Emily Ratajkowski was ‘disappointed’ that Obama ‘got more and more moderate’

Trump Returns from Arizona

Emily Ratajkowski covers the latest issue of British GQ. She was photographed at home in New York by her husband Sebastian Bear-McClard and interviewed via Zoom. As I’ve said before, I don’t really mind Emily – most people think she’s deep as a puddle, but I find she has more interesting stuff to say than many young “hot” women. She’s spent years trying to make her half-naked selfies into some kind of feminist cause, and she goes on and on about that in this interview too. But the biggest chunk of the interview is reserved for Emily explaining why she’s still pro-Bernie Sanders and why she dislikes the Clintons and how she found Barack Obama too moderate. And I just… can’t. With her platform, with all of this… she sounds like such an a–hole. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

On parents living through quarantine: “Parents deserve some sort of medal or trophy at this time. I’m serious. I mean, one of my best friends, I was FaceTiming with her last night and she’d set our wine date for 8.15pm. She has a daughter at home who’s nine, so they have to be in the room to help her with school assignments and so on. Come bedtime and her daughter just wouldn’t fall asleep; she kept coming into the room like, “Mom, what are you doing?” Great birth control, I guess.

She’s writing: “I’m working on a book of essays. I have probably ten. But I’m trying to perfect them; that’s one of the main things I’ve been doing [in isolation]…..Nonfiction. I’d say it’s like a memoir, but with added political thinking. I’m trying to use my experience as a model and someone who has capitalised on their image and also someone who has been maybe a victim of their image. It’s complicated. I am looking at all that through a feminist perspective and just trying to decipher some of the answers. I don’t have them all yet; maybe I never will…The best writing I do is as I’m falling asleep. I take notes on my phone and I will write down anecdotes on a topic. I’ll just write them as they come; a flow of consciousness. And then usually I will look at them the next morning and, hopefully, some of it will make sense.”

She understands how Trump could win again: “This is a thing that my “left” friends sometimes get really mad at me about. My feeling is [Trump’s] re-election prospects are just a response to moderate politics. It’s the same thing that happened with Brexit; the choice to keep things as they are, centre, or vote for change and move to the right. And when you look at most working people’s realities they are interested in “How do I feed my kids?” or “How do I pay my rent?” They aren’t interested in trans rights or trans bathrooms – they are just trying to survive. When a politician comes in and says, “We’re just going to keep things the same; we’re going to keep studying, keep going as we were,” and, well, then “the centre cannot hold”. And that’s the truth. That’s why I think Bernie is so important, to offer a more extreme left alternative instead of this moderate ideology that is just not working for a lot of people. And I think it’s only going to get more extreme. Corona or not, the idea of the 99 per cent versus the one per cent isn’t going to go away. In fact, the failing economy is only going to widen the gap.

She didn’t like how Obama became a “moderate”: “I had been an Obama supporter. That was the first election I ever voted in. I was working in journalism at my high school newspaper and covered it. It was this beautiful moment and I cried, my parents cried and then we watched as Obama’s policies just sort of got more and more moderate. It was really disappointing. When Hillary was the nominee I was like, “OK. She is going be your next president after Obama.” Like everyone, I was so sure of that; there was no debating it. The RNC was a mess. She was our No1 candidate. We had the first black man, now we’re going to have the first woman. It was amazing. But, in truth, I had already felt critical of the Clinton administration and actually, as a woman, had a lot of issues with how Hillary and Bill had handled his problems to do with women. Also, digging deeper, I was not a fan of their policies. So, for me, I never felt an allegiance with the Clintons. When Bernie emerged, it was this really exciting moment. In 2016, I got involved with his campaign. I went to New Hampshire and I spoke at a rally and I met Senator Sanders. That was the beginning of our relationship.

[From British GQ]

This is going to make me sound ancient (and I do feel that way) but… the kids are not alright. I feel like maybe Americans under the age of 30 didn’t have a great political science curriculum, or they merely didn’t pay attention in all of their government/poli-sci/civics classes? I say this because there always seems to be so much “magical thinking” going on around conversations about Bernie Sanders and “moderate politics.” There are fully grown adults who truly believe that if Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic nominee, he would have magically won the election and been able to wave a magic wand and “fix” everything and turn America into a socialist paradise. And that’s not the way any of this works. And the idea that Obama and the Clintons were too moderate AND what we all need is to turn to hard-left political ideology to combat these moderate politics… I just… there are literally Nazis storming into state capitol buildings. There are literally tens of thousands of people dying because of the way Republicans mishandled everything.

