Emily Ratajkowski: ‘It really bothers me that people are so offended by breasts’

The Met Gala 2017

I have a surprising amount of angst about Emily Ratajkowski. I don’t think she’s all right or all wrong about things. I think a lot of what she says would probably be considered less controversial if it came out of Gloria Steinem’s mouth. I don’t think Emily is a “bad feminist” for being sex-positive and owning her sexuality openly. But I also think she needs to settle down a bit with the half-naked selfies, you know? You can post half-naked selfies and be a feminist, no problem. But don’t post half-naked selfies and then give interviews about how people objectify you or sexualize you. So, as I said, I have some angst. Emily covers the latest issue of Allure, and you can read the full piece here. It reads like A Profile of A Cool Girl, or perhaps “look, the hot model talks about feminism and art.” Some highlights:

She’s not shy about her body: “It really bothers me that people are so offended by breasts… That’s when I realized how f–ked our culture is. When we see breasts, we don’t think of beauty and femininity. We think of vulgar, oversexualized images.”

She’s fine with however you identify her: “I want girls to see that you can be whatever you want. Be as specific as you want. You can like this thing and that thing, and you don’t have to feel like the world won’t understand you.”

The male gaze & being able to dress sexy: “To me, any expression that is empowered and is your own as a woman is feminist. If a woman decides to dress sexy, it doesn’t mean she’s not a feminist. [We] should be doing things for ourselves. If that is the woman’s choice, and it makes her feel good, then that’s great. Good for her.”

Whether she’s “dressing sexy” as a symptom of a patriarchal system: “I found my sexuality and my identity. I found empowerment through that,” she says. Not in spite of it.

[From Allure]

The Allure writer ends up making a great point in a sly sort of way, which is that Emily has a Feminist Studies 101 understanding of feminism. Her understanding of feminism, the male gaze and patriarchy doesn’t seem that deep. I appreciate that Emily is trying to talk the talk and walk the walk – it’s a lot better than the “I’m not a feminist, I like boys!” women – but it does come across as amateurish. Emily’s argument is that every choice a woman makes is a feminist choice because a woman is making the choice. That’s not true. Emily’s argument is that she understands her sexuality, she has sexual agency and she makes her own choices about sex, therefore she’s not a big-breasted cog in a patriarchal machine. That’s not true. Or rather, both things can be true: she’s a feminist with sexual agency, and she’s a big-breasted cog in a patriarchal machine.

The Met Gala 2017

Photos courtesy of Daniel Jackson for Allure.

 

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80 Responses to “Emily Ratajkowski: ‘It really bothers me that people are so offended by breasts’”

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  1. teatimeiscoming says:

    It really bothers me that breasts are all she talks about

  2. HappyXamp says:

    I have no time for this woman. There are girls in this world struggling to get a basic education, or access to basic things like pads, tampons, and birth control, and she’s worried about being able to show her boobs? If that isn’t a first world problem I don’t know what is.

    • lala says:

      Yes, this exactly. Such a huge platform she has, especially since she now brands herself as an outspoken feminist and activist, and yet the only causes she champions and talks about with any regularity (sexiness, boobs, nudity) relate to her life as a privileged, rich white woman…..*sigh* For all of her talk about wanting to be taken seriously, she is as deep as a puddle.

      • Sarah says:

        Agreed. If Emily wants more respect as a feminist, I would like to see her do more than just talk about it. There are plenty of causes she could get behind including the lack of menstrual products for poor girls and women in the third world or unequal education opportunities, etc. then she could stop talking about her breasts.

      • Jennie Hix says:

        Wait, she brands herself as a feminist and an activist?Hahahahaha. WOW. The world has gone crazy.

        Complaining about how hard it is to be sooo beautiful and not be able to show it off is the kind of crap that makes modern feminism seem like a joke.

        Girl, sit down, the grown ups are speaking.

    • Enough Already says:

      But it’s not mutually exclusive. If you boil it down and take away the intellectualization of it all the most complex and dire issues facing women around the world can be reflected in how society dictates choices about our bodies and our autonomy. It’s no less true because it’s coming from a twit actress. Emily is telling the truth.

    • magnoliarose says:

      Thank you. I am frankly getting tired of the body conversation. It is a worthy subject but it is veering into entrapment and silliness. I feel as though she and some others are taking a serious subject and boiling down to a superficial argument as if they are brave soldiers in the fight for equality. They are fully aware they will get a reaction from nudity and revealing clothing but then want to behave as if they are just outraged by the response. They are setting up the situation themselves and then acting as if they are victims of criticism. I am sorry but I refuse to champion privileged women who don’t suffer the real ramifications of their actions. They aren’t challenging anything when there is such low risk involved.
      Surely she and others have something else to discuss. This is why after reflecting on this angle I can’t take Ariel Winter either. The pseudo intellectualizing about their reasons for their actions is self-serving and attempts to make something simple much more complex.
      In this political environment I don’t have patience for this. We have other frontiers that need our time and energy.

