Riverdale star Cole Sprouse shared some thoughts on his experiences with Disney. Cole Sprouse starred in the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody with his brother Dylan Sprouse from 2005 to 2008 and The Suite Life on Deck from 2008 to 2011. He said that he and his brother had different experiences compared to the female Disney Channel stars. Sprouse commented saying:
“The young women on the channel we were on [Disney Channel] were so heavily sexualized from such an earlier age than my brother and I that there’s absolutely no way that we could compare our experiences. And every single person going through that trauma has a unique experience.”
Sprouse acknowledges that sexualized female Disney Channel stars allowed him to see how fame can cause trauma. He and his brother had even felt burned out by 18 because they worked so much.
The Trauma of Sexualized Female Disney Channel Stars
Cole Sprouse’s words should come as no surprise to anyone. Disney and their grown-up stars have made no secret that the network had a heavy hand in their images from a young age. Sprouse worked so hard as a child actor that he considered quitting acting. He promised his manager he would give television auditions one more shot, which landed him his Riverdale role. How female Disney Stars were sexualized made Sprouse see how child fame can be traumatic. Sprouse luckily avoided the child hypersexualization that many female stars in and outside of Disney experienced. The actor further commented saying:
“So I’m violently defensive against people who mock some of the young women who were on the channel when I was younger because I don’t feel like it adequately comprehends the humanity of that experience and what it takes to recover.”
Cole Sprouse also said fans shouldn’t hold their breath that he’d ever do a Suite Life of Zack & Cody reboot. There definitely should be more conversations and tangible changes on how children are sexualized as child actors. For now, Sprouse has brought some attention to the subject.