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64 Responses to “Emily Ratajkowski was ‘disappointed’ that Obama ‘got more and more moderate’”

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  1. Lightpurple says:

    Obama was always moderate. He did not become more moderate; he was always moderate, and that is why he was able to appeal to such a broad base. That and the fact that hie is awesome.

    • Kitkatdanke says:

      You’re right he was always a moderate (and very conservative in terms of foreign policy). Obama’s platform was deliberately vague. His speeches appealed to progressive ideals, but were vague in terms of policy.

      She’s a progressive, he’s a moderate. Why can’t she be critical? I was very frustrated with the expansion of drone warfare, his refusal to prosecute Wall St and anyone from the Bush administration, extending the Bush tax cuts. I really hate this idea that we can’t be critical of the Democratic party. In any other country, Obama would be right wing.

      I’ve noticed so many people who are moderate say they are progressive – I don’t mean Obama, but people online and friends. (Especially prominent with Jezebel commenters.) It’s very frustrating, and long term it allows for more hard right positions to be seen as moderate right positions. It’s okay that we believe in different things, but don’t misrepresent your beliefs.

      • Aang says:

        Yes to your whole post.

      • Lightpurple says:

        I didn’t say she can’t be critical if she disagreed with his policies but she is wrong in saying that he changed. He didn’t.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I’m sorry, but the idea that Obama’s policies were “vague” is revisionist. His website had detailed plans about dozens of issues before he became President. He was mocked for being too cerebral and professorial because he could go into such nuance about policy.

        Obama’s policies were “moderate” in large part because of CONGRESS. People act like Presidents can pass laws 100% on their own. The Bush tax cuts were extended for 2 years because the GOP took back the House in Nov. 2010. The Democrats only had a super majority in the senate for 4-5 months TOTAL because of Bird and Kennedy hospitalizations, and the delayed swearing in of Sen. Franken until July.

        Obama wasn’t a radical leftist. He wasn’t really a moderate in philosophy, he was a moderate in action because that is where progress was being made in a congress that vowed to thwart his legislation.

  2. Lara says:

    A woman who thinks constantly posting half naked pictures of herself is some kind of great social experiment is not someone I would ever look to for political commentary.

    Let’s not forget she and her husband refused to pay rent in their NYC loft because they’re ~artists~ and she’s probably trying to get buy in from the “abolish all landlords” crowd because she wants to keep her money. Assholes.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Oh lovely, the slut shamers are here. Just lovely.

      • Athyrmose says:

        Every time.

        Meanwhile they never have insightful commentary about what is being said by the woman in question.

      • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

        Is @Lara slutshaming, though? It seems to me that she’s saying – correct me if I’m wrong, Lara – that the way Emily R. sets herself out to be a consumable product, in this case a fleshly one, doesn’t make one leap to perceive her as a great academic spokesperson, savant or talking head. ER may have interesting things to say about her experience as a model, but the fact that she packaged herself as a T&A girl – up to her, no shame – and then tried, as CB said, to represent herself as some great feminist *post hoc*, especially as a defence for spaghetti-writhing, makes her testimony sketchy at the very least.
        And re the rent situation – yes, she and her husband ARE assholes.

      • Lara says:

        Where did shake her for having sex? For having multiple partners? Where did I shame anyone? 🤔 I do not believe she has ever had anything insightful to say ever. Her entire life seems to revolve around being naked, cool for her! I don’t care. She often says stupid crap. She and her husband are leeches.

      • Otaku fairy says:

        @Andrew’s Nemesis: Unfortunately, yes. Both of these comments are slut-shaming her. It’s easy to say ‘no shame’, but any time a woman’s immodesty is used as the reason for why what she has to say is invalid/untrustworthy, that’s what’s happening. It’s another way our society takes from and dehumanizes women for not being Good Girls. We tell them, “Do what you want with your body, but don’t complain if I assume that means you can’t have these positive traits over here, or act like your struggle or abuse has a place in the feminist movement. Don’t expect the same treatment as the classy girl.”

      • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

        Oh, nonsense, Otaku. She’s made her career off being semi-nude. This is nothing to do with ‘modesty’ and everything to do with HOW qualified she is to comment on matters well beyond her purview. If she can’t even figure out what feminism is, why should we listen to her on politics?

      • LaraW” says:

        Different Lara – I post semi-regularly on stuff related to law. I’m going to change my handle to LaraW” from hereon out to avoid confusion.

      • Otaku fairy says:

        She definitely is wrong from time to time, now and in the past, but that’s true about all of us. She will continue to get things wrong in the future, just like everyone else. Being a liberal or a feminist doesn’t mean anyone is always going to be in the right, even about those exact subjects. The immodest women are often put in the position of having to get everything right though. They can rarely get anything wrong without some version of, “See why we shouldn’t be expected to take That Kind of Girl seriously- why it’s wrong that we’re pressured to give such th*ts basic respect and equal treatment now?” being thrown in with the valid criticism. Meanwhile, older liberal men with years of ignorance and problematic behavior get more balanced, less aggressive, less dismissive reactions just because they’re getting it right in being anti-Trump. Even when they have more power and experience. She gets things right too.

      • Montrealaise says:

        How a person presents herself is not only a reflection of how she sees herself but also influences how other people see her. In Emily’s case, I have never ever seen a picture of her where she was fully dressed – why? Why does she feel a need to constantly show us her boobs and her ass? It distracts from the “serious” messages she claims to want to get across.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      A woman’s modesty has no bearing on whether or not her thoughts on politics should be considered.
      @Elizabeth: Yep. They almost always do.

    • Kim says:

      It’s not shaming Emily or naming her a slut. For me, it’s simply distracting from the discourse when body parts are purposefully and/or suggestively on display. Regardless of who it is. Breasts and asses don’t discount the messages conveyed. It serves as a distraction.
      “Slut shaming” has become a reductive catch-all readily utilized to distance and discourage other’s points of view instead of actually engaging with one another in deeper conversations.

      • Otaku fairy says:

        ” ‘Slut shaming’ has become a reductive catch-all readily utilized to distance and discourage other’s points of view instead of actually engaging with one another in deeper conversations.” It only seems that way because it’s how we’ve always talked about women, and because we’re not used to having that criticized. We’re used to it being a virtue, a means of protecting women, building ‘self-respect’ and supposedly molding young women into good people. So much of how half of the population is treated and discussed- online and off- comes back to telling them to be more conservative about their bodies in order to earn basic respect, and also telling other women- the good ones- not to say anything when the ones who didn’t listen get misogyny and disrespect, unless they want to be next.

      • Kim says:

        @Otaku fairy Thank you for offering deeper insights and perspectives. Very helpful and clarifying.

  3. TheOriginalMia says:

    Deep sigh…Bless her heart.

  4. Tanguerita says:

    oh noes, not a book, please. It’s still a mystery to me how she managed to build a whole career based solely on her boobs.

  5. Lua says:

    No one cares about trans rights?
    Sorry. Lost me.

    • I pet goat 2 says:

      RIGHT?? that’s exactly where she lost me too. And the fact that trans rights and working rights are intrinsically linked? Are trans people not in the work force? I mean come on you can’t be that informed on structural discrimination and the entanglement on isms if you don’t put those two together

      I am so enraged today and I think white people are WAY too silent on what has been happening the last couple of days

    • Turtledove says:

      I saw that too and it was a very large red flag. Maybe SHE doesn’t care, but trans people and those that love them certainly frigging CARE.

    • Kitkatdanke says:

      I have heard many progressive trans activists say that the bathroom debate has been pushed heavily by the right as a way to distract from things that are more pressing for them, like employment discrimination and disproportionate violence against them. It is frustrating that trans issues are debated on the right’s terms. The cultural debate distracts from the material one.

      I figured this is what she meant, she honestly sucks at expressing herself. That line looks really bad, and she’s dumb not to expect some blowback for it without clarification. I’m not actually a fan of hers.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Nice how the comments immediately go to slut-shaming because they disagree with her politics.

