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Head-to-Head: Children in Hollywood
October 1, 2018
Hiring Actors Accurate to the Role’s Age
It is no secret that Hollywood’s hires actors as old as thirty to portray teenagers in high school setting movies. The late Cory Monteith, from Fox’s Glee was introduced as a 16-year-old sophomore but in reality the actor was 27 years old. This strange habit of filmmakers has created quite a strange and unattainable standard for actual teens, which subsequently lead to self-esteem issues.
Hiring older actors and actresses to play as teens create a standard as to how teenagers should look, although the actors themselves are not really teenagers. When a 14-year-old girl is watching a movie where the main role is meant to also be a 14-year-old girl but is portrayed by a 26-year-old woman, the girl will compare herself to the actress and assume she looks a lot younger than she really is. This false reality makes teen assume that they must always appear to be more developed or consistent with their appearance, when in reality a teen’s appearance will change frequently during their adolescents.
Teens often struggle with acne, bloating, and growth spurts. All the stigmatism that those are “bad” things can be rooted from hiring adults to play teens. For example, they throw a 28-year-old Olivia Newton-John from Grease with her perfect skin, hourglass figure, and fully developed voice and expect her to play an accurate 17 year old. In reality 17-year-olds have voice cracks and their bodies would not necessarily be immediately toned. After all, teen drama are generally targeted to be relatable to a teen audience, how can an adult portray a relatable teen more so than an actual teen?
The sole purpose that older actors are hired is to avoid the legal issues of having minors on set. Although a common practice in many workplaces, this still affects the quality of the movie and the movie’s viewers. In most movies, the filmmakers barely even try to give the facade of an actual teen, also those laws do not make it illegal to hire a minor. There is nothing stopping them from hiring someone accurate to the age of the role.
Why There Should Be No Children in Hollywood
Sexual assault and molestation has been going on in Hollywood since motion pictures became more common place. These heinous crimes are especially commonplace against child actors and young teens.
The first recorded case was in 1976 with Todd Bridges from Diff’rent Strokes, Bridges claimed his publicist started molesting him around the age of 11 or 12. In 1986, Corey Haim confessed to a costar on the set of The Lost Boys, that an adult male in the industry had convinced him that it was normal and even encouraged for young boys and older men in the business to have sexual relations together.
Children in the business of child actors are more likely to be molested than young adults or older actors. The industry preys on young children, telling them that they are special, that being touched like that is normal in the business. These children grow up believing performing lewd acts for people higher up in the industry is how you gain power and status.
If having teens and some older children be played by young adults fixes the issue of literal child actors being sexually assaulted for years on end. On the other hand of the issue, kids and teens gain insecurities when looking through media (movies, TV shows, etc.)Predators go after the easy prey, and we must not make children available to those looking for easy prey.