Alyss Bowen | Social Media Editor | Friday, 11 March 2016

What Happened To Emma Watson On Her 18th Birthday Shouldn\'t Be Taken Lightly

What Happened To Emma Watson On Her 18th Birthday Shouldn't Be Taken Lightly

The Debrief: Emma Watson got the complete opposite of what she asked for

Most of us spend out 18th rejoicing at the fact we no longer have to borrow our friend’s older sister's driving license to get into the local Liquid with our mates. Emma Watson however, spent it being harassed by photographers as she left her own birthday party. Ready and waiting on the pavement for her to come outside so they could get a cheeky pap shot up her skirt.

Emma shared this story during a speech she made at the launch of HeForShe Arts Week in New York, stating: 'If they had published the photographs 24 hours earlier they would have been illegal, but because I had just turned 18 they were legal.' Not only did they disrespect her new found adult status and violate her personally, they did it all for an easy front-page tabloid win. Disgusting, right? 

Everyday sexism is such a huge thing that most of us probably don’t even see it as exactly that, sexism. Picture all those times you’ve gone to a club with your girls, only to have to move away from men who just won’t give up trying it on with you, batting away those trying to grope your arse or hands placed on your waist. That’s not okay and so many of us let it go in silence, accepting it for drunken or innappropriate behaviour that we should be used to. 

She goes on to say: 'I’ve had my arse slapped as I’ve left a room. I’ve felt scared walking home. I’ve had people following me. I don’t talk about these experiencing much, because coming from me they’ll sound like a huge deal and I don’t want this to be about me, but most women have experienced it and worse. It’s so much more pervasive than we acknowledge. It shouldn’t be an acceptable fact of life that women should be afraid.' 

Emma’s transition to womanhood was treated so differently to her male co-stars by the tabloid press, and it’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. All she’s asking for is for men, as well and women to stand up for gender equality, to help those people in awkward situations, like Emma’s, or conflicts even if you feel it’s not your place and would rather look the other way. As Emma puts it: 'Empowering people to know and to think it’s their role when they see something that isn’t right to say something about it…that’s how we define being an active bystander.' 

So next time you see something that doesn’t look right on a night out, or when you’re walking down the street – be it man or woman, say something and stand up. Then maybe go read a book, like Em. 

Like this? You might also like…

It Took Emma Watson For Malala To Identify As Feminist 

Emma Watson Is Taking A Year Out From Acting To Pursue Activism And Read A Book 

Is The Internet Intrinsically Sexist? 

Follow Alyss on Twitter @alyssbowen 

Tags: Emma Watson