Ariel Winter on her troubled childhood: ‘it made me who I am today’

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Above is a shot of Ariel Winter at Entertainment Weekly’s Pre-Emmys Party last Saturday. Ariel attended the Emmy’s last night along with her Modern Family co-stars. As many of you know by now, Ariel was abused by her mother both physically and emotionally. The abuse was bad enough for Ariel to be removed from her home and placed in her sister, Shanelle Gray’s, care, at the age of 14. Ariel was ultimately emancipated at the age of 17. Although the court records are public and her mother, Crystal Workman, has been on Dr. Phil and the tabloid circuit, Ariel does not discuss her troubled childhood often. Fortunately, through therapy and maturity, Ariel sounds like she’s processing it now. During a recent photo shoot with The Hollywood Reporter, Ariel discussed her mother, how she got out of that situation and her much-maligned wardrobe choices.

As background, Ariel was pushed into acting at the age of four to live out her mother’s failed dreams. Being cast on Modern Family didn’t just give her financial security but saved her in many ways. Series co-creator Steven Levitan helped Ariel’s case against her mother by writing letters to the court. Ariel’s on-set teacher, Sharon Stacks, however, proved to be her guardian angel. Sharon did everything from sneaking her food, to working overtime to catch Ariel up in her neglected education, to eventually reporting Crystal to Child Protective Services with Ariel’s blessing. You can read the full article here but below are a few quotes.

On how her mother sexualized her: “the smallest miniskirts, sailor suits, low-cut things, the shortest dresses you’ve ever seen. People thought I was 24 when I was 12. If there was going to be a nude scene when I was that age, my mother would have a thousand percent said yes.”

Sharon on Ariel’s food and sleep deprivation: “I would order a couple lunches in my name so Ariel could eat one of them. I could tell she was hungry. Boiled chicken and cucumbers isn’t going to do it for a growing kid. Her mother kept her out late at night at these ridiculous parties. She was 12 and 13 years old and had to be on set at 6:30, 7.”

Ariel’s first reaction to the social media hate: “I was like, ‘Maybe I’m going to lose some weight, dye my hair, change how I dress. … Maybe I’m doing something wrong.’ I actually got more hate by trying to change.”

On her college experience: “The reason I’m going to college is because I do want knowledge in another field. College isn’t the college experience for me. I’m not going to be in a sorority, I’m not going to network, I’m not even really going to make my lifelong friends. I’ve had the career experience. I’ve had the experience of taking care of myself. I’m going to college because I genuinely want to learn.” 

On the ‘smart girl’ stereotypes: “I do wish, we could get out of the stigma that girls who are smart have to dress down and not care about appearance. … But I think [Alex is] starting to. If you want to wear a short skirt and show your body like I do, it doesn’t mean you’re a whore. And it doesn’t mean you’re not one. People call me stupid because I post photos of my butt when the real thing is, I love my butt. I love butts! Why stifle yourself because other people can’t handle it?”

On surviving her childhood: “Even though I wish I had a better childhood, I wouldn’t trade it, because it made me who I am today. I still respect the people that hurt me.”

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

Another thing the article points out is that prior to being given custody of Ariel, Shanelle and Ariel had only met a handful of times. Ariel thought she was going to be placed in foster care when she agreed to have Sharon report her situation. Think of how bad it must have been at home. And thank God for the people on Modern Family looking out for her. I like what she said about how TV and movies dress a smart girl. Ariel said they strapped her boobs down occasionally after she developed and that she “understand(s) it for the character but I’m very torn.” I get that it was an unexpected arc because, as we know, Ariel developed early. Her character Alex was always written as the socially awkward counterpart to Sarah Hyland’s Haley and I’m sure the show was not prepared to have her go from young figure to hourglass that quickly. Personally, I think the show took too long to allow Alex to develop into her look but at least they made some strides because it’s true, smart girls come in every shape, color and size and it would be great if that could be better reflected on film.

The reason that I wanted to cover this story (CB wanted it too but is a most kind and benevolent boss) was because of the UCLA part. Ariel chose to defer her acceptance and the last time I covered her there was no indication she was planning on enrolling. However, she is – she starts this month. Ariel was also accepted to Yale and Princeton but UCLA works better with her shooting schedule. Obviously, Ariel was always going to have a different experience in college than people who aren’t famous. I appreciate she’s realistic in her expectations but I do hope she’s open to the ‘college experience.’




Photo credit: The Hollywood Reporter, Getty Images and WENN Photos


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97 Responses to “Ariel Winter on her troubled childhood: ‘it made me who I am today’”

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  1. LuckyZeGrand says:

    I hope that one of the things she learns in college is how to be comfortable in her own skin because to me it seems like she’s rebelling through outlandish makeup and ill-fitting clothes.

    • Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

      “it seems like she’s rebelling through outlandish makeup and ill-fitting clothes.”

