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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

Brooke Shields heartbreaking revelations in “Pretty Baby”

1986+Picture+of+Brooke+Shields+on+a+ship.+Photo+provided+by+Pixabay.
1986 Picture of Brooke Shields on a ship. Photo provided by Pixabay.

By Madison Lira

Beginning her career before she could even walk, Brooke Shields has been in the Hollywood limelight for the entirety of her life. Radiating with beauty since she was born, it didn’t long for the name “Brooke Shields” to become a household staple. Shields being thrust into the limelight from just a baby would throw her into the dark underbelly of Hollywood, however. She would discover that her fame and glamour would come at a price: constant sexualization and a loss of agency over her body and mind. In her documentary “Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields,” Shields recalls moments that shaped her into the woman she is today. She is not only an advocate for her teenage daughters but mothers and women over 40 having to relearn having agency over their own lives. The documentary bearing the name of her first and, consequently, most controversial film in which 11-year-old Shields played the role of a prostitute, serves as a cautionary tale of the sexual and commercial objectification of young girls and women. 

With the films she’s starred in, Shields brings up the ones in her early childhood to teenage years that threw her into the lion’s den of accusations and constant objectification by older men. “Pretty Baby,” where she kissed her 29-year-old co-star Keith Carradine at 11 years old. “Blue Lagoon,” where director Randal Kleiser said she was going from a child into a woman while filming when Shields was just 16. 

“They wanted to make it a reality show,” Shields said. “They wanted to sell my actual sexual awakening.” Shields didn’t even have her own opinion on her sexuality as growing up Catholic, sex was a taboo topic, and her parents repeatedly told her to wait until marriage for it. 

When Shields filmed a sex scene for the film “Endless Love,” director Franco Zeffirelli had repeatedly become displeased with Shields’s facial expressions while filming the scene. So Zeffirelli decided to start twisting Shields’s toe during the stages to capture what looked like an expression of ecstasy on her face when she really was in pain. The filming of this movie is where Sheilds’s also learned to disassociate from her own body, where she could not have to watch herself film something that was actively causing her harm.

The documentary also provided an outlet for Sheilds to speak for the first time about how, at 22 years old, she was raped by an unnamed Hollywood filmmaker. “I didn’t fight that much. I didn’t. I just absolutely froze. I thought my one ‘no’ should have been enough. And I just thought, stay alive and get out. And I just . . . ‘voomp,’ just shut it out. And God knows I knew how to be disassociated from my body. I had practiced that,” said Shields. 

With these revelations, however, the ending shots of the documentary feature Shields speaking with her daughters and showing the growth of confidence, self-love, and advocacy that she has now for herself. Her daughters talk with admirable self-awareness and knowledge about their mother’s exploitation at a young age and how they knew it was wrong. “Everything is different now,” declared one of the girls. 

“Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields” is now available to stream in a two-part series on Hulu.

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