So it seems we might need to talk about Dakota Fanning.
Remember this little girl, from way back in the ye olde early 2000s, circa her SAG Awards nom for 2001’s I Am Sam?
Yes well that little girl is, as they say, all grownsed up now:
And what does a young starlet do the very second she turns 18? Why, a celebratory nude scene, of course!
Yes, that’s right. Go ahead and pretend like you’re surprised… [looks at watch] Alright, your surprise-time is up! Now let’s face the facts together, shall we?
Dakota Fanning might be one of the Very Good Girls in her 2013 coming-of-age drama, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t get the chance to show off her bad self in the flick. The actress bares more than just her soul in the film, going nude for the first time on camera.
“Yeah, well, I’ve never done that before and I’m very newly allowed to do that,” she explained to MTV News at the Sundance Film Festival, where she was out promoting the movie. “I was newly 18, so yeah, it was, it’s kind of a sensitive thing, but it’s a part of life.”
Fanning grows up big time in the film, which follows her and her pal, played by Elizabeth Olsen, as they embark on their journey through adolescence, on a quest to lose their virginity, and all the repercussions that come along with it…
And listen, it’s all well and good and perfectly legal (now) for her to do this of course, but if the two images of the freshly-minted Grown Up Dakota Fanning above illustrate anything, it’s that a child star‘s career path from sweet, youthful innocence to overt sexualization is one fraught with skeeziness and discomfort. The uncomfortable visual blending of innocence more befitting a tween (light-pink chiffon and Mickey Mouse) with very sex-kitten-styled come-hither looks (and don’t even get me started on the bottle-inserted-between-her-legs thing) sends a message not so much conflicting as it is socially and culturally damning: the world likes ‘em young, and starts ‘em early, whether you like it or not.
And yes, she’s really all grown up now – a phrase we’ll hear repeated over and over again relative to Fanning’s Big Girl transformation in the weeks and months to come (though really, her turn in 2010’s The Runaways making out with Kristen Stewart largely heralded this). And it’s true. She’s legal now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t wish kid stars like Fanning had just a little bit longer span of time to be fresh young women before being crammed into Hollywood’s marketing machine and its conventions of what sexually enticing is. But then again, I am TEH OLDZ.
What do you think? How does Dakota Fanning’s new, very mature “branding” sit with you?
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