Speaking out at the Women’s March in Los Angeles this weekend, the Oscar winner brings the issues of Times Up and #MeToo to the forefront
Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman told the crowd at Saturday’s Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles that she experienced what she calls “sexual terrorism” as a 13-year-old after the release of the film, The Professional.
Portman described her pride and excitement in releasing the film, only to encounter sexually explicit messages both directed toward her and made about her.
”I excitedly opened my first fan mail to read a rape fantasy that a man had written me,” she recalled. “A countdown was started on my local radio show to my 18th birthday, euphemistically the date that I would be legal to sleep with. Movie reviewers talked about my budding breasts in reviews.”
The experience, she said, changed the way she expressed herself publicly, in order to limit the ways she could be objectified by others.
”I understood very quickly, even as a 13-year-old, that if I were to express myself sexually, I would feel unsafe,” she said. “And that men would feel entitled to discuss and objectify my body to my great discomfort. So I quickly adjusted my behavior. I rejected any role that even had a kissing scene and talked about that choice deliberately in interviews. I emphasized how bookish I was and how serious I was. And I cultivated an elegant way of dressing. I built a reputation for basically being prudish, conservative, nerdy, serious, in an attempt to feel that my body was safe and that my voice would be listened to.”