  3. Alleycat says:

    This is literally all she talks about. Her views on feminism are only how it directly relates to her. I’m bored.

  4. JA says:

    She feeds off the male gaze and thrives because of the patriarchal machine. Her understanding of feminism is self serving to say the least. I agree that at least she admits to being a feminist which Yay! But if only she actually knew what it meant and didn’t shout it to justify the constant T & A pics she is ibly known for because that is the only thing she does now.

    • Enough Already says:

      But you don’t get to craft or approve of her message. Whatever else she believes in she believes in complete equality. That is feminism. You judging how she uses her body or slamming the fact that she loves male attention is respectability politics which is patriarchal.

      • Artemis says:

        she believes in she believes in complete equality. That is feminism.

        In complete equality for herself which is pretty much what this choice feminism is. It’s self-serving, conforming to the patriarchy and excludes millions of women who do not have the privilege to live in the 1st world with all it’s narcissistic social media access which makes insignificant superficial issues into some kind of feminist movement. Pointless. Useless. Empty.

        She never provides any context of feminism outside her own very tiny bubble. She cannot stop talking about her body which is the perfect body for the male gaze so she’s not making any ripples into feminist theory or action as she is unwilling to dig deeper and include other women.

        Furthermore, feminism is about social, political and economical equality. This woman has been saying she can’t get a decent job because she’s too attractive when the only reason we know her name is because she’s considered so attractive. She’s making money (interviews, men’s magazines) off her attractiveness but cannot see she isn’t offering much else hence why she isn’t carving out the career she wants for herself (serious actress). She doesn’t realise she is fulfilling her purpose: she’s acting upon the male gaze and the men are actively stopping her from doing more as that wouldn’t be in their interest. So yes, Affleck can pick her out to nuzzle those breasts in a big Hollywood film with big stars and yes she can break out by playing a childlike sex toy in a sexist music video but why is she is not seeing that is all she is valued at and that she plays exactly into that rhetoric? And this is the criticism that she is failing to address herself as she’s too busy admiring herself and victimizing herself at the same time.

      • Miss S says:

        Wow Artemis, you wrote exactly what I think and wasn’t able to express. Thank you.

      • Pandy says:

        Word Artemis. poor Emily. Wah! Lather rinse repeat. She should get a shampoo gig.

      • bluhare says:

        Artemis, I’m with Miss S. What I wanted to say only better!

      • Enough Already says:

        Artemis
        I couldn’t disagree more. She fails miserably to be an intersectional feminist and we all know this. She’s silly, vain and egotistical and we all know this. Her feminism is lazy and self-interested and we know this. But she is a feminist because she believes strongly in equality. To snatch her card or silence her is ignorant, hypocritical, myopic and dangerous. There are enough men trying to silence us. We don’t have to do it.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I don’t believe her card is revoked. Many of us are simply tired of her retread subject. How many times do we need to listen to her one and only subject when she adds nothing new to the conversation. Her viewpoint is valid but it is superficial and doesn’t merit this much attention. Being a feminist doesn’t mean a person has depth or introspection. Emily shows us this every time she speaks about her body and feminism.

    • AnnaKist says:

      JA: “But if only she actually knew what it meant and didn’t shout it to justify the constant T & A pics she is ibly known for because that is the only thing she does now.”

      I don’t watch movies and I have no social media. She’s a beautiful young woman, but the only reason I know about her is because of her constant T&A pics and whining about some people’s perception of her because of those pics. Perhaps she could take a leaf from Emma Watson’s book.

  5. Happy21 says:

    Ew! Those are awful photos of her. I never found her particularly attractive to begin with and now I just think YIKES!
    I can’t stand her going on and on and freaking ON about her body, about her boobs, about her sexuality. The woman has absolutely NO depth whatsoever. She has yet to say something that has made me think or made me think she is even remotely intelligent. She is simply relevant because these are the things she never stops talking about.
    UGH!

  6. PIa says:

    Submission to the male gaze and patriarchal notion of how women should look…am surprised that she does not acknowledge that.

  7. Aims says:

    Her claim to fame I’d Gone girl, and a music video with a douchbag. Look, I have no problems with female nudity , female sexuality. It’s wonderful and I would encourage women to be sexual and body positive . My problem is , some people out there don’t appreciate it or are comfortable with having someone constantly whipping out there breasts or walking around naked. It doesn’t make then wrong either . It doesn’t make them anti women either . I feel like she’s trying so hard to be a thing, and she needs to figure out a new plan quick .

