Legal Age Countdown
More recently, in the age of the internet, similar online countdowns were created up to the 18th birthday of Billie Eilish, who turned 18 in 2019, while rapper and social media personality Bhad Bhabie earned $1 million within six hours of arriving at OnlyFans on her 18th birthday. In 2013, a TMZ post featuring Kendall Jenner in a bikini 53 days before her 18th birthday wasn`t so subtly titled “53 DAYS,” when a company reportedly offered Jenner $1.8 million so she could play with “a partner of her choice” in an X-Rated video to celebrate her birthday. For too long, we have turned a blind eye to the media that regularly sexualizes young girls and participates in celebrity countdowns to their 18th birthday. In 2004, several websites devoted themselves to counting minutes until the Olsen twins officially reached adulthood. A few years later, the same thing happened to Emma Watson. In addition to the birthday countdown websites, she also had a bad encounter with one of the paparazzi who followed her on her birthday: since the media industry feels so comfortable sexualizing young girls, the behavior is naturally considered “acceptable” by the public. These women don`t even have the opportunity to choose how people see them. Without saying it, many of them are simply stuck in calendars for men old enough to be their fathers, waiting to sexualize them legally. Actress Natalie Portman spoke a few years ago about the “sexual terrorism” she faced as a teenager.
When Portman spoke about the lead role in her first film The Professional at the age of 12, she explained how the media treatment also negatively affected her later in life. She went on to explain how a “countdown” was started on her local radio show, waiting for her 18th birthday when she would finally be “legal” for adults. A disturbing number of people have been waiting for it to become “legal” since she became famous at the age of 13 on Dr. Phil`s show. If a man`s first thought when he sees a young woman is to count the moments until he can legally sleep with her, he is a sick man. Connor`s employers agreed with this mindset and removed him from his radio show after his comments. But the concept of “countdown” isn`t just sick. It sends a strong message to young girls: even if you are an Olympic gold medalist, a successful actress, a world-famous musician, women do not exist any differently than male satisfaction.
Even little girls end up becoming little women, and women are supposed to be objectified. We praise age limits as protectors of young women from sexualization, but in a world that continues to tell men that we are only here to be insulted, they are increasingly impatient. Needless to say, if these photos had been posted only 24 hours before, they would have been illegal. In the run-up to Brown`s birthday, Buzzfeed reported that several countdowns have appeared on online forums, including a Reddit “NSFW” thread promising to open on his birthday. One user explained that the feed would be “dedicated to Millie`s sexual images,” with thousands of followers waiting for that content to fall. Brown 18. The anniversary comes after years of older male social media users sexualizing the young actress, including an Instagram post Brown shared on her birthday this weekend, a barrage of sexual comments. Waiting for a female celebrity to become “legal” means that she has already been sexually objectified as a minor. And this only reinforces pre-existing pedophile tendencies in our culture. The trend really took off with the advent of the internet, but with the ease with which a platform could be created online, it didn`t take long for the web to spawn countdown pages for Hilary Duff and the Harry Potter cast. And it wasn`t just shady websites – mainstream media also supported the trend. “Hot, ready and legal!” The August 2004 cover of Rolling Stone featured 18-year-old Lindsay Lohan photographed in a satin top snatched off.
“Kendall Jenner” 53 days before her 18th birthday. It`s not that we count,” TMZ wrote in the caption of a photo of her wearing a bikini top pulling over a pair of shorts. “For those wondering, Kendall Jenner will turn 18 in 52 days,” Hollywood Life wrote a day later under the same photo. The “countdown” Connor speaks of is both figurative and literal – the practice of creating websites to count down moments until a young celebrity reaches “adulthood” is as old as the internet. In 2004, when I was 12 and the Olsen twins turned 18, I remember my older sister crying in disgust at a growing onslaught of websites enthusiastically counting months, weeks, days, and minutes until the twins they had seen on their TVs since childhood were finally “legal.” After her 18th birthday, when she was finally legal in the United States, she made her North American debut in Score magazine, which made her cover in a special edition to mark her 50th birthday. The mainstream media and their celebrity countdowns to 18th birthday are largely to blame. It seems so ridiculous to have to say it, because such repugnant behavior should never have been tolerated. Before the age of the Internet, countdowns were often done on radio stations. Natalie Portman referred to this in a speech to a crowd at this year`s Women`s March: “My local radio show started a countdown to my 18th birthday — euphemism the date I would be sleeping legally,” she said.