Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Nardos Haile

Rebel Wilson's message for late bloomers

Rebel Wilson is opening up about sex — or rather the fact that she didn't have it until she was 35.

The 44-year-old actress told People Magazine she wanted to share her personal experience as a "positive message" to other young people. Wilson said she wanted to reassure young people that "not everybody has to lose their virginity as a teenager." 

She continued, "People can wait till they're ready or wait till they're a bit more mature. And I think that could be a positive message. You obviously don't have to wait until you're in your thirties like me, but you shouldn't feel pressure as a young person."

Even though Wilson is now engaged and has a child, she called herself a "late bloomer" and sexually "fluid." But mostly, she stressed that "if I had been born 20 years later, I probably would've explored my sexuality more. I just knew I was attracted to men, and that was the normal thing."

Wilson's transparency about her sexuality opened the door to highlight how women's sexuality is highly policed by the media — either fully having to embrace it or run away from it.

From a very young age, female celebrities like Natalie Portman and Britney Spears were sexualized by the public. Portman, who snagged her first film role at 12 for "Léon the Professional," has spoken at length that she was instantly painted as a “Lolita figure" by the media at a young age. She said it “took away from my own sexuality."

Portman shared on an episode of the podcast "The Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard" that the constant scrutiny of her sexuality “made me afraid. It made me feel like the way I can be safe is to be like, 'I’m conservative, and I’m serious, and you should respect me, and I’m smart and don’t look at me that way.'"

She continued that when you are exploring your sexuality as a young person "you do have your own desire, and you do want to explore things, and you do want to be open, but you don’t feel safe, necessarily, when there’s, like, older men that are interested and you’re like, 'No, no no no no no.'"

As a result of the hypersexualization, Portman also said that she had to build a fortress and projected an image of a "prude" to protect herself. 

Like Portman, pop star Spears faced parallel experiences as she rose through the industry as a child. The Hulu documentary "Framing Britney Spears," highlighted that in the late '90s and early '00s Spears' appeal was her "virginal but sexy" aesthetic. She was also compared to Lolita, representing a youthful girliness, while also being a sexual person. A 1999 Rolling Stone cover of Spears — which depicted her lying on a silk-covered bed, with the unsettling heading "Inside the Heart, Mind and Bedroom of a Teen Dream" —only served to play into this. Spears herself has said that “I don't see myself as a sex symbol or this goddess-attractive-beautiful person at all."

In 2013, the star said that there was "a lot of sex goes into what I do. But sometimes I would like to bring it back to the old days when there was like one outfit through the whole video, and you’re dancing the whole video, and there’s like not that much sex stuff going on."

In Wilson's case, while she didn't feel the pressure from the media in the same ways child stars Portman and Spears did — she still struggled with her sexuality and felt pressure from society. This pressure led the actress to lie about her experiences or avoid the questions altogether to stop the actress from looking "like the biggest loser."

She shared that the expectations of a heterosexual world made it difficult to define her identity or even explore her desires. Wilson said she didn't have the tools to explore her sexuality. But when she finally connected with her partner, who is a woman, she questioned, "What if that was part of my personality that I was repressing and not exploring? Maybe I should have 10 years earlier, I don't know. My journey is what it is."

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.