my buddy said, then you're a pedophile. Because what are pictures of MY kids doing on YOUR camera. He was ready to go to jail for it if he could put the photographer in jail. And it got resolved (deleted the memory, took out the memory card, agreed the photos would not appear publicly, etc).


"Can't" it's always seemed to me is a matter of how far you're willing to go. I think people get that things like "no trespassing" or "you're not on the list" or whatever don't really apply to you if your kids are involved.

I mean if it were one of my kids, well, screw her career, I'm not letting an entourage block me from walking around with them making sure they don't get messed with.

Not to lay anything on people I don't know. Maybe the dad tried, I don't know. Plenty of people who aren't child stars who get lousy parents.
So, not saying here I love my kids more than anyone else.
But y'know, if the priority you place on your children is higher than seeing some bank or catching fame, you're more or less indestructible. Not just legally or in terms of moral consensus.
Pretty sure I could easily take down some 40 year old suburbanite. Standing between an angry mom and her kids though - entirely different proposition. I like binocular vision and having both testicles.

Make sure it's really your choice, get out of it when it stops being fun, and get an education.

That's excellent advice for anyone really.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:21 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Esteemed Offendi: "TIL Uncle Fester was married to Betty Grable and was a total badass."

Holy Shit, that's some sad shit. It makes Mr. Show's parody of Corey Feldman look tame, by comparison. What utterly horrible parents :(

I'm glad he was able to go and make something of himself, but damn...
posted by symbioid at 12:22 PM on June 12, 2013


Ok, my buddy said, then you're a pedophile. Because what are pictures of MY kids doing on YOUR camera. He was ready to go to jail for it if he could put the photographer in jail.

Responsible parenting at its finest
posted by dng at 12:31 PM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I don't get the "Parents Can't Help Them" end of it.

I would guess that it becomes pretty clear early-on that the only sure way a parent can help a child star is to yank them out of the business completely. Otherwise, the kid becomes surrounded by handlers, agents, assistants, etc. etc., and the parents become wallpaper, despite whatever efforts they make to steer their child.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:38 PM on June 12, 2013


Brooke Shields has said that being a sex object led her to feel like she wasn't in control of her own body, and is one of the reasons she didn't have sex until she was 22.


That's...old? Really?

Practically ancient. 81% of women have punched their v-cards by the time they turn 22.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 12:52 PM on June 12, 2013


I would guess that parents are told "Don't you want her to succeed? Her whole future depends on her going to this party to meet Creepy Producer and be around heroin addicts. It could set her up for life. Don't you want her to have financial security?" etc. etc. If you work with child actors, I would imagine you develop a wide variety of (ethical or non-) parent-handling techniques.
posted by emjaybee at 12:52 PM on June 12, 2013


Yeah, Smedley, it's easy to say that parents would overcome any obstacle to keep their kids safe, but a lot of parents can't. As emjaybee says, showbiz knows how to deal with parents.

Practically ancient. 81% of women have punched their v-cards by the time they turn 22.

Looking over that page: "Boy, I wish I hadn't learned I'm in the <11% of men."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:01 PM on June 12, 2013


Ok, my buddy said, then you're a pedophile. Because what are pictures of MY kids doing on YOUR camera. He was ready to go to jail for it if he could put the photographer in jail.

Wow, that’s really awful behavior. "How far" indeed.
Besides the fact that this is why I’m hesitant to believe every pedophile story I hear.
posted by bongo_x at 1:02 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Really? How about I come out there then and change the entire direction of your life?

I'm thinking that the experience of having your dad threaten a publicist for the multi-million dollar hot new movie you have a role in is exactly the kind of experience likely to end up on a TOP REASONS NOT TO BE A CHILD STAR list.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:11 PM on June 12, 2013


Wow. I always thought the reason the Different Strokes stars went crazy is because they realized very early in life that their absolutely crappy show about how a white gazillionaire saint raises his maid's black kids was wildly popular.
They must have had utter contempt for the world.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:46 PM on June 12, 2013


Rustic Etruscan: "punched their v-cards"

ROU_Xenophobe: " have made the beast with two backs"

...

ewwwwww
posted by wcfields at 1:48 PM on June 12, 2013


Hey, that was Hollywood Upstairs Medical College, not me.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:55 PM on June 12, 2013


punched their v-cards

I've always thought the idea of sharing vCards was poorly conceived. (Or maybe the only way the format's inventors could get theirs punched?)
posted by stopgap at 2:11 PM on June 12, 2013


Besides the fact that this is why I’m hesitant to believe every pedophile story I hear.

Lot of omission there. The guy was in a very sensitive position and it would have been bad if a picture of his kids were spread around.

Certainly it is bad behavior. But the point is about understanding the goal.

Her whole future depends on her going to this party to meet Creepy Producer and be around heroin addicts.

yeah, I can't imagine my kids will ever wind up in show business as child actors. People have entirely different concepts of what "success" means.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:18 PM on June 12, 2013


I've always thought the idea of sharing vCards was poorly conceived.

snrk
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:35 PM on June 12, 2013


Hey, that was Hollywood Upstairs Medical College, not me.

I demand all credit for the discomfort I induce!
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 2:35 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


In November 1933, Brooke Hart, a close friend of Coogan's from Santa Clara University, was kidnapped from his family-owned department store in San Jose and brought to the San Francisco area San Mateo - Hayward Bridge. After several demands for a $40,000 ransom, police arrested Thomas Thurmond and John Holmes in San Jose. Thurmond admitted that Hart had been murdered on the night he was kidnapped. Both men were then transferred to a prison in San Jose, California. A mob later broke into the building; Thurmond and Holmes were then hanged in an adjacent park. Coogan was reported to be among the mob that prepared and held the lynching rope.
Lesson learned: don't fuck with Fester.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:38 PM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Related: New Bill Applies Child Labor Laws To Models

I was amazed to learn that a loophole excluding models from child labor laws existed - I just figured working internationally helped sleazy adults circumvent them.
posted by Mchelly at 2:45 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I WAS QUOTING SHAKESPEARE
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:25 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I WAS QUOTING SHAKESPEARE

"Who doth . . . desire to . . . soothe the devil . . . in mine . . . balls of quenchless fire . . . ? I hope I need not . . . encourage myself . . . toward my hand." - Ibid.
posted by Copronymus at 3:52 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've said this before elsewhere around these parts, but re parents and child actors, a big part of it is that there's pressure on actors to be flexible and compliant. I mean, one snip and your scene is out of the movie. One director who really loves working with you and you're set for life. So there's a culture of go anywhere, do anything, work any hours, "oh, no, that's not a problem at all..."

I imagine that, as a parent, it's just as easy to fall into that trap, and after you've been seeing the world that way for a certain amount of time, it's hard to pull away when an agent or a producer suggests something you're not comfortable with. If anything, it's easier to comply because it's not actually you who has to do whatever it is. You're not the one with reporters asking you about prostitutes. I mean, you'd think people would remember, "wait, this is my kid, and I'm supposed to be going to bat for her, and this is Not OK." But I imagine it's a death of a thousand cuts, and by the time you get there, you're used to just saying yes.
posted by Sara C. at 1:56 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


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