Emily Ratajkowski

Exploitation is inherent “ a value system that revolves around men and their desire”


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Emily Ratajkowski
Emily Ratajkowski
Emily Ratajkowski
Emily Ratajkowski

Entrepreneur, acclaimed model, actress and global social media phenomenon, Emily Ratajkowski, who has shared her image with the world, at the age of twenty-one, created a furor with her provocative display of her body as an unapologetic statement of feminist empowerment. My Body, a collection of 12 essays, offers lucid examination of mirrors in which her indoctrination into the cult of beauty as defined by powerful men, as the author steps beyond the reach of any “Pygmalion and becomes a more dangerous kind of beautiful, and a kind of god in her own right: an artist.”

Emily’s honest investigation and her profoundly personal exploration of feminism, sexuality, power, of men’s treatment and what it means to be a women and a commodity, the archetypal, multi-hyphenate celebrity of our time.

While investigating the culture’s fetishisation of girls and female beauty, its obsession with and contempt for women’s sexuality, the perverse dynamics of the fashion and film industries, and the grey area between consent and abuse.

After starring in the controversial music video for Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams 2013 hit Blurred lines, Emily Ratajkowski propelled into overnight fame, she defended against critics who deemed it misogynistic. The clip features Ratajkowski and the models Elle Evans and Jessi M’Bengue dancing nearly naked around the besuited male pop stars Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams. Emily writes “They were the talent, we were more like props.  Although the video offered Ratajkowski increased earning potential, it came at a price. According to her account, there has been a safe ambience on the set until Thicke showed up drunk. He proceeded to touch her breasts without her consent – a revelation that was leaked pre-publication. Sadly, it’s far from the only non-consensual incident the author says she has experienced. “Buying Myself Back”, Ratajkowski recounts being sexually assaulted after a shoot by the photographer Jonathan Leder. She writes, she wasn’t even compensated for the shoot – it was an unpaid editorial done for “exposure” and that Leder subsequently profited of her without her permission, although Leder has reportedly rejected Ratajkowski’s allegations as unsubstantiated and “totally false”. Emily now thirty-year-old model has capitalized on her own sexuality, and she explores the fact that she is regarded as a modern-day sex symbol.

Naunced, fierce, and incisive, in My Body, Emily says “Writing can give you the ability to be as clear and direct as you want to be. That was so important to me as somebody who hasn’t set myself up to have a voice”.

In first pages of My Body, Emily writes “What I wrote and preached then reflected what I believed at that time, but it missed a much more complicated picture”. While being a sex-symbol brought her fame, she has come to realise that  ”commodifying her image and body” has not led to “true empowerment”.

In 2019, Ratajkowski was sued for $150, 000 by a paparazzo for posting a photo he had taken of her on Instagram, yet when artist Richard Prince sold copies of “Portraits” of her – blown-up photos with comments downloaded from Ratajkowski’s Instagram feed for over $80, 000 a piece, she found she had no rights to her own image. The influencer economy seemingly offers female content providers both riches and control.

Ratajkowski’s fashion brand, “Inamorata”, is self-funded and marketed almost exclusively on her feed and according to Forbes it has been profitable since its launch in 2017. Ratajkowski acknowledges that exploitation is inherent in what she calls “a value system that revolves around men and their desire”.

My Body, is coming of age story, where Ratajkowski by unpacking the paradoxes of capitalism on the male gaze in the Instagram era, she offers new look on the gender equality problem.


My Body by Emily Ratajkowski, Metropolitan Books $26/ Quercus£16.99, 256 pages.