      I think so too. Too bad. I don’t judge people according to what they wear/look and I hate to say this but most of the times she looks “cheap”. That said, I met a couple of women with very, VERY expensive taste in clothes who suck as human beings.
      About rebellion, there are smart ways to rebel.

      • Anna says:

        Also her mum has gone on record criticizing her current wardrobe choices so perhaps wearing these clothes is another way of going against her mum?
        But maybe she just genuinely enjoys wearing these clothes and wants to show off her body and be comfortable

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      For most girls it would signal rebellion against a puritanical upbringing but she is continuing to dress as her mother forced her to when young. For her, rebellion would be covering up like a Handmaid. I hope she can move past the either/ or and find a middle ground.

  2. Vera says:

    I would love to see her in something classy. She deserves it.

  3. kibbles says:

    Her being exploited by her mother explains a lot about the way she dresses today. I do not doubt that Ariel is a very mature, independent, and intelligent young woman. But I also believe that she either is not willing to admit or does not want to come to terms with the fact that her sexual exploitation and start in the entertainment business at a young age has seriously warped her idea of what is appropriate attire for certain events. I have seen her dress like she is about to go out for a night of clubbing at a daytime kid friendly event with her Modern Family cast members. There is a time and a place for sexy attire. It’s true that smart women can be beautiful and sexy, but most smart women also know that: 1) they deserve better than to be looked at constantly as sexual objects in skimpy clothing, 2) they have more to offer than discussions that revolve around sex and nudity, 3) they have enough respect for themselves that they would not look up to the Kardashian women as role models to post intimate photographs of themselves for the world to gawk at, 4) clothes that exude both femininity and class simply look better than dressing like a showgirl. I hope that as Ariel gets older she realizes that just as smart female characters do not need to be dressed down in flannel shirts, women also do not need to be dressed in tight dresses that show their private parts to prove their sexuality and confidence.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      I’m sorry, but this comment is misogynistic as f–k and shows that it’s not just the religious conservatives who gaslight women and others for making choices about their bodies that they dissaprove of. How did we go from Amber Tamblyn’s awesomeness to this in just one day?
      1.) Just because Ariel Winter was exploited by her mother as a child doesn’t mean that her decisions about her body as an adult are ‘damage from the abuse’. It’s very telling that this argument is only used for choices that the person doing the shaming dissaproves of. Not every choice that every woman makes about sexuality and the body is going to be pleasing or considered ‘right’ to everyone under a heteronormative patriarchy, and it doesn’t mean a woman is automatically ‘tainted’ or ‘damaged’, it means that you dissaprove of her choices. As feminists, we need to be better than the people who hide their internalized misogyny and homophobia behind concern-trolling rhetoric such as “Well, she was abused as a child, so that explains her immoral lifestyle choices. I’ll pray for her.” Own the fact that you- just like everybody else- aren’t immune to internalizing misogynistic beliefs and patriarchal ideas about morality instead of undermining another woman’s agency.
      2.) The myth that a woman’s immodesty means she’s ‘a dehumanized sex object’ and has no self-respect is rape culture, not feminism. Self-respect and modesty have nothing to do with each other- a woman can have one withouth the other. Smart, progressive women (since you went there) usually know that. There are plenty of modest women who only dress that way because they’ve been taught to fear that they’re less than or inviting disrespect if they’re not sexually modest enough for other people.
      3.) Women deserve better than being slut-shamed and gaslighted by the same people who rail against evangelical christians, Islamic extremists, rape apoligist judges, and MRAs.
      4.)The reason why women are having lots of converstations about bodily autonomy, sexual agency, and rape culture is NOT because women think sex is all they have to offer (nice silencing tactic, though. ‘Shut up, sluts, and accept the natural order of things!’ would hve been more honest and a lot easier to type) because we still live in a misogynistic, ‘boys will be boys’ culture that ties a woman’s human worth, safety, self-respect, and respectability to her ‘not being a slut’. Hopefully as you progress in your feminism you’ll stop being a part of this problem.

      • Naddie says:

        Everything you said is true in a general, larger context. But I think kibbles really took a look at Ariel’s upbringing, and it’s almost impossible not to link one thing to another. Now, ask yourself, do you truly beileve that this particular individual is ok with herself in terms of looks?

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        I’m in line with Naddie’s reasoning. Context is everything. If Ariel Winter hadn’t been raised in that abusive environment, would her choices have been the same? Maybe some of the time, as experimentation appropriate to her age, but all of the time? With this much defensiveness?

      • Jeannie says:

        Otaku Fairy, you are awesome.

      • Otaku fairy says:

        @Naddie: She’s human so of course she’s had insecurities, which she’s been open about, but that doesn’t mean her immodesty is something she ‘needs help’ to get rid of.
        @W : She does it more often partially because she’s famous and in a line of work that involves drawing attention to herself. The defensiveness is because of the way people react when a famous woman presents or acts in a way that isn’t in line with respectability politics. People who have hang ups about women “dressing like sluts” (along with body-shamers) have basically handed her a chance to do this.

      • Naddie says:

        Hint: It’s not only and exclusively her “immodesty”. Anyway, I don’t know her more than you do, so it’s all ok, as long as we keep disagreeing respectfully like we’re doing.

      • Keri says:

        Otaku— women who say they are feminists, and then expect everyone to bow down to their own personal definitions and ideas about feminism and how society works— that’s the bigger problem.

      • HH says:

        I’m somewhere in the middle on this. I’m not necessarily disturbed by HOW she dresses, as much as I am about WHEN she chooses to dress that way; which is ALL.THE.TIME. There were photos of her going grocery shopping in shorts with her @$$ out…OUT. It was not cute. Booty and produce don’t go together. Now if that was the beach, a party, a hike, different story. Not an outfit I would wear, but necessarily out of place. Or another example (mentioned by another poster), a very sexual dress to a family event.

        Call me old school/indoctrinated, but I’m a steadfast supporter of dressing for the occasion. For me, it’s akin to the criticism I give Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. She’ll be wearing her wedges for an athletic event she’s supposed to participate in. Same goes for Melania’s sky high stilettos when visiting hurricane victims. Be functional and event appropriate (not necessarily body/skin appropriate, if that makes sense).

      • Sarah says:

        The term is “mastering your abuse”…and sadly, Ariel may just be doing that exact thing.

      • Plaid Tiffany says:

        Thank you Otaku Fairy, I’m glad someone said it. Unless you’re her therapist or confidante, none of you know why she dresses as she does. She’s said she does it because she likes it so let’s leave the bitchy, slut-shamey armchair psychoanalysis at the door, huh?

  4. Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

    1. What is she going to study?
    2. How come she only met Shanelle a few times before she was placed in her custody?

  5. Nicole says:

    I hope she continues therapy and self-discovery. She definitely deserves to learn who she is past the awful experiences. I remember when the story broke about the abuse and how the cast wrote letters and generally supported her in this time. To hear that they had to sneak her food and make sure she could get schooling is still so awful to think about. There’s a reason I’m always weary about child actors because parents without good heads and boundaries can allow this to go south so quickly.

  6. Mop top says:

    “It made me who I am today.”…and that’s what we’re worried about.

    • Lucytunes says:

      Why? She’s clearly come to terms with it; she has an incredibly strong support network; she has re established a relationship with her father; she went from under educated to getting into some of the top schools in the country; she’s in therapy and enjoys it…its important not to dictate our personal opinions on HOW she should survive what she has been through. So what she likes to show her body, she’s young and not supposed to have it all figured out anyway. She may change one day, she may not. If you read the full article, at least to me, she comes off sounding like she is in spectacular place in her life, healing and happy.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        Ariel Winter is definitely a good example of how quickly we turn on young women when they decide to reject respectability politics. People knew that she had an abusive mother before, but that wasn’t used to invalidate her agency as long as she, as a young woman, kept her choices with her body in line with what’s considered ‘being a good girl’ or ‘classy’ under patriarchy. When she was ‘The Good Girl’ , comments were about her being smart, a ‘good role model’, a breath of fresh air, better than Kylie Jenner, having a good head on her shoulders, and being assertive- even though it was coming from an attention-seeking celebrity, (all celebrities are attention-seekers) people approved of an attention-seeking ‘good girl’ taking an assertive, no-nonsense approach to misogyny at a time when far too many public figures do the opposite. She hasn’t really changed drastically since then- she hasn’t developled a track record for being a raging Hollywood asshole or trainwreck. Reports from people who have worked with her and been around her are positive, she’s described as professional and friendly, and there are no DUI’s, no arrests or Bieber-esque troublemaking, or anything pointing to her being a drug-addicted mess. But now that she’s become what the patriarchy calls a ‘slut’ through her immodesty in dress, the narrative around her has completely changed. Now some suddenly feel that she’s ‘the next Lindsay Lohan’, feel she’s a ‘bad role model’ (and worse), make problematic comments about how her choices with her body must be a sad, sad symptom of her being a sexually abused child who now has no boundaries, insist upon the ‘right’ of people to have their misogynistic reactions without them being criticized because ‘well, these women are putting themselves out there,’ and, of course, swear that her lack of modesty as a female = a lack of self-respect.

      • Ennie says:

        If she had not been abused and sexualized by her mother, I’d be ok with your arguments, Otaku, but victims of sexual abuse in childhood many times act in an over sexualized way later in life, a consequence of their upbringing. I don’t believe that is ok, I would not cal that healing, even if is not for us to judge her appearance, it doesn’t mean it is healthy due to what she went through, she is still trying to act as she was taught that was ok.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        Her history doesn’t automatically make her choice an unhealthy one either though. If this was a woman who was all about classiness and (western) modesty, would you and others here rush to label her decisions as an unhealthy symptom of sexual abuse? Or would you be more willing to give a ‘classy girl’ the benefit of the doubt because you see her choices as the ‘right’ choices?

