Natalie Portman, the acclaimed American-Israeli actor, gave a speech at the Los Angeles Women's March on Saturday in which she described the "sexual terrorism" she experienced as a young star at the age of thirteen, and called for "a revolution of desire".
Portman spoke about how, with the release of her first film "Leon: The Professional" when she was thirteen years old, she eagerly anticipated the audience's reaction and rushed to open her first piece of fan mail. To her dismay, she opened it and found a letter from a man detailing his "rape fantasy" about her.
"The current system inhibits women from expressing our desires, wants and needs. From seeking our pleasure," Portman stated.
"At 13 years old, the message from our culture was clear to me," she continued, referring to the incident and to critics who commented on her "budding breasts" as an adolescent. "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."
According to Portman, people who criticize the Women's March and associated movements and deem them "puritanical" are unaware that the current sexual dynamic subjects women to far more limitations than they realize.
"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. That world is the opposite of puritanical," she declared.
Portman concluded with the following message: "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."
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