Natalie Morales was walking the red carpet for the premiere of what is set to be one of the movies of the year, a movie in which she is among the star-studded cast. While posing for the cameras, the Battle of the Sexes actress adjusted the skirt of her floor-length gown.
A camera was already trained on the thigh-high split, waiting.
After the up-skirt shot was published online, the 32-year-old used social media to expose the “horrifying” tactics of the photographers who had exposed her, to fight back against the culture that turns images like these into a commodity.
How Paparazzi photos actually work. (Post continues below.)
“I am not going to let that photographer or the people that buy their pictures continue to believe that it’s OK. It’s not OK. This photographer, not unlike the ones that wait outside of the cars female celebrities are getting out of just to purposely take pictures up their skirts, angled their camera to see up the split of my dress,” she wrote on Twitter.
“Even if they wanted to claim that this was an accidental shot, they could have done what they would have done had they taken an accidental shot of their daughter’s, mother’s or sister’s vagina: deleted it.”
While it’s undoubtedly a phenomenon that occurs to famous women, Morales insists its symptomatic of a much broader problem.
"This is a problem with how we tear down woman and reduce them to the sum of body parts, to be at once both sexualised and shamed," she wrote.
"Sure it's more visible because I happened to be doing my job on a red carpet, for a publicised event; but this happens every day to women all over the world."
The actress added that, despite what the captions suggested, she was wearing underwear, but would not have been embarrassed had she not.
"It's a vagina. We all came out of one. It's nothing to be ashamed of. But it doesn't belong to you. It belongs to me. And you can't have it unless I say you can."
Fellow actress Emma Watson previously spoke of being subjected to similar predatory behaviour at the hand of paparazzi photographers.
At a 2016 press conference relating to her United Nations HeForShe female empowerment initiative, the British woman recalled how she'd been treated differently to her male co-stars.
"I remember on my 18th birthday I came out of my 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 [newspapers] the next morning," the now 27-year-old said.
"If they had published the photographs 24 hours earlier they would have been illegal, but because I had just turned 18 they were legal.
"I think that’s just one example of how my transition to womanhood was dealt very differently by the tabloid press than it was for my male colleagues.
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