    • Naddie says:

      But I think she became a good and decent person, despite all of our speculation around her not coping well with her past.

    • Wow says:

      I was raised by a drug addict mother and alcoholic father and they absolutely made me who I am today and I show them that respect. It doesn’t mean I agree with their choices but they 100% had a role in making me who I am. Even if it was teaching me who I didn’t want to be.

      You absolutely are a product your childhood, but once your an adult you make your own choices and do not get to blame your own choices on your shitty childhood.
      And I can say that as someone who lived through a shitty childhood to become a productive member of society

  7. Honey says:

    Her mom has no control of what Ariel wears now, so why is she still wearing these trashy clothes that her mom sexualized her in?

    • ANOTHER DAY says:

      Because her self esteem is still damaged. Her obsession with her body and her utter sexualization of it at all times screams to me that therapy isn’t really working through these issues.

      I agree with the headline. Abuse created this today…..I hope her future is different.

      • Cee says:

        it will take years of therapy for her to unpack and get rid of the damage she suffered during her childhood. Also, she’s young, she has a lot of growing up to do. This is the time for her to assert and find herself.

      • Ennie says:

        Her acting like that does not mean healthy to me. She is probably trying to find a middle ground between what she was taught, what she sees as role models (social media) and her regular peers. I think she still has a way to go.
        Sexual abuse can cause people to either close away, or act in unhealthy ways, black and white.
        From a health site:
        • Poorself-image
        • Poor peer relationships,limited social life,guarded in relationships
        • Home truancy – running away
        • Schoolproblemssuchaspoorgrades,failure,truancy,conflictwithauthority
        • Sexual provocativeness or promiscuity, prostitution
        • Delinquentbehavior–alcohol,drugabuse,stealing,lying,fighting
        • Feelingsofdepression,isolation
        • Pregnancy or early marriage
        • Suicidal thoughts or gestures
        • Recurrent physical complaints such as severe headaches, abdominal pain
        without medical findings
        • Selfmutilation
        • Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, obesity, sudden weight gain or loss
        • Rage reactions
        • Layering clothing, sleeping in clothing, discarding underwear

        She had help thankfully, so her acting provocatively seems to be her sole behavioral indicator of her childhood abuse. I don’t think her style or pics are suitable or a good model for younger girls, as neither are the K klan she looks up to.
        I wish her well and hope she has success in her higher education.

      • detritus says:

        I am deeply uncomfortable with the tone in this thread. Assuming a) everyone who is abused acts out in one or two ways, and b) that her showing her body is a symptom of her abuse, is dangerous and kind of gross tbh.

        By positioning her clothing as a result of her abuse you are taking away her agency and her choice.

        Not all women who dress this way were abused. Not all women who are abused dress like Ariel.

      • ANOTHER DAY says:

        @detritus YOur last paragraph is accurate, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true in her case. It is my opinion that This young woman has self esteem issues big time. Be uncomfortable with the the thread if you like, I’ll be uncomfortable with how such an incredibly smart and talented young woman continually seeks self esteem validation through nasty, tacky, highly inappropriate and sexualized clothing in practically every situation she encounters. DOing so isn’t empowerment and it doesn’t speak well to her mental health.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        @Another Day: Like you said, it is your opinion. You and others can be uncomfortable with the fact that people who live and present in ways you’ve been socialized to find nasty and inappropriate exist, and we can be uncomfortable with the conservative need some of you have to automatically dismiss such people as having low self-esteem and needing help, while we continue to hope that one day all ladies come to a place where they no longer conflate sexual modesty with self-worth, respectability, wellness, and a woman’s value. May the goddess be with you. :)
        (BTW, one person doesn’t get to decide what is and isn’t empowering for all other women. )

      • ANOTHER DAY says:

        Sorry still not buying it. defend her continuous sexualization at all times in inappropriate venues and ways as healthy …… it simply isn’t. Its just damn sad.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      It’s probably no different from adults who enjoy sex, dating, and marriage despite having been victimized as children-and even enjoy those things with people who share the same gender as whoever victimized them. There’s a difference between children being made to do something age-inappropriate with their bodies for the personal gain of adults with power over them and consenting adults enjoying something on their own.

      @Another Day: Perhaps Ariel Winter just isn’t that modest of a girl and that’s not something that needs curing. As a group women are very diverse in their own personal beliefs and preferences when it comes to their bodies, modesty, and sexuality.

      • Keri says:

        None of you are trauma experts, clearly. Otaku, step down from the podium and stop trying to lecture us all on something that you know nothing about. It’s dangerous. This girl has been through trauma and one can only hope that she gets help, because yes, it is clear that she needs it.

      • detritus says:

        Keri, does your comment say that no one is an expert and get all sassy, and then state someone you’ve never met needs therapy?

