Explaining the controversy surrounding Eleven’s tattoo on ‘Stranger Things’
(Credit: Netflix)

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Explaining the controversy surrounding Eleven's tattoo on 'Stranger Things'

Since its inception in 2016, the Duffer brothers’ mystery sci-fi drama Stranger Things became a global pop-cultural sensation. Given its widespread popularity, the show has inspired various Halloween costumes and disguises.

However, a certain aspect of Eleven’s character is considered inappropriate and has generated quite the controversy. When Eleven is first introduced on the show, she sported a tattoo on the inside of her wrist which read “011”. Ever since, she has been known as Eleven.

Played by Millie Bobby Brown, it is later revealed that Eleven was a test subject at the Hawkins Laboratory where Dr Brenner conducted dubious experiments on his test subjects.

Known for her telekinetic powers, Eleven referred to Brenner as “Papa”. Papa essentially wanted to gain control over their bodies and agencies and stripped the of their identities by giving them different numbered tattoos and addressing them as numbers.

While many Stranger Things fans have got “number tattoos” inspired by Eleven, there has been a general controversy that advises people against doing this as it has a deep-rooted connection to Holocaust.

During the Holocaust, prisoners in the concentration camps in Auschwitz were forced to get similar tattoos on their arms. According to the Auschwitz/Birkenau Museum, “the prisoner numbers have become a synonym of dehumanization that struck the deportees of the concentration camp. These numbers were to serve efficient ‘management’ of camps.”

While the tattoo might make sense in the context of the show, it is extremely inappropriate to get such tattoos in real life, according to several people on the Internet.

Netflix has recently filmed Hopper’s imprisonment in a Russian camp in the Lithuanian prison, Lukiskes Prison, which has led to a severe backlash against the streamer. The prison was notorious during the Second World War since the Nazis used it to murder innumerable Jews, Rroma and political prisoners during the harrowing Ponary Massacre in 1941.

Additionally, Netflix has collaborated with Airbnb to use it as a hotel and provide an immersive Stranger Things experience, leading to further criticism.

Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, David Harbour, Winona Ryder, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Sadie Sink, Matthew Modine and Jamie Campbell Bower among others, the first volume of Stranger Things season four is streaming on Netflix.

The streamer will release the second volume on July 1st, 2022.