    • Tanguerita says:

      it’s not slut-shaming, it’s facts. Baring her body parts is literally the only thing she is famous for.

      • Anonymous says:

        Her nudity has nothing to do with her political views, but it will still be weaponized to neutralize her opinion and imply, “Why should I listen to you, you’re just a whore.” I disagree with most of her comments also FYI

      • Otaku fairy says:

        ^ This. I don’t agree with what she said either, but her position is still less concerning than what Rachel Weisz (who is older) said about nazis and deplorables earlier this week. Yet, it seems like people are going to react very differently to what Emily said for some reason.

      • Tanguerita says:

        my question is – why am i supposed to care about her opinion? Everyone has one. Why is she given a platform? It has nothing to do with politics or disagreeing with her. The question is – why?

  7. S808 says:

    “There are fully grown adults who truly believe that if Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic nominee, he would have magically won the election and been able to wave a magic wand and “fix” everything and turn America into a socialist paradise. And that’s not the way any of this works.”


    • NextToMe says:

      Yep. I have my thoughts about her, but she wasn’t wrong about this.

    • lucy2 says:

      I find that frustrating as well. The magic wand is NEVER going to happen. We’re going to have to keep pushing, step at at time, to improve things for people, and sadly that’s the best we can hope for.

      She may also be forgetting that Obama had 6/8 years with a Republican controlled Congress who did EVERYTHING possible to stifle him and stop a lot of more progressive things he would have done. I think he did a lot of good (and some not so good) but overall made things better. At least until 2016.

    • sunny says:

      She has a right to an opinion but she seems kind of ill-informed? Obama was always a moderate and yes became more so when governing but you can’t really divorce that from the political reality of having to govern while the House and Senate held different political balances. It is incredibly difficult to get progressive legislation passed in a situation where you don’t hold a majority and given the way America is gerrymandered, that is insanely difficult to achieve.

      I won’t step on her issues with the Clintons though except to say the way that people make Hillary responsible for Bill’s behaviour routinely is exhausting. (Though I think we can hold her to account for her own)

      On her support of Bernie, he raises a lot of excellent points but his policies have huge blindspots. Also making everything a class issue ignores the way many of these conditions intersect with race and gender. Not sure Emily has room for nuance or complexity in her views.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      There are a lot of Bernie supporters who think Hillary lost because she was moderate, and not because of Russian interference, sexism, and decades of solidified hate for the Clintons. It’s wishful, delusional thinking.

  8. Caitrin says:

    This idea that a President has absolute fiat power to remake a country in his or her image is mindbogglingly naive.

    This has been the case throughout our country’s history.

    There’s a lot of criticize about President Obama’s policy record, from bailing out Wall Street to countless drone strikes. But I would argue that his social policy became overtly more liberal during his second term.

    Bernie Sanders isn’t a panacea. That’s never been how this has worked, and candidly, without flipping the Senate, it doesn’t matter who the Democratic nominee is. Mitch McConnell is one of the most consequential politicians in a century – and even a President Sanders would have to reckon with that.

    • leftcoastal says:


      Also: “That’s why I think Bernie is so important, to offer a more extreme left alternative instead of this moderate ideology that is just not working for a lot of people.”

      So, I wasn’t a poly sci major, but according to her, if a moderate/broadly based platform isn’t working, then the solution is to go…way further to one side? And widen the differences between two sides?

      @Catrin — you’re absolutely right that unless we flip the Senate, it doesn’t matter what Dem is in the WH. I would add to that it doesn’t matter who is in the White House, period. We can’t move forward as long as the Electoral College exists, as long as gerrymandering is still legal, as long as voter suppression tactics are overlooked, and on and on and on. We’re destined to keep swinging back and forth, left to right, every 4 or 8 years, until we figure out how to fix our political systems.

  9. cer says:

    “My feeling is [Trump’s] re-election prospects are just a response to moderate politics. It’s the same thing that happened with Brexit; the choice to keep things as they are, centre, or vote for change and move to the right. And when you look at most working people’s realities ”

    So it looks like she still believes the whole ‘white working class voted for Trump not because of racism but because of economics and change’ BS?
    I think what annoys me about her is she is not remotely as smart as she thinks she is.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      THIS. Her allusion to (white) “economic anxiety” while ignoring the racist motivations & specifically dismissing trans rights is…revealing. Bernie folks can’t help themselves.