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        Keri, step down from your podium and stop trying to make excuses for oppression that you don’t want to be called out for perpetuating. It’s dangerous and makes you sound like you need to be sitting with the 53- percenters.
        This isn’t about ‘trauma experts’ (something I, unlike you and a few others, would never pretend to be). This is about calling out a toxic but all too common way that certain groups of people are gaslighted and stigmatized by those with conservative prejudices, oops, I mean beliefs- about how women and men are supposed to dress, fuck, date, and behave. You’re talking to someone who’s bisexual, a woman, and a feminist who has seen people who are a part of some of these same (and similarly marginalized) groups constantly get treated this way. Maybe your Straightsplaining , complicit, puritanical ‘That’s just how men behave/ shut up feminazis and SJWs/ Don’t be a slut/ both sides/ anyone whose choices I disagree with is just too damaged to know better’- ass should not be so quick to tell others to ‘stop lecturing’. How’s that for vitriol? All chances for respectful dialogue go out the window when you start telling people to shut the fuck up because you like the system ( violent patriarchy) just the way it is.

      • Keri says:

        Lol. Meltdown in 3….2….1….. and you call yourself educated?

  8. Chloeee says:

    Come on guys, she’s obviously trying to navigate how to reclaim her body. Her message is right but she’s so young she’s trying to figure out how to properly execute that. Yale and Princeton? Damn, Gina. You go. She seems sweet, she’ll be okay.

  9. Who ARE these people? says:

    It’s hard to hear that her abuser is getting her “respect.” Maybe she means she is polite or still takes advice in other domains, but anyone abusing a child does not deserve and cannot claim their respect.

    The loyalty issues take a long time to work out,

  10. Calla Lily says:

    She must be extremely intelligent and academically gifted if she got into all those schools. It’s pretty unheard of to be accepted to one Ivy League, much less two.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Jody Foster, Emma Watson, ? someone else I forget the name, also went to Ivy League, right? They are intelligent women but I think the name recognition may help just a bit? The schools are always looking for someone who can bring in donations later on. Given the high rate of ‘legacy’ admissions, criteria are not always academics-only.

      • Marion C says:

        Natalie Portman and Rashida Jones are Harvard grads; Brooke Shields, who was about as exploited as a child with dysfunctional parenting as they come, graduated Princeton.

      • Ennie says:

        Brooke had it hard, benign Pretty baby and other provocative films taken to Studio 54 when she was a child/young teen. It is a miracle she is such a level headed woman.
        Her mother seemed not to abuse her in the same was as Ariel’s did, tho. Brooke is funny to boot.

      • mayamae says:

        Brooke’s mother was an alcoholic. Her mom would sign her up for sexually exploitive projects, and then send under aged Brooke out to defend those choices. One of the ickier ones was full length nude pictures when she was pre-pubescent. Andre Agassi helped her to break free from her mother’s management, and the attempt to develop healthier boundaries.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Brooke Shields! That’s the name I could not remember. Brooke took care of her mother in old age but made clear it was not easy.

      • Ennie says:

        Oh Mayamae, poor Brooke! I did not know tje whole story. I remember resding she had her father somehow in her life, who knows if it helped her a bit ir not

      • ANOTHER DAY says:

        Thank you, Today’s Ivy League gladly admits celebrities for money, attention, etc. I’m not saying they are seeking Kardashian-Esque celebrity students, the celebrities have to be smart and contribute to the student population with intellectual or artistic gifts, but there are plenty of equally or smarter and gifted middle class kids that get passed over since they aren’t legacy, celebrity or otherwise helpful to a specific demographic the Ivy is mindful of.

  11. magnoliarose says:

    I genuinely support Ariel on her journey to college, and I am glad she is making the right choice. Knowledge is something no one can ever take away from you.
    But now I know what has always felt questionable about how she presents herself. Her wardrobe choices along with her sexualized childhood and shady boyfriend are a big red flag. It is the total picture not the individual parts on their own.
    Her boyfriend Levi is 30 years old and lives with her with no visible means or career, and she doesn’t seem to realize this is problematic. It is exploitation, and there are no circumstances that make this age difference acceptable. A grown man shouldn’t be sponging off a teenager nor should he be sleeping with her.
    I don’t believe she knows much about boundaries and what love is supposed to be and what is appropriate. Ariel confuses maturity with challenging life experiences and seems to think she knows far more about adulthood than she does.
    Her Emmy dress was a complete no, and she is in danger of becoming a caricature and a spectacle, and I don’t think she realizes this or how impossible it is to reverse that perception in her chosen career. Social acceptance is one thing, but the entertainment industry is another. Fair or not actors are brands and easily dismissed if the brand isn’t taken seriously.
    I root for Ariel and hope she ditches the grown ass man and moves forward successfully and powerfully.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      Lorde had an older boyfriend when she was 16- still a minor, unlike Ariel winter who’s almost 20- and neither that nor her choice to dress modestly were taken as signs that she was tainted, lacked boundaries, or needed self respect. Same for Nick Jonas, who dated a woman her late 20s when he was 18 and has no problems taking his clothes off. She knew as a teenager that she needed to get away from a toxic, abusive parent, so I’ m not sure she has no clue about boundaries. I get that age gaps are a controversial subject and everyone has a different opinion on them. I don’t bat an eyelash at an 18 or 19-year-old banging someone older until the older person can be their parent or grandparent, unless it started while they were underage.
      Her relationship with this guy most likely won’t last, and that’s fine. She has plenty of time to live, learn, love, break up, etc. The financial part is questionable, but plenty of people in Hollywood end up dating someone with someone who has less than them and lives with them.

