Saturday, April 4, 2020
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Age Is Not Just A Number

In the world of Hollywood, relationships are defined by star power. Factors such as who can act cuter with their significant other, and some serious age gaps are just part of the norm. Recently, Millie Bobby Brown, star of Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” revealed she has a surprisingly close relationship to famous rapper Drake.

In an interview with Access, Brown says that they text every other day and he gives her advice “about boys.” Brown is only 14 years old while Drake is approaching 32. Although I can believe that their relationship is a mentorship on the ins and outs of Hollywood, it’s still a weird friendship, especially considering how often they text and Drake allegedly texting her “I miss you so much.”

Hollywood has countless examples of older men dating very young women. Alec Baldwin was 26 years old when his wife, Hilaria Baldwin was born. Mel Gibson and his wife, Rosalind Ross, have a 35 year gap between them. The idea of Brown becoming Mrs. Drake in the future is a possibility if Hollywood history continues on its course. It is not just this particular relationship between Brown and Drake, but also how it affects the mainstream perception of adult-teen relationships and the normalization of a form of pedophilia.

In early May, Mirjam Heine, a medical student at University of Würzburg in Germany, spoke in a TEDx talk about how pedophilia is an “unchangeable sexual orientation.” It was then claimed that this is something that a person cannot stop being, meaning a person does not choose to be a pedophile. Ever since then, my Twitter has been full of people arguing against the idea of pedophilia joining the list of sexualities on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Drake and Brown’s relationship is strictly friendly, but accepting it would be one step closer to allowing inappropriate relationships to occur.

Drake and Brown’s friendship leads to the bigger issue – when do we as society draw the line for appropriate relationships? What do we define as appropriate and does that apply to celebrities who are notorious for breaking the norm?

I don’t believe that the stars should have such a close friendship because Brown is at an impressionable age. When I was 14, I was a freshman in high school, desperate to find my social scene and to get straight A’s. At that time, I would have loved a mentor to guide me through my issues. It would only be worse for Brown as she is in the Hollywood spotlight and is constantly judged by every aspect of her life, from her outfit to her accent.

Drake could be a shoulder to lean on when that burden becomes too heavy, but even so, he should know better. Even if he was her mentor, he has been famous for a long time and should be aware of how any relationship between celebrities is highly scrutinized and commercialized. If he truly is trying to maintain a friendship with Brown, Drake should create a healthy distance and be wary of his phrases towards her, because one missed placed “I miss you” will create a new scandal for Hollywood to sell.

Frank Peña is a third-year Journalism and Informatics major. He can be reached at fpenaaya@uci.edu.