Natalie Portman Details ‘Environment of Sexual Terrorism’ In Women’s March Speech
Portman shares her heartbreaking experience of trauma since the age of 13 at Women’s March LA.
Portman described the sexist and misogynistic world that she has had to work in since she was a child actress and the sexual harassment she experienced at the age of 13 when her first film, 1994’s Léon: The Professional was released.
Portman’s first-ever fan mail, she explained, was a rape fantasy written by a man. She went on to describe that when she was younger, that her local radio show actually created a countdown to her 18th birthday, “euphemistically,” she declared, “the date that I would be legal to sleep with.” She further explained that movie reviewers also would mention her “budding breasts” in film reviews.
“I understood very quickly, even as a 13-year-old, that if I were to express myself sexually I would feel unsafe and that men would feel entitled to discuss and objectify my body to my great discomfort,” she said.
Portman said she rejected roles with a “kissing scene” and developed a reputation as “prudish, conservative, nerdy, serious, in an attempt to feel like my body was safe and my voice would be listened to.”“I felt the need to cover my body and to inhibit my expression and my work in order to send my own message to the world that I’m someone worth of safety and respect,” she added. “The response to my expression, from small comments about my body to more threatening deliberate statements, served to control my behavior through an environment of sexual terrorism.”
Portman is a supporter of the Time’s Up initiative and she was also outspoken at the 2018 Golden Globes as a presenter, when she said, “and here are the all-male nominees,”