Emily Ratajkowski is no stranger to making a statement, especially when it comes to feminism and she’s back at it again.
In an Instagram post, the model shared a photo of herself in a black bra showing off her underarm hair to reveal that she’d written a feminist essay for Harper’s Bazaar “about the importance of women’s right to choose (how she dresses, what she posts, if she decides to shave or not) no matter what influences have shaped the way she presents herself”.
She also added, “Do your thing ladies, whatever it might be.”
It turns out the essay has very little to do with body hair, but hey, if that’s what draws people in to read it then that’s still a good thing.
In the essay Emily says she knows the privilege she receives as a cis white woman who is heteronormative but wants to take the opportunity to share with the reader what her experience as a woman has been.
She shares an experience in which she was called “femme” and felt immediately offended, despite the fact that she loves being feminine. She writes that she realised the reason she was offended was because of the many “experiences in which men and women had told me that if I dressed a certain way I wouldn’t be taken seriously and could even be put in danger”.
“I remember being 13, maybe even 12, and having a distinct desire to try on lacy bras and thick gooey lip gloss. It felt fun and exciting. Sure, I’m positive that most of my early adventures investigating what it meant to be a girl were heavily influenced by misogynistic culture.
“Hell, I’m also positive that many of the ways I continue to be “sexy” are heavily influenced by misogyny. But it feels good to me, and it’s my damn choice, right? Isn’t that what feminism is about — choice?”
She adds that despite all the remarks she received, being “hyper feminine grew into something that felt like strength to me”.
In October 2018, Emily was arrested while protesting the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, however, headlines about the event were more often than not about what she was wearing rather than about what she was actually protesting.
“Even women from the left, who fully supported the purpose of my protest, made comments about my missing bra underneath my white tank and jeans. In their minds, the fact that my body was at all visible had somehow discredited me and my political action. But why?
“I often think about this. Why, as a culture, do we insist on separating smart and serious from sexy?”
She makes a great point, why should it matter what a woman is wearing while she’s protesting someone who allegedly sexually assaulted three women. Aren’t we all on the same team?
“As a culture we are scared of women generally, but also, more specifically, of the innate power that female sexuality possesses. A woman becomes too powerful and thus threatening when she takes strength from embracing her sex. Therefore we insist on shaming; we insist that a woman loses something when she flaunts or embraces her sexuality.”
She goes on to say that whether a woman wants to shave her armpits or not is their choice, and if it makes them feel good then it’s the right decision.
“There is no right answer, no choice that makes me more or less of a feminist… As long as the decision is my choice, then it’s the right choice. Ultimately, the identity and sexuality of an individual is up to them and no one else.”
“Women can and should be able to wear or represent themselves however they want, whether it’s in a burka or a string bikini.”
“Ultimately, however one decides to represent themselves, whether it be heteronormative or completely unidentifiable, is that person’s personal choice. Give women the opportunity to be whatever they want and as multifaceted as they can be. Preconceptions be damned.”
I’m sure that a lot of people are rethinking their initial thoughts on Emily whose writing is actually pretty damn inspiring. Let’s remember these words and quit tearing each other down, ladies!