Rumer Willis is opening up about getting shamed for her looks when she was young — and how this led her to believe that others were entitled to her body.
In Tuesday’s episode of “Red Table Talk,” the 32-year-old actress, who is the daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, opened up about the scrutiny she faced over her looks when she was a teenager.
“I would get myself into a situation, and at some point I had learned that if someone wants, values me sexually, or I feel like they desire me, then they are entitled to me,” she said. “When I was like 14, because I was so shamed when all those blogs came out about how I looked, how my face looked, then my idea was that, ‘Oh, well then, if I’m desired sexually, then I have value.'”
Jada Pinkett Smith, one of the talk show’s hosts, said she understands that mindset.
“Now, I have to be honest with you,” Pinkett Smith said. “I went through that stage too, because I was always so petite. I wasn’t always ‘the girl’… You know, I did get caught up in that a little bit.”
Willis agreed that being viewed in a sexual way can feel “like a drug.”
The latest “Red Table Talk” episode premiered Tuesday on Facebook Watch and featured conversations about consent with hosts Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris and Willow Smith, along with guests Willis, model Amber Rose and former NFL player DeAndre Levy.
Willis also recalled how pressure to lose her virginity put her in a situation where she was taken advantage of.
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“When I lost my virginity, when I was 18, I was more concerned with the shame that I was feeling at not having done it,” she said. “I was not abused, or it wasn’t rape, but I didn’t say ‘yes.’ I wasn’t gung-ho about it, but I also didn’t say ‘no.’ I just let it happen.”
She continued: “He was older and took advantage and didn’t check in. That’s where I feel like the man’s responsibility is. No means no, but what if you can’t say no?”
Men needing to understand consent is an ongoing issue, Willis added. She shared another, more recent situation with a man she was dating a few months prior to taping. The two were kissing outside her house and she invited him in, noting that coming inside wasn’t an invitation to have sex. As soon as they got inside, he started taking her clothes off anyway.
“I completely froze,” she said. “I even have so much shame about bringing that up. I’m such this empowered, strong person but even I couldn’t do it. Could not say no. I could not say ‘I’m uncomfortable.’ ”
Willis added: “This is where I think it’s on the male side of responsibility. There was no awareness from him of my discomfort. Even if I couldn’t say anything, I was obviously uncomfortable and trying to shut it down.”
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Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff