“I quickly adjusted my behavior, Portman said. “I rejected any role that even had a kissing scene and talked about the 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.”
“At 13 years old, the message from our culture was clear to me. 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 worthy of safety and respect. 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 then went on to share her vision of what the world could (and should) become as we continue to make progress.
“A world in which I could wear whatever I want, say whatever I want, and express my desire however I want, without fearing for my physical safety or reputation — that would be the world in which female desire and sexuality could have its greatest expression and fulfillment,” Portman said as the crowd cheered. “That world we want to build is the opposite of Puritanical.”
Portman urged women everywhere to speak up and declare exactly what they want, rather than continuing to be oppressed by the people who insist on objectifying and sexualizing them whenever they express themselves.
“Let’s declare loud and clear: This is what I want. This is what I need. This is what I desire. This is how you can help me achieve pleasure.”
You can see Portman's full speech here:
As we continue to resist, and march, and share our own experiences with the people who are listening, let’s not lose sight of the world we’re trying to create; a world in which everyone can express exactly how they’re feeling and be empowered rather than shamed.
Happy resisting, everybody!