“Because I turned 18, it was legal”: Emma Watson Was Left Traumatized By Paparazzi After They Tried to Click Photos Up Her Skirt By Laying on the Pavement When the Harry Potter Star Turned 18

Harry Potter star, Emma Watson has remained in the public eye for most of her life — growing up alongside her co-stars and under the gaze of the global population. The child actor soon grew up to become one of the loudest voices that campaigned for gender equality. The path from the sets of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to where she stands now has not been marked by unmarred inspiration, rather using her publicly recognized platform became somewhat of a necessity after the unrelenting objectification faced by the actress since her earliest formative years.

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Emma Watson Recalls Her Horrifying 18th Birthday

The star pupil of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who went on to live her life and all its boundless potential the moment she stepped out of the sets of the Harry Potter films was unaware of the limits the paparazzi would go to for one picture. Emma Watson, in her teenage years, then became more aware of the unwarranted aspects that came along with her cinematic fame.

On the night of her 18th birthday, the social predators who haunt celebrities for “candid” pictures lay down on the pavement outside the place she was supposedly hosting her party to click pictures up her skirt — a practice that a rare handful of paparazzi today consider inhumane and crossing the line. In 2016, at a HeForShe launch event, Emma Watson recalls that particular evening, saying,
“I mean, I was obviously a child actress who is still making a transition, and I remember on my 18th birthday, I came out of my 18th birthday party and photographers lay down on the pavement and took photographs up my skirt, which were then published on the front of the English tabloids the next morning. If they published the photographs 24 hours earlier they would have been illegal but, because I turned 18, they were legal.”

Emma Watson at the 2016 HeForShe event launchEmma Watson at a 2016 HeForShe event launch

Emma Watson later started becoming more vocal about feminist ideals, representation of gender equality, and equal pay. In recent years, she became the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and an advocate for the HeForShe Campaign that fights for gender equality. In 2020, Watson also featured prominently in the news for becoming one of the first Harry Potter actors who called out author J.K. Rowling on her anti-trans comments.

Emma Watson’s Activism Is Rooted in Her Objectification

When Emma Watson tweeted, “Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are,” it voiced the frustration and anger held by generations of people whose identities were subjected to binaries, or refuted, or erased. However, the Harry Potter actor had to tread through a lot of her personal strife before emerging with a voice loud enough to call out in defense of other factions of the global demography.

Emma Watson at the 2022 BAFTAsEmma Watson at the 2022 BAFTAs

At an event launch of the HeForShe campaign, Emma Watson had given a searing speech in 2014 as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in New York where she claimed, “I’m a feminist because I’ve known sexism since I was eight years old.” The deep-rooted toxicity of society then becomes manifold in its need to be checked, as was advocated by the young actress multiple times before being shut down, and she later claimed, “I think a lot of people close to me knew gender equality was an issue, but they didn’t really think it was that urgent.”

Watson’s career then also becomes a significant case study of how the young actor’s philosophy and strong ideals have shaped a career brilliantly marked by roles in films like The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), Beauty and the Beast (2017), and Little Women (2019).

Her last appearance was in the HBO Max reunion documentary, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts.

Source: HeForShe Arts Week

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