      • Erinn says:

        “Lorde had an older boyfriend when she was 16- still a minor, unlike Ariel winter who’s almost 20″

        She was dating an 18 year old when she was 14, so it’s not really ‘unlike’ her. I remember one of the arguments the mom made during the court case was that she found her in bed with him. I just don’t understand what an 18 year old has in common with a 14 year old – that’s a huuuge gap in age/maturity when you’re that young.

        I’m not really bothered by the age difference with this guy, but I’m bothered by the fact that he doesn’t seem like he contributes. But whatever – they’re both adults, if they’re happy, hopefully she’s careful with her money.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I hear you, and it does bear some reflection.
        Ariel is a conundrum in some ways, but I don’t want anyone to think her clothing choices have anything to do with her character or worth because it doesn’t.
        She doesn’t need chastising or shame because as far as I am concerned, she can be a devoted nudist. Because she was hurt, it does make me pause, but it isn’t about a rubber dress.

        My thoughts are in context with my own experiences at her age. I was financially independent like Ariel but how we got there is entirely different. My opportunity came out of nowhere and fell into my lap. There was a lot of research and discussions before my parents allowed it and it came with several layers of protection and unconditional love. The only reason they let me try it was because my self-esteem was so low from extreme bullying, and they thought it would help my self-confidence but thought it would be a fun little thing to do and I could do it and go to college too. It didn’t work out that way; it was the other way around. I was never a source of income for anyone other than myself and had loads of support, and yet there were still opportunists and landmines I had to navigate on my own.

        What I saw far too often were teenage girls that didn’t think they were being exploited and seemed confident and able to handle themselves. Some were street smart, and I figured they were in charge. But I would encounter some of them years later, and it was a different story.

        Of course, Ariel is her own person, and none of this may matter, and I am by no means saying she is going to end up like that, but she is young and not invincible. Age differences don’t always matter, but sometimes they do, and in this case, the money and fame aspect is an added concern.

        So that is where I am coming from. Maybe I am projecting, and it is my issue, but I don’t want these choices to affect her future negatively. We get to grow without social media recording everything we do, but she doesn’t have that luxury.

      • jwoolman says:

        Erinn – the boyfriend in bed story seemed to be a fiction. Her mother pulled something like that concerning her older sister also. I don’t think we can trust her mother’s claims regardless.

      • EIlasor says:

        Otaku & Detritus — thank you for standing up to the rampant respectability politics in this thread. What I hate the most is how it masquerades as concern, like oh I’m just worried about Ariel.

        Wearing a revealing outfit to a kid’s event is a faux pas, not a moral crime or a sign of psychological disfunction.

        Wearing short shorts to the supermarket — I mean maybe in more conservative parts of the country that is a faux pas but I think where ariel lives it is normal.

    • Naddie says:

      Wait, does she support him financially? If so, I’m shocked.

  12. Cassie says:

    As an educator, I am concerned that her teacher reported this abuse “with her (Ariel’s) consent .” As mandated reporters, we are responsible and legally liable for reporting abuse. Please don’t get me wrong, I believe her tutor is a kind, caring person who saved her from an abusive upbringing. However, mandated reporters should not involve the victim in the decision making process if abuse is suspected, even if the child is older and more mature. After hearing so many on set horror stories of abuse (Dan Schneider of Nickolodean comes to mind) it is affirming to know there are people who are protecting children in this industry.

    • Pumpkin (formally soup, pie) says:

      I understand where you are coming from but I don’t think that getting her consent is necessarily problematic because 1. it established confidence (in the tutor), 2. unless she had her consent, her tutor’s actions could have backfired.

      • Cassie says:

        I guess I should have prefaced my comment with the fact that all people who work with minors are mandated reporters under the law. There is a liability that can be accompanied with jail time for not reporting. I respect the tutor for allowing her a voice, but from my professional perspective, the tutor needs to report to CPS regardless of the child’s opinion. Often times, children are torn between their dedication to the parent and their safety. As mandated reporters we are bound to protect their safety; physical, emotional, etc. I understand your perspective, but come to mine from the responsibilities I have as a mandated reporter. It’s a scary job to have. Trust me.

    • Wen says:

      I have a clinical background, and it is completely appropriate and recommended to have a teen involved or even a child present when reporting abuse. It empowers them. Don’t make reporting abuse a dirty secret. Everything should be out in the open and explained, nothing should be done behind a kids back.

