"The more we empower each other, the better we can feel about ourselves because one size doesn't fit all."
Soleil Moon Frye was only 16 when she underwent a breast reduction, a move she looks back at in detail in her new Hulu documentary "Kid '90" as she describes the public scrutiny on her developing body.
The documentary comes at a time when the media and fans alike are finally reassessing the way they look at, judge and talk about young women, following the release of "Framing Britney Spears" and renewed talk about the press both she and Paris Hilton endured in their 20s. It's a tide change Frye is thrilled to see happen.
"I think it's the responsibility within our homes and within the media to really try to set in the right direction what has been wrong for so long," she told TooFab.
"I think the more we share our stories, the more journalists that talk about this, the more documentaries that are made, the more we can encourage each other to not feel so alone and that this is part of the natural process," she continued. "Just because one kid that is developed differently wears a tank top, that another kid that is more developed wears it, doesn't mean that we have the right to sexualize them or make them feel like they're shamed in some way."
In the documentary, Frye recalls being dubbed "Punky Boobster" when she started to develop as a teenager. "Everywhere I go, people are like, 'You're so grown up, which is another way of saying your tits are so big," she explained, adding that she was almost an E cup. "The roles I was getting offered at 13, 14 years old are tits and ass roles and I'm 13. I went from this amazing childhood to almost being forced into adulthood."
In an audio recording, she's also heard saying, "I just want people to see me for the person I am inside. And these last couple weeks have been weird. You know, with seeing older people and having guys pinch my ass. It's a difference from when I was little."
She eventually got a breast reduction ... with one of the female doctors actually asking, on camera, for an autograph before she went under the knife.
As someone who was scrutinized and sexualized at a young age, we asked what's something she knows now that she wishes she knew back then.
"I would just hug the little girl in me and say that, 'It's going to be okay and you're loved and every step that you go through is going to lead you to the woman that you're going to become,'" she said. "And I would also thank the teen me for leaving this blueprint for me to come home to, because I learned so much about myself through that teen girl."
"I think it's such an important moment in time for us to have these deeper conversations. I love Punky Brewster, I will be Punky forever and I'm proud of it and it's really the world in which we live in that seemed to try to fit me into a box," she continued. "Puberty can be such an awkward experience, and yet the more we empower each other, the better we can feel about ourselves because one size doesn't fit all. And everyone develops differently and uniquely. And goes through those stages in their own way."
"We live in a world of filters and a world in which social media is at our fingertips," Frye concluded, "and it's so important to have these dialogues both at home and in the media of how we are making each other feel about that."