  10. Notafan says:

    Totally random but her left arm looks weirdly photoshopped.

  11. Kiki says:

    This is why I can’t take Emily Ratajkowsky seriously. Making a feminist stance by showing your raw sex appeal is not going to make you an ideal candidate for a role model for women (especially younger women). I would take her seriously when she reads a book or newpaper. I would take her seriously if she says she’s going to college. HELL I would take her seriously if she partakes in a non-profit organization that would matter to anyone.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      The idea that being a feminist and a role model for young woman means one can’t live the #slutwalk and bring sex appeal into what they do for a living is the real problem. For one thing, people need to stop assuming that there’s only one thing all young women want or need in a female role model- someone who teaches us to cover our tits/close our legs and open a book. It reduces the worth of all young women to their compliance with patriarchal standards of respectability. It also frames being a feminist, going to college (she did), and reading books as things that can’t coexist with being sexy and rebelling against female modesty.

      • Jaded says:

        Why is it necessary to bring sex appeal into a political discussion? Her ONLY way of attracting attention to herself is through sexually provocative posing, not her intelligence. She’s not terribly bright, although she seems to think she’s the equivalent of a Rhodes Scholar. It’s not “reducing the worth of all women to comply with patriarchal standards”, it’s deliberately using her tits and ass to attract attention. Would she do it if she weighed 250 lbs and looked like a turnip? Would any woman who is trying to make her way in the patriarchal world of business or politics do it? Would Kamala Harris be taken seriously if she posed for photographs like that? I think not. You are conflating freedom to express sexuality with feminism when, in fact, it gives into a patriarchal view of women as merely sexual beings, unacceptable if they rely on their intelligence and experience instead.

      • Otaku fairy says:

        “You are conflating freedom to express sexuality with feminism…” is code for, “Don’t you dare make the way we’ve treated girls and women over sex the serious issue and feminist concern that it is.”
        “..it gives into a patriarchal view of women as merely sexual beings, unacceptable if they rely on their intelligence and experience instead.” This would be partially true if Emily R. was our ONLY representation, or most people had zero exposure to female politicians, activists, royalty, religious leaders, or other female public figures who presented differently. But that’s not the case. People are exposed enough in their daily lives to women who center their intelligence, experience, skills, etc. in their careers and how they present themselves, for us to be able to handle some women centering immodesty. That doesn’t mean women shouldn’t be encouraged to be more, but this pattern some of us have of abusing almost any woman who emphasizes that is almost as unnecessary as it is harmful. Your point about Kamala Harris and other women’s careers and reputations being ruined by real or perceived promiscuity is more evidence that we need to do better- not evidence that we should keep teaching people to treat immodest women like trash like we always have.

    • kellebelle says:

      I might take her more seriously if she didn’t lie about her boob-job. Especially since she forgets to photoshop out her implant scars on occasion. Nah, you know what? I don’t take her seriously. She strikes me as an airhead who is constantly trying to prove that she’s not an airhead.

  12. kellebelle says:

    Just clicked in to see if she had clothes on. She does! Somewhat.


    “And, digging deeper, I was not a fan of their policies.” Excuse me WHAT. She had to dig deeper to even address if their policies were something she would support?? Why was that not her initial concern? Dumbass.

    Also I love “flow of consciousness.” It’s almost like that concept exists—oh wait, it does, “stream of consciousness.” Get it right if you’re going to be pretentious, EmRata.

  14. Who ARE These People? says:

    Her writing puts her to sleep, eh? Her speaking puts *me* to sleep.

