Why Natalie Portman is encouraging women to mess up

Natalie Portman wants women to know it’s OK to be human.

In a speech at Elle magazine’s annual Women in Hollywood event on Tuesday, the Oscar-winning actress encouraged women in the room to make mistakes — and feel good about that.

While discussing her character in her new film, “Lucy in the Sky,” Portman said the experience of starring in the film “made me yearn for a woman’s right to f— up — to f— up and not be interminably punished for it.”

Explaining that screw-ups are the only way to grow as a person, she encouraged those in the room to “f— up and thrive” as a way of setting an example for future generations.

“We tell our kids that making mistakes is the only way we learn, and we know that the biggest moments of our growth come out of our worst blunders,” she said. “If we have to play it safe to avoid mistakes, to avoid the severity of consequences for women who make mistakes, we can never be all that we potentially could be.”

Portman, 38, has been always outspoken about women’s rights, especially in the era of Me Too. A founder of the Time’s Up initiative, she famously introduced the “all-male nominees” for best director at the 2018 Golden Globes, and a few months later, called on women to band together, fight for equal pay and diversify their social and professional circles.

In her speech Tuesday, she reiterated the importance of female solidarity, particularly in the entertainment industry.

“Of course here, everyone is super talented and smart but also easy to be around. Because if you are a woman and you’re a pain in the a–, you will not get another job. And meanwhile, how will we know if we’ve reached equality?” she said. “Is it going to be when this room is a room of successful women and it’s full of a–holes? Is it going to be when our movies tank and then we get a raise the next time? Is it going to be when we commit a series of crimes and get elected anyway?”

“I hope not. I hope, more optimistically, that equality goes in the direction of men being held to the same standards that women are held to,” she continued. “That alongside talent, kindness, respect, and being easy to work with are valued as essential characteristics to getting hired. And that truly bad behavior prevents you from getting another job. And that when the offense is forgivable, when the post-mistake learning is real, people of all genders get the second chance that men currently do.”

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