When Child Actors Turn Hot! An internal conundrum

Posted on 06 April 2010 by Quaid

It was shortly after noon on Easter Sunday when my pocket began to buzz. I pulled my phone out and checked the text a friend of mine sent. It said simply, “Anna Paquin declared bisexuality.”

I looked at that for a long moment. Then I texted back, an off-color joke that would be wildly out-of-place on the classy virtual pages of MovieChopShop. Her response back…

“I thought it might be material for the site.”

And then my mind began a-whirring. First, I realized that my female friend thought me a sex-crazed big dumb male. Second, I realized that yes, I was a sex-crazed big dumb male. And finally, I felt a twinge of guilt drive itself through my (loins?) heart.

Perhaps it’s fitting that it was Easter Sunday, because my Catholic guilt was out in full-force. See, I’ve had a thing for Anna Paquin for a while. She’s a beautiful and sexy lady, and my jaw hung open in awe when we saw her boobies on “True Blood.”

But I feel guilty. It’s not for finding the young lady sexually attractive…that’s just the way the world turns. She’s hot. It’s not even for over-sexualizing her or for equating “bisexual” with some childish schoolboy fantasy. Truth be told, the news of bisexuality didn’t “excite” me, per-se, except to remind me of a wildly sexy woman doing sexy things. As far as sexual preference, I could care less…you wanna do who you wanna do (so much for avoiding crass comments in this article, eh?).

No, I felt guilty for one reason and one reason only. I remember the first movie I ever saw Paquin in: Fly Away Home.

And thinking of her twelve-year-old character trying desperately to save a flock of geese, I became ashamed of the lurid images floating through my mind. And I felt bad for looking at her “True Blood” boobies.

It’s actually a common problem, seeing a young woman before she’s developed any type of sexuality and then watching her mature. And then when she gets super-hot, how can you not feel like somewhat of a creeper.

The most obvious case of this “syndrome” of creepiness comes, of course, from Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. Now, I was never terribly attracted to either of the twins, but I do remember reading articles about guys who had “countdown to legal” clocks running on their computers for LITERALLY YEARS before the twins’ eighteenth birthday, and that kind of attention directed toward Full House’s Michelle freaked me the hell out. Was it super creepy? “You got it, dude!”

Next there was Kirsten Dunst’s transition from amazing child-actress to mediocre adult actress, a move she seemed to make with absolutely no down-time. We went from finding her heartbreakingly cute and tragic in Interview With a Vampire to seeing her as a prepubescent lion-evading child in Jumanji. Then, all of a sudden, she was bonafide jailbait in Drop Dead Gorgeous and The Virgin Suicides, and I had to remind myself to keep thinking clean thoughts.

By the time I saw the woman in Bring it On, though, I had to admit she was super hot…and that it would have been creepy that I was watching a cheerleader movie if I hadn’t been the age I was.

My saving grace with both of these situations, though, was the fact that I, too, was growing up. I wasn’t much older than these actresses, so I didn’t suffer from “dirty old man” syndrome when finding them legitimately hot.

But then came along the Olsen of the nineties. That’s right, I’m talking about Hermione Granger.

Emma Watson was a ridiculously cute little girl in the first Harry Potter movie. It became clear fairly early on, however, that she was going to grow into a full-fledged hottie. Fanboys on the internet, myself included, reacted in different ways.

Some just flat-out got creepy and gross, more for comedic effect (I hope) than anything else. Others got indignant and protective, while some just sat back and said “I’ll wait until I can’t get arrested for the things I’m thinking.”

It was creepy all around.

Now, Emma Watson is without a doubt a superbly attractive young woman, and to call a man creepy for admitting that fact is a little naive. Still, how can I not remember that cute little girl who was worried about getting killed, “or worse…EXPELLED!”

To make matters worse in the Emma conundrum, the Harry Potter movies were released every eighteen months or so. There was never a break where she went away a cute little girl and came back hot. We saw every stage of her growth, and different guys made the switch at different times. When, exactly, did it become okay to say that Emma Watson is hot?

It’s a mystery for the ages. I’ll freely admit that this problem might be completely internal, something I need to work out for myself. I know of other guys that basically say “If she has breast’s it’s fine to look…but don’t touch until she’s eighteen.”

As far as the “touch” question goes, I don’t think it’s going to be a problem for most of the basement-dwelling geeks trolling the internet, self included. Still, it’s an interesting ethical conundrum. There’s a religious-themed billboard in Southern Indiana that shows a stripper gripping a pole with a dead look in her eyes. The caption reads: “This is someone’s daughter.”

I guess that’s kind of the feeling I get when a child actress gets hot. I can’t help but see the little girl she used to be, and it freaks me out a little. Then again, everyone used to be young, and seeing childhood pictures of girlfriends doesn’t bother me. It’s just knowing the young ladies BEFORE they blossomed that causes problems.

I’m sure feminists could rip this one to pieces, so I want to be very clear in the closing of this article. I honestly oppose ANY person of ANY age sexually objectifying ANY other person of ANY age, male or female, young or old. BUT we are sexual animals, and we’re going to find some people attractive on a purely physical and sexual level. That’s part of being a human being, and it’s fine.

But if, somehow, I find myself in a dark room with Mary Jane Watson whispering sweet nothings in my ear, I’ll have to work with all my willpower to keep images of The Piano out of my head. I don’t think it’s a problem I’m really going to have to worry about.

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5 Comments For This Post

  1. Jessica Says:

    Ugh. I hear ya. So hard not to see the child & adult at the same time. That innocence you first found cute & then the sudden bam!, sultry adult & you’re like WTF?! You ask yourself, is it ok to find these new coming of age soon to be (if not already) over the age of 18 former child actors attractive? Especially as one gets older in age? Meh, I agree, we are sexual creatures, it’s not something to feel morally corrupted about. At some point down the road they will stop being those child actors in the public eye.

  2. Rachel Says:

    Well said :)

  3. ogre Says:

    sadly this doesn’t happen to the boys alot.

  4. Reslman Says:

    Emma Watson is extremely pretty! I extremely fall in love with her.

  5. Mina Says:

    A conversation my cousin told me about once when telling me how hot he thought Hermione was after the second movie…

    Cousin: Damn, Hermione’s hot!
    Friend: Dude! She’s like, thirteen!
    Cousin: Oh, right… okay, so she’s on lay-away then.


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