Mischa Barton did not survive the 2000s unscathed.
CO alum, 35, wrote an essay for Harper’s Bazaar United Kingdom. about feeling pressured to lose her virginity and suffer multiple blackouts as a young star, which left her with PTSD. Barton – who recently said the bullying had driven her CO out and open about the relationship with the Coaching Britney Spears documentary, having been attacked in the media at the same time – said she was grateful for the opportunities Hollywood had given her, “they came at a cost”.
The quarantine in the midst of the pandemic “brought a new perspective on life and made me think about the trauma that I have been so afraid to talk about for many years,” Barton wrote, saying she felt had long worried about “the backlash and blaming the victim”, but that she can no longer remain silent.
Barton said that while she loved being a young actress, from the age of 8 in an Off-Broadway play, “From a young age I was sexualized.” She highlighted her first film, 1997’s Lawn dogs, who “explored the themes of pedophilia, and – while the team went out of their way to make sure I wasn’t exposed to the realities of what it meant – when I lobbied for the film, it became clear that this was very mature content. ”
Two years later she was in Puppies with Burt Reynolds, and I had “my first kiss on screen and in real life, in front of a whole crew. My character had her first period in one scene, something I hadn’t even experienced yet. in life. The movie exploded in Asia, and I became a strange sex symbol there. I was 13 years old. “
She went on to call things “crazy time” as a young woman in Hollywood, which Spears’ doc showed. Barton was cast as CO.’s Marissa Cooper at 18 – “and fresh out of high school. While everyone at my age enjoyed the carefree and serene joy of being a teenager, I worked long hours on set, constantly under pressure. to meet the needs, demands and goals set by people twice my age or older. I have never had the opportunity to speak for myself. As a teenager in an adult world, I have felt a perpetual fear that this could backfire on me, disrupting my career.
Barton pointed out that even when she “found the courage to open a conversation about my experiences on set as a young girl” last month, she was again shut down and “publicly labeled a” nightmare “with which work, “from an unidentified stationary source. “References were made that my mother was ‘boring’ just because she worked hard to guide and protect her child in a wild industry. Many people told me that I would not be able to continue. to work if my mom stayed on my team, which led to a more complicated dynamic with my family over the years. “
But being Marissa was complicated for other reasons as well. Barton has said that being a virgin in real life while “playing a confident, quick, and cowardly character” has led to her speeding up her sex life.
“The kids on the show were wealthy, privileged American teens who drank, took drugs and, of course, had sex,” she said. “I knew it was important to push that thing – my virginity – that was towering over me, the elephant in the room if you will, out of the way. I started to really worry that I wouldn’t be able to play this character if I did. was doing. “Don’t hurry and mature a bit. Have I ever felt pressured to have sex with someone? Well, after being chased by older men in my thirties, I finally did the deed. I feel a little guilty because I let him do it. I felt so much pressure to have sex, not just from him, but from society in general. “
It did not end well. When she met someone new and wanted to “get away from it all, it created a toxic and manipulative environment. I felt controlled an inch away from my life.”
During his time on CO., Barton said that “no one was happy that there was so much media attention on me compared to the rest of the cast.” His co-stars, without specifically naming any, “thought I was looking for publicity… I wasn’t looking for attention, but by then it had started to snowball.”
She tried “for a long time to be unrecognized,” she said, but it worked against her, with the paparazzi becoming more and more aggressive. It got to the point that she didn’t like leaving the house. When she did, “They chased my car. They tried to climb up the walls of my house. They were tracking my phone and my car. They were making deals with restaurants for that when I went in. one of them, someone warns them. They were buying cell phones for the homeless, asking them to call as soon as they saw me walking down the street. I was being harassed. They were shooting directly at my house in the street. point that I couldn’t even open my blinds. “
It was only a part. With the photos came the hate stories on celebrity websites and in the tabloids. She said, “It has become too much to read about myself every day and make these posts laugh at my pain.”
It was then that her “sanity declined,” she writes. “The constant feeling of being tracked down completely affected me. I had a few breakdowns”, especially in 2009 after an arrest for driving while intoxicated. “But no one wondered why I was having these blackouts. I became the target of nasty attacks as I clearly expressed signs that I needed help.”
Barton said this led to PTSD. As Prince Harry saying the camera flashes set it off, she said “any noises that sounded like a shutter would give me a panic attack and make me extremely paranoid.”
As a result, “I have been to very dark places,” she said, adding: “I am proud to say that I am definitely a survivor.”
Barton also wrote about the treatment of revenge porn in 2017.
“I sued my ex-partner for selling a sex tape of me that he recorded without my consent while we were together. The videos were then offered online to the highest bidder,” he said. she declared. “I had lost my mind when I heard he said, ‘I knew she was one of the only girls, unlike Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian, who didn’t have a sex tape.’ He then thought he could surreptitiously record all of our intimate moments, even secretly filming me in the shower. With the help of an incredible lawyer, to whom I owe a lot, we won the case and stopped the sale of the videos. “
Today Barton has “finally learned what it means to be in control of my own sexuality. I’ve learned to love watching women break those taboos. The more we talk about what we did to generations past, let it be Britney. Spears, who was treated so badly by the press, or Natalie Portman speaking about how she felt too sexualized as a child, the sooner we can protect our young women and learn from our mistakes as a society. “
Barton’s interview last month with E! on “harassment” by men CO sparked a backlash, but she said it wouldn’t silence her.
“I realize these are very complicated conversations to have, with repercussions for a lot of people, but I can’t sit down and let people tear me down anymore,” she concluded. “I’m not just a title, I’m a woman, a human being and I have a story to tell. I can’t stay silent anymore, because these things always happen – the exploitation of young girls, of people. of color, to all women, sexualized yet separate and ashamed of being alive in their own bodies. If my story can help even a young girl stand up for herself and not let the world bring them down, then all of this will be worth it. “
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