It’s sadly not surprising that Keira Knightley got harassed on the street, as she was giving an interview about the harassment women endure
In her new interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK, Keira Knightley talks about a lot of things, from her upbringing, to the pandemic, to dressing up and wearing makeup and how it sometimes makes her feel like a different person (#relatable, tbh). But no moment in the entire, longform interview is so striking as when Knightley is talking to reporter Lydia Slater about the rampant and inescapable harassment women face in the world — and is approached and harassed by a man at that very moment.
The interview took place outside. Knightley and Slater were walking in North London and chatting about all the far-reaching subjects that might come up in a profile piece like this one. They were talking about feminism — how Knightley was very sporty growing up, but no one ever told her that a career as a soccer player could be an option for her like it was for the boys she grew up with. But it took a little longer for her to start to use her voice to push back against all the misogyny she saw in her life, she said.
“It was when women started listing all the precautions they take when they walk home to make sure they’re safe, and I thought, I do every single one of them, and I don’t even think about it,” Knightley explains. “It’s fucking depressing.”
That’s when it happens.
“With immaculate timing, a lone male stranger wanders down the street towards us and starts shouting at her,” Slater writes. “‘Do you go to this school? You look very young!’ ‘Thank you,’ she says politely, as we hastily depart to find sanctuary in a nearby garden square; he follows us there a few minutes later.”
It’s mentioned so off-handedly. And no wonder — to any woman reading this article, this moment is just one of the hundreds we experience every year; the thousands we’ve experienced throughout our lives.
“I think it’s quite interesting talking about this while being chased around,” Knightley says in the interview, adding, when asked if she’s been harassed herself, “Yes! I mean, everybody has. Literally, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been, in some way, whether it’s being flashed at, or groped, or some guy saying they’re going to slit your throat, or punching you in the face, or whatever it is, everybody has.”
And that’s the sad truth. Of course Knightley has been harassed. She was being harassed as she was being asked that question. And it hardly even stands out from the page, because it’s something so many women are just so used to. Like Knightley said, every woman has been harassed in some way. It’s almost so ingrained that we don’t think of it as something we can (and should) change. But for the sake of the next generation of girls and women, we have to.