By David T. Valentin
Official reports have come out from Insider and Cosmopolitan that Dancing with the Stars Influencer JoJo Siwa and her girlfriend Kylie Pew split up amid rumors that Kylie grew jealous of JoJo’s dance partner, Jenna.
Now, regardless of the speculation people are assuming based off simple things like what the two of them are liking and who is in the right, the headlines circulating after the breakup just aren’t right.
News sources like Daily Mail and Seventeen have all decided to run headlines saying, “JoJo Siwa and girlfriend Kylie Pew Split After Less Than a Year.” And while yeah it’s true, it’s a weird way of framing the conversation when other news sources have simply opted to say the pair “broke up.”
Now, it’s usual standard procedure for news sources to be all over influencers and celebrities but is it exactly healthy for younger influencers and celebrities?
Just think, JoJo Siwa is only 18, and yes, obviously 18-year-olds date around, start to experiment, start to understand what they want out of relationships. But what’s not cool for news sources to do is treat a teenager’s relationship as if every relationship is the end all be all, especially when they’re so young.
A headline like, “Breaks Up After Less Than a Year” seems to expect people who are essentially children to intuitively know how relationships work and how to maturely maneuver around them.
Now, gossip is circulating based around what JoJo and Kylie are liking on their Instagram accounts, people are making assumptions on how the two are handling the relationship, whether JoJo ignored Kylie’s feelings or whatever and it’s making the whole situation awkward. Already the two are being put under a microscope of public opinion, as if the public is entitled to know the personal details of a celebrity’s life.
What the issue is is that it matures up children in the public eye, as if people are holding them to the same standards as adult celebrities. While this might seem harmful, this slow process of maturing up child celebrities eventually leads to people oversexualizing literal children (just both in the legal sense and practical sense) and feeling entitled to their bodies immediately as they show signs of growing up and maturing.
Take for instance the rise and fame of the Stranger Things child actors and how it led to many journalists and news reporters making some inappropriate comments towards the children’s bodies.
Back in 2017 when Millie Bobby Brown showed up to the red carpet of the Season Two premiere of Stranger Things in a simple black dress and some very sharp contouring and make up. Mike Sington, an entertainment executive, Hollywood insider, and social media influencer, tweeted a picture of Millie Bobby Brown at the premiere with the caption, “Millie Bobby Brown just grew up in front of our eyes. (She’s 13!).” He later apologized for his comment, “grew up in front of our eyes” in a statement on Twitter explained what he meant and then added, “Looking back, I can see how some could interpret commenting on the grown up look of a child as contributing to the objectification or even sexualization of a minor, and I appreciate those of you that brought this to my attention.”
In the same year, Ali Michael, a 17-year-old American fashion model, shared a photo of Finn Wolfhard on her Instagram with the caption, “Not to be weird but hit me up in four years.” Finn at the time was only 14-years-old. When TMZ asked Wolfhard what he thought of the comment, he responded, “Oh, that was nuts. That was gross.”
These are just recent examples of child and teenage actors being “aged up” so to say, but it has been happening for years. Celebrities like: Mara Wilson, Natalie Portman, Elijah Wood, Drew Barrymore, Judy Garland and Shirley Temple, and so many more have come forward to discuss not only being sexualized as child actors but also being sexually assaulted by powerful men in Hollywood.
I understand that there is a certain level of privilege and fame these celebrities have that would have some say, “Well, they’re famous now, so of course nosey paparazzi are going to deep dive into their lives.” But not when that breach of privacy disrespects people’s boundaries to the point it leads to physical and emotional abuse? There’s absolutely no justification for that.