  15. G A I L says:

    This is my favorite part: “I was working in journalism at my high school newspaper…”

  16. Tchotchke says:

    This is a really complicated issue and while I agree that Emily is, and has always been, a surface-level feminist and political thinker, I’m not sure I agree with the author’s assessments of under-30 voters. The Third Way politics of the 90s and early 00s were effective in their era for a lot of reasons, chief among them that it was an era of unprecedented economic boom in the West and relatively peaceful from a global conflict standpoint. When the subprime mortgage market began depreciating in value in 07-08, it exposed the problems created by a style of governance that trusted market forces in lieu of consumer protections and government safety nets. It also shined a bright light on the inequities that were created by and accepted as the cost of economic prosperity in this system. The centrism of 90s under Clinton effectively traded government regulation of the economy, privatization of production, and consumer protection programs in exchange for moderately liberal social policies. With both Clinton and Obama (and the DNC as a whole), moderation *was* an ethos and a choice. It was not entirely the result of political attrition, as the author seems to believe.

    For a while, it worked and then it didn’t. Americans under the age of 35 are those who feel the ramifications of that most acutely.

    There are, without a doubt, plenty of young voters who think that Bernie Sanders is a magical wizard who can fix all of this country’s problems, but I side-eye the assessment that a few naifs are indicative of a whole movement or a whole generation. I also object to the idea that the new leftist movement is not grounded in real economic or political thought (and actually, most political science academics would agree). And for what it’s worth, I am not a Bernie supporter (Warren girl here).

  17. Hannah says:

    Agree about the unnecessary slut shaming but her POV is just filtered through another surface level white feminist gaze and lacks depth in terms of how social political climate and white privilege plays its part. The assumption that the first black president could have had Bernie sanders past or policies and still be elected is just clueless. A socialist black man wouldn’t even have won the primary.
    It also shows she wasn’t paying attention to how republicans made it their mission to oppose everything Obama did. Obama is the first to say ACA doesn’t go far enough.
    He also inherited a mess, as will
    Biden if he wins the election given the state of the economy.

  18. Lizzieb says:

    I am giving her partial points. She seems to be trying to sound smarter… bless her. Valid point, in that if there is no reason for voters to be exited they may not turn up to vote. That would be a problem in this election. Also she is right about the 1% not going anywhere. Lastly I don’t think she is entirely wrong about many people only caring about their own issues. It isn’t true of everyone, but many people only pay lip service and won’t vote where it matters if it inconveniences them in any way

    • JJ says:

      She is part of the 1%, and she and her millionaire husband made headlines for exploiting a law in NY to protect artists (who do not make a lot of money) in order to not pay rent on their N.Y. loft.

  19. June says:

    At least she seems to care. I don’t think her political analysis is deep, but I don’t agree with slut shaming her. You can disagree with her without implying that women who are publicly immodest are not worth listening to.
    Re: Obama. It’s quite complicated. I think it’s okay to criticise him, to even be disappointed but you also need to understand what he was up against, both in campaigning to be the first black president as well as having a Republican controlled Congress for much of his term obstructing him. So yes, her analysis isn’t exactly deep. But this is the problem with celebrities driving political discourse!
    Lastly I think it’s rather unfair to paint young Sanders supporters as believing in a magic wand. Maybe some of them do, but that’s not been my experience with those I have interacted with.

  20. Luciana says:

    I’m sorry, but who is this dingbat? I legitimately don’t know who she is nor do I care to look her up.

  21. frenchtoast says:

    Good for her to keep going despite all the hate she’s getting. Even if you don’t agree with everything she says or what she does with her body it doesn’t mean you have the right to revoke her feminist card.

  22. JC says:

    Jesus Christ, if I looked like that… damn. The sh*t I could get away with.

  23. Nia says:

    Im shocked she is left leaning… her hubby seems like a maga jerk.

  24. Sasha says:

    “Working in journalism at my high school newspaper”. I’m sorry girl – keep trying.

    You have money- you can go back to school and do whatever you want! But pushing this fake image of being some type of scholar who still relies on boobs etc to make a living while pretending it’s truly tongue and cheek is just…a house without a foundation.

    Oh the things celebrity allows you to be! If I were in a movie- I’d present myself as an astronaut interviews. Why not? Seems like they make the rules up!

  25. Valiantly Varnished says:

    A lot of these young Bernie supporters don’t understand the BASICS of how the election system and government work.

  26. Naddie says:

    I’m not American so I can’t say much about her political stance, my idea is way too much vague. Now, people dismissing her opinion because she posts pictures half naked? What do you want her to do, a workout tutorial? If what she’s saying is so wrong that would stay so if she was covered head to toe.