The actress posted an impassioned speech on Instagram after seeing an article in the Daily Mail that said she was 11 years older than her actual age of 44.
“While, yes, it can be funny to read untrue things about yourself, I’ve been aware for years (with this newspaper but by no means confined to it) of how the glee in shaming women, often with lies like this, is so much darker and further reaching than enjoying a little schadenfreude,” Beckinsale writes.
“The tactic to create cultural shame for things that are truly beyond our control, for example: GAINING WEIGHT WHEN PREGNANT, HAVING SHORT LEGS OR BIG ANKLES, OR LOWER BOOBS THAN A BARBIE, AGEING, HAVING BIG EARS/LONG TOES, BEING MENOPAUSAL, is an archaic but pretty clever trick.”
Beckinsale, who recently accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, says the body shaming culture is especially evident in Hollywood, from the obsession with pregnancy and post-baby bodies, to the nude photo hacking in 2014.
“It’s mostly hitting females when they are objectively at their most powerful,” she says. “[When they’re] creating life, growing into themselves emotionally and intellectually, and the knee jerk rush to bully her body in pregnancy and afterwards, her age, her cellulite, hacking a phone for private photos and mocking her vagina, trickles down from the one shamed woman and leaks into our whole culture.”
RELATED VIDEO: Director Michael Bay Responds to Claims He Body Shamed Kate Beckinsale
In 2016, Beckinsale said that her Pearl Harbor director Michael Bay repeatedly criticized her appearance during the press tour for the movie when he was asked why she was cast for the role.
“He’d say, ‘Kate wasn’t so attractive that she would alienate the female audience,’ ” Beckinsale said, adding that he pushed her to lose weight for her role as a 1940s nurse, though she didn’t think it fit the character. Bay later said that Beckinsale misunderstood him.
“I guess I was the ‘bad guy’ 16 years ago for suggesting a trainer because she just had her new beautiful baby girl – and she was about to enter into an intensive action movie. Note to reporters: 95 percent of leads in movies have trainers and drink green juice!” he said.
Beckinsale wants women to realize that the female-bashing culture is born out of men’s fear.
“I urge us all, as females, to see it for what it is. Fear of YOU. Fear of the magical mystery shit a woman can do with her magical body. Fear of what she can withhold or bestow,” Beckinsale says. “It’s the same impulse to reduce the power of a pretty girl who wouldn’t date you in school by becoming a big boss and getting your penis out at a meeting it made you feel powerful to set … It’s fear. Don’t let it in. Let’s see it as fear and try to mend it together, rationally and peacefully.”
Beckingsale ended her statement with a joke about her new-found magical powers.
“I turned eleven years older over Thanksgiving,” she said, in reference to the Daily Mail article. “You should listen to me. I’m a straight up wizard.”