  8. TheOtherViv says:

    Oh Emily, I am not offended by your breasts, only that I have to constantly read about you talking about them.

  9. Green Is Good says:

    She’s talking about tits. Again. Blah.

  10. Lightpurple says:

    Yes, Emily. Whatever. Go ahead and love your breasts. Feel free to wear whatever you want but dress appropriately for the occasion. For example, yesterday Ivanka Trump wore a very low cut v-neck blue lace dress that showed off her surgically enhanced cleavage. It would have been fine for a fancy date night or a non-work related cocktail party. But Ivanka chose to wear it to an event for children, ages 6-10, involving reading and science experiments. Not really appropriate.

  11. Merritt says:

    LMAO. No one is offended by your breasts Emily. Many of us are just tired of all your interviews being about your breasts or body in general. You don’t see Jessica Chastain or Elizabeth Banks making every interview about their breasts.

  12. PlaidSheets says:

    She and Ariel Winter should be besties.

  13. elle says:

    Ugh, this again? Em, I think people just don’t want to talk to you about your breasts. Find a new conversation starter.

  14. Franny says:

    Emily: has anyone heard me talk about my boobs lately? Not in 5 minutes? Ok here we go.

  15. detritus says:

    “It really bothers me that people are so offended by breasts”
    I wonder if she’d say this if she didn’t have basically the best tits ever?

    “Emily’s argument is that she understands her sexuality, she has sexual agency and she makes her own choices about sex, therefore she’s not a big-breasted cog in a patriarchal machine. That’s not true. Or rather, both things can be true: she’s a feminist with sexual agency, and she’s a big-breasted cog in a patriarchal machine. ”

    Bang on, and she doesn’t express one iota of discomfort at the idea of conforming to the hetero males wet dream ideal. she is allowed to dress and present as she chooses, sexually or not, but there needs to be some greater contextual understanding. Its as if Emily thinks she operates in a world that only exists in relation to her. I would like to see an interview with her talking about a passion project that isn’t based on how people judge her, but on helping others. Everything so far is very self serving.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      Ooohhh that is much more concise than my rambling post below. I get so angry when she opens her mouth.

    • detritus says:

      I mean, she has equal right to speak out about these issues as any other woman, but timing and the messenger matter. She is doing a disservice to her message because she plays into and is rewarded by the very ideals she hates on. And I understand the point of many women here, that there are other issues, but women are killed for being sluts. Women are raped because men view their bodies as trophies or rewards. The issues shes poorly addressing are very important.

      Her naked photos get lots of attention BECAUSE its counter culture and dirty/sexy, because if all women were free with their breasts there would not be such a value in showing them. Just like sex, if it wasn’t so policed by morality, it would be more freely available because the stigma would be reduced.

      She’s had awhile to sit and think on this message, and her place within the structures that she is critiquing, and i’m dissapointed she is still showing so very little nuance.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      People should absolutely talk about these issues and if someone with a platform addresses them, I’m here for it. The problem really is the messenger. Mostly. Because if you call yourself not only a feminist but also an activist, you should be prepared to talk about more than just the one issue that concerns you personally. She wants to speak as an activist, not as Emily. There are so many issues women of all ages and ethnicities/races face. Systemic, complicated issues. She has yet to address more than the one that will bring her publicity. And I honestly do not think you can call being successful by exploiting what you criticize in society empowerment. Empowerment involves control and freedom. Maybe the freedom to show her breasts is all she needs and I just need to stop bitching. But it seems like a flimsy type of feminism. Like Swifty’s. Feminism built on the one issue that furthers your career.

  16. lunchcoma says:

    I’m so very tired of this one. Body positivity and slut shaming are feminist issues, but they’re not the only issues. I suspect Emily would say they’re all she’s asked about, but she has a public platform. If she spent more time discussing abortion access or BLM or the rights of immigrant women, she’s get a few more questions abut those topics.

  17. littlemissnaughty says:

    She bothers me so much not because she has found empowerment through showing her half naked body on Instagram but because she doesn’t understand that the fact that she has been able to make a career out of it is the real issue. Show you breasts, be free, by all means. But please acknowledge that you are in a uniquely privileged position to be able to make money that way.

    Most women don’t have that option because society doesn’t consider their beauty to be magazine-cover-worthy. She has made a career out of promoting exactly what society deems attractive and man, good for her. But to act like that’s such a burden … just f*ck off. Really. This idea of beauty she is selling is what a lot of us torture ourselves over. It’s downright harmful the way it’s being sold to us as not just desirable but also achievable.