      • Cassie says:

        Wow. Not making it a dirty secret. Just sharing the facts on mandated reporting.

      • Wen says:

        If you are going to share “facts”, lets get them right. Why is it a scary job to be a mandated reporter? It is this type of attitude that gives people the wrong idea about reporting abuse, and prevents people on following through on a report. Any kid will pick up on your fear, and what message is this sending them? Someone who has been abused is already living in fear. As adults and mandated reporters we have to role model appropriate boundaries and protocols, in a respectful and empowering way. Not out of fear.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        It can be a scary job because abusive people can come after the person who reports the abuse, and abusive people are abusive people because they can overlook boundaries and become physically and verbally violent.

        It is also a responsible job that requires sensitivity, of course.

        But to me, the fear would come from awareness that abusive parents/partners can turn their rage on the person who, in their eyes, “interferes.”

        There are far too few protections for victims and people who support and protect victims of abuse.

    • Cassie says:

      I guess I’m not allowed to have feelings regarding my job. I do it fearlessly, but have feelings all the time regarding the welfare of my students, including sadness, fear, etc. I care deeply about their welfare, and will keep my thoughts to myself on this forum.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Cassie, please don’t leave us. You sound like a caring, responsible teacher. Once in a while someone says something without thinking it through carefully, or without firsthand experience, but that doesn’t represent the community as a whole.

      • Wen says:

        You are only proving my point with these fears that you are magnifying. Telling a victim of abuse that things can get worse if they get reported is the Worst. Possible. Thing to convey to them. Abuse gets reported daily, and in the vast majority of cases there is not any revenge or retribution from the abuser. I’m not saying it can never happen, because if it does happen it gets seized on by the news and sensationalized. Which is what you are doing here. Stick to the facts. Stay calm. Stop the drama. Let someone know that they deserve to feel safe, and that people will help them.

      • Cassie says:

        Thank you, Who are these people? for listening. I know who I am, and I appreciate your nuanced viewpoint that doesn’t judge a person with whom you have no context.

  13. detritus says:

    I live downtown in a medium sized University town.
    What Ariel wears is what most late teens to early 20 somethings would wear if they had access and money. As is the current bar uniform is butt hanging out of high waisted shorts and a bralette. It seems to be a normal part of figuring out where and how you are comfortable showing and sharing your body in public.

    There’s an extra layer of shaming that comes with her age and shape. Pretty sure Jlo and Taylor Swift wears more revealing outfits, but their bodies are different and the criticism is much less.

    • Kitten says:

      Yeah I have to agree with you. All the college kids are back in town here in Boston and just from being around the city this weekend, I saw so many women club-hopping in similar outfits. It’s not the sexiness that’s “meh” to me, it’s just that I don’t think Ariel dresses in a flattering way AT ALL. FWIW, I saw plenty of college-aged women who were not exactly dressing for their body type either so again, it’s fairly common.

      But ultimately if Ariel feels great in her clothes then it’s none of my damn business. Hell, when I look back at some of the crap I wore in college I LOL so I’m sure in 20 years she’ll wonder WTF she was thinking.

    • Marion C says:

      No kidding; have you looked at what kids wear to prom? And agree, I was in Boston last week near BU and she pretty much dresses like your average college student in a hot climate.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Ha, I’m in Canada and the students are back in town and those short shorts? I don’t want to sit where they are sitting. Miss the days of both sexes wearing same-length shorts. The boys are wearing droopy drawers and the girls are wearing denim thongs. If we’re going to display, let’s be fair about it.

      • Kitten says:

        You’d like my guy then. He wears short swim trunks (not speedo-level but short) and I can’t get him to keep his shirt on when it’s hot out lol.

        And I don’t believe he’s ever faced any scrutiny for his skimpy attire. Nice being a guy sometimes huh? ;)

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      Agreed, and this isn’t just an issue with Ariel Winter, because this trope isn’t just used against Ariel Winter. This is about liberals and feminists appropriating a right-wing talking point that’s frequently used to stigmatize and silence women who reject victim-blaming, slut-shaming, or homophobia as ‘what’s right’. Dismissal of women whose personal lives, sexuality, and political choices fail to line up with those ‘values’ as “Too Raped/Damaged to Know Better” is a tool constantly used by misogynists and homophobes- oftentimes whether it’s someone who was sexually abused as a child or not.

      • Kitten says:

        Yeah and in response to your last sentence, I think it’s a very fine line between framing what might be genuine concern in a caring, helpful way and aggressive, judgmental concern-trolling.

        It also makes me cringe-y because I know that when a woman in the public eye opens up about a personal issue, it often exposes them to a new level of scrutiny and judgment. For instance, I see it with actresses who have been vocal about their struggles with an ED. It’s like suddenly everything they do is viewed within the context of their battle with food.
        Instead of seeing them as fully-formed human beings with complex motivations, we suddenly ascribe every one of their actions from the superficial to the meaningful as being a product of the “damage” caused by their ED.

  14. CharlieBouquet says:

    I actually think she is enjoying dressing sexy by choice rather than being forced into it as her mother did. Yes it has meant some unfortunate choices, hope she grows out of it, but it really isn’t different than many girls her age.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      If only she weren’t so consistent about it … it doesn’t seem like age-appropriate experimentation when it’s nonstop and she continues to talk about it defensively. It’s possible she would find it terrifying to dress any other way because this is what brought her her mother’s approval for so many years. It’s hard to re-develop a different sense of self overnight; this was her only “who am I?” for many formative years.

  15. ash says:

    all she needs is an extra spray of fker orange tanwith the demarcation line near the hands or hairline, some ass injects and a superstar black boyfriend to ruin and she’s on her way to being a kardashian jenner….. shes literally running in the race !!! LLS

    • jwoolman says:

      The Jenner girls, especially Kylie, have a whole different set of problems. If only Kylie’s problem was just wearing clothes that don’t cover much.

      Kylie is undereducated with dead eyes and surgically altered plastic body and doesn’t seem to have any real skills, and keeps saying that she wants to quit the limelight and have a quiet life somewhere.

      Ariel is alive behind the eyes, has been properly educated and is starting at the university, wants to learn, is looking forward to the rest of her life, and has at least one demonstrable skill as an actor. Plus she doesn’t seem plastic.

      I’m really not worried about Ariel.

  16. Marion C says:

    As someone else posted earlier, have any of you been around a college campus lately? Especially one in a warm climate? Most of what you see her out and about in is typical. And for her event attire, have any of you seen what kids wear to prom these days, and these are sometimes 14-15 year olds? Again, fairly typical.

  17. slowsnow says:

    I get defending her right to be sexy and a bit on the over-exposed side. She’s young, she has a fabulous body! The only vibe I got from her before is that she only talks about her body, the problems people seem to have with it etc. A bit one-dimensionnal and not very interesting. It’s hard not to think of her as the friend who only talks about that one thing and/or to think of her past abuse. It’s there. Hard to ignore it.

    But whether she’s learning how to be sexy for her own sake because of the abuse or she really likes the Kardashian style – which is a thing for a lot of people her age -, she’s hardly offending anyone and she is exploring her possibilities.

    As long as she buys fake lashes that fit from hereon, I’ll have no qualms with the way she dresses ;-)

  18. A says:

    There are some of her outfits where I think she would look better if she tweaked them a bit, but I will say that I enjoyed wearing a sexy outfit when I was younger (and still do, but my taste has changed a bit). I don’t think it’s an issue, though agree that some of her outfits are more suited for the club than a day time event. On another note, I chose outfits based on what I liked and what I thought looked good on me, not to rebel or to get male attention.

  19. A says:

    Knowing her background is what made me iffy about judging her clothing choices to begin with. It’s not like she’s doing it out of some particularly spoiled, entitled need for attention. It’s likely a result of her abuse. The part about how her mom would over-sexualize her with clothing was especially telling. I would not be surprised if, even with the whole “I choose to dress this way,” line of thought, there’s an element to it that stems from her mother’s abuse of her.

    I think all young feminists eventually fall into a pit where they define their feminism by individual choices as opposed to the big picture. I did it, I’m sure many others did it, and I’m sure many other adult women continue to do that. She seems like a smart enough young person that I think she’ll figure it out eventually. I won’t fault her for trying to stay visible in an industry that banks on attention and visibility. Like yeah, it’s not good, and I do think a lot of her attention-seeking behaviour & the dressing that comes with that is faulty at best, but she comes off like she’s committed to learning, which can make a huge difference. I’m so glad she didn’t defer her acceptance to college. I think she’ll do great there!

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Thanks for this balanced assessment. Her defensiveness in the context of the history and nature of abuse just makes me wonder. This is the only path she’s ever known. It will take time for her to be more free, and then maybe she will enjoy a greater variety in her wardrobe.

  20. What's that says:

    “Booty and produce don’t go together” for the win.

  21. ValiantlyVarnished says:

    This is really sad. Because it’s clear that she’s still not self-aware enough to realize that she has internalized what her mother did – forcing her to wear revealing clothing- and is now doing it to herself. She can of course wear whatever she likes, but knowing her history it makes me question her motivations for doing so

  22. jwoolman says:

    She’s still pretty young and seems sensible enough on the important matters. The odds are that this is a relatively harmless stage she is going through as she tries to sort out the changes in her as she is heading toward full adulthood. She may find another way of dressing suits her better as she settles into herself. Or not. It often takes until the mid-twenties before we really shake off the attitudes around us as children and adolescents, and are completely comfortable with our own choices.

    So even though I think her clothing choices are kind of weird, she isn’t hurting anybody and if you can’t be weird at her age – when can you be?!?