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Emma Watson describes how photographers “laid down on the pavement” for up-skirt shots on her 18th birthday

emma watson heforshe gender equality speech forest whitaker arts week.jpg

Gender discrimination comes in many forms, and Emma Watson has revealed how her celebrity meant sexism manifested itself in typically grotesque fashion the day she turned 18 – describing how photographers declared it open season on ‘up-skirt’ pictures.

During a joint interview (which you can watch in full below) with fellow actor Forest Whitaker in New York to launch HeForShe Arts Week, promoting gender equality in the arts, Watson was asked about her personal experiences of discrimination in the industry.

“The biggest area of contrast for me has actually not been in the arts itself, but within probably the entertainment media and tabloids,” the Harry Potter star explained.

“I remember on my 18th birthday, I came out of my 18th birthday party and photographers laid 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 had turned 18 they were legal.

“And obviously Dan [Radcliffe] and Rupert [Grint], who were my male co-stars, don’t wear skirts, but I think that's just one example of how my transition into womanhood was dealt [with] very differently by the tabloid press than it was for my male counterparts.”

emma watson un women heforshe gender inequality campaign forest whitaker arts week

Watson with Whitaker at the HeForShe Arts Week event in New York this week

Following her decision to take time out from acting to focus on her role as a goodwill ambassador for UN Women, Watson, 25, is continuing to promote gender equality campaign HeForShe, her 2014 speech for which went viral.

In a recent interview for Esquire magazine, she again discussed some of her personal experience of inequality, describing situations that too many women find familiar, fame or no fame.

“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 experiences 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 I know 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.”

Watch the HeForShe interview with Whitaker below.

Images: Rex Features / YouTube

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