    It’s not achievable. And we are so distracted by it that we forget to focus on the really important things. It’s great that she has the freedom to show her breasts. But I would like the freedom to forget about showing breasts or any other part of my body. She’s not helping to liberate women, she’s promoting what keeps us distracted. Her feminism fits her but nobody else. Certainly doesn’t help single moms pay for childcare.

    • detritus says:

      There’s this old tv bit where Nich Lacheys wife (vanessa manillo?) put on a fat suit, and sees how people react to her differently. It wasn’t the greatest, but I think it really impacted Manillo, and made her aware of her privilege as a truly beautiful woman.

      Ratajkowski needs something like that to gain some empathy for how the patriarchy affects women who do not meet cultural expectations of beauty and slimness that she does. I don’t get the feeling she has very many female friends, and I think this may be why she’s so narrow viewed?

  18. poorlittlerichgirl says:

    But when she posts pictures of her naked breasts, she is in fact sexualizing herself. She is not in National Geographic, she is posting her naked body on instagram being highly sexual. Come on, girl. It is what is. There’s no shame in it but don’t call what you’re doing something else.

  19. perplexed says:

    ” When we see breasts, we don’t think of beauty and femininity. We think of vulgar, oversexualized images.”

    That’s probably because they’ve been commodified.

    • Miss S says:

      I would add that context matters. Who is showing the breasts and the reasoning behind it matters. I get annoyed by the Kashardians alike because I know they are using it to get attention, but if I see women photographed professionally in a context where the message is empowerment and acceptance, it feels different. Not all nudity is the same.

  20. Freddy Spaghetti says:

    She’s so tiring. I don’t understand how she’s still getting press. She can’t act and her only talking point is her breasts.

    • G says:

      Exactly, she’s getting press because she keeps talking and posting about her breasts, and spinning it as something that she’s doing for the good of women everywhere. Apart from having a conventionally attractive body she hasn’t demonstrated any other talent or substance. I wish she would just go away — I think she’s doing more harm than good.

  21. Daisy says:

    And she wonders why no one will hire her for films, all she does is pose naked and post the photos online. There’s no mystery. she’s not Madonna and never will be anything close.

  22. Cleo says:

    She is peak white Western feminism. Really, the most pressing women’s rights issue in the world is some people being snarky about your tits?

  23. Jaded says:

    She reminds me of an old Pantene commercial with Kelly Le Brock where she says “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful….”

  24. xo says:

    I don’t know, I find her one-dimensional celebration of herself a bit indulgent & I think she’s trying to extend her fifteen minutes by somehow associating herself with feminism & empowerment. Doesn’t quite add up for me.

  25. BobaFelty says:

    Can someone just give her a film role so she can stop talking about this?

  26. aenflex says:

    People judge based on what people present to the world. It’s a fact, good or bad.
    I’ve seen more of her breasts and backside than I’ve read intelligent quotes or observed real, admirable activism.

  27. SM says:

    I am all for women’s choices. Whatever they are. However ot seems to me like Emily’s carriere is not going according to her plan and the only thing she has is her figure, boobs and her entry into Hollywood is through sexualization. She keeps on talking about this as if she tries to justify that whatever path she is on, is a correct one. She understands her sexuality, she has sexual agency but frankly I think that was bot her choice and hence all the talk about how sexy body is feminism.

  28. Adele Dazeem says:

    She makes me so tired. Why is she still getting press? Even her “big” role in Gone Girl was what two small scenes? She didn’t exactly have a costar role. I’d heard she was edited out a lot….perhaps because she can’t act? I really think she’s vying for a Kim kardashian type career. Good luck w that even.

  29. hey-ya says:

    …she is very pretty though…why shouldn’t she have as good an acting career as say …Cara…I suppose its admirable shes chosen not to be arm candy to a 60 yo industry insider…

  30. Cinderella says:

    As much as she puts herself out there every flipping day, you’d think she’d land more roles. Hollywood must be tired of her.

  31. ASH says:

    Right …because there are no great actresses with full chests. Breast size affects modeling not acting roles. This chick doesn’t get work due to her lack of talent along with the fact that she has the personality of wallpaper. Nobody’s buying the boob excuse. Tell that to Susan Stand-in and Hillary Swank.

  32. blonde555 says:

    What an unfortunate picture in the red ruffles. Without her breasts front and center she really is forgettable.

  33. Ellis says:

    I’m not offended by her breasts, or incessant calling attention to them. I am, however, disturbed by her inflated to duck bill proportions, lips. New topic.

  34. Sonia says:

    She’s talking about other women here right? Because, what men would have a problem with her breasts? She’s positioning herself as a coveted bimbo. She wants to have best of both worlds