In the world of Netflix’s hit series, Stranger Things, the character Eleven, portrayed by Millie Bobby Brown, has captured the hearts of fans worldwide. Her journey from being a test subject at Hawkins National Laboratory to forming close bonds with the group known as “the Party” – Dustin, Lucas, and Mike – has endeared her to viewers. One iconic aspect of Eleven is her tattoo, the number “011” inked on her wrist, symbolizing her status as the eleventh child test subject in Dr. Martin Brenner’s experiments, where she developed remarkable psychokinetic and telepathic abilities.
However, the seemingly innocuous act of fans getting “011” tattoos has sparked controversy. While these tattoos may have initially appeared as a mark of love for the character and the show, they inadvertently touch on a sensitive issue. Eleven’s tattoo serves as a poignant reminder of dehumanization, drawing a parallel with the Holocaust. During that horrific chapter in history, Jewish prisoners were assigned tattooed numbers to dehumanize and strip them of their identity in Nazi concentration camps.
This controversy isn’t the first time fandoms have regretted tattoos, as seen with Game of Thrones fans and Daenerys Targaryen tattoos. Yet, the Eleven tattoo issue carries more weight, as it unintentionally references the atrocities of the Holocaust. Regardless of fans’ good intentions, it is deeply insensitive.
Stranger Things’ Nazi-related controversies don’t end with the tattoos. Season 4’s Russian prison scenes were filmed at a former Nazi prison in Lithuania. The prison’s grim history was overshadowed by its transformation into a Stranger Things-themed Airbnb, raising questions about the ethics of using such sites for entertainment.
Despite these controversies, fans can still celebrate Stranger Things in more sensitive ways. Instead of the problematic “011” tattoo, they can opt for Eddie Munson’s tattoos, which directly reference the show and promote individuality. Ultimately, the best way to show love for Stranger Things is to watch the upcoming fifth and final season, enjoying the story without inadvertently causing harm or offense.