Emily Ratajkowski's "My Body" and Society's Expectations of Women
To combat the idea that external appearance is paramount, many women are instead focusing on how their bodies feel.
Emily Ratajkowski's fame has always been surrounded by questions, concerns, and comments about feminism, sexuality, and women's agency.
While she had been modeling since her teen years, her rise to fame accelerated rapidly after she appeared in the video for Robin Thicke's controversial song Blurred Lines.
The song reached many number ones for its upbeat production and catchy tune, but its lyrics sparked heated debate about gender roles, feminine representation in music, and consent.
The song's title refers to its narrative, which claims a woman is giving Thicke mixed signs about wanting to go home with him and consent. Its very premise assumes that consent can be blurry or ambiguous — which it can't.
The video for the song was a viral spectacle which showed Thicke surrounded by near-nude models — one of whom is Ratajkowski.
Somehow, Ratajkowski has pivoted from this polarizing moment and become not just one of the most successful models in the industry, but a business owner, actress, outspoken activist, and now, author.
Her debut essay collection My Body explores many of the ways she's been exploited as a model, and the broader implications her own experiences reveal about society's view and commodification of women's bodies.
The collection is intriguing, well-written, and mostly self aware — unsurprising to those of us who follow Ratajkowski on social media. Her posts aren't run of the mill, shallow soundbites, but rather well-researched and informative views — with a bit of a leftist take — and more than most celebrities would dare to assert.
My Body is an impressive act of self determination, storytelling, and a chronicle of how women are oversexualized. Ratajkowski tracks her unique experiences as a model as well as relatable stories of casual objectification that too many women have also suffered through.
According to a review in The Guardian, the book's only failing is Ratajkowski's lack of acknowledgment of how she curates her body to be viewed — and, in many cases, to be consumed.
"What My Body neglects to explore is Ratajkowski's elaborate stylization and its social foundations," the review notes. And also "in a book about female desirability and injustice, it is worth emphasizing that beauty requires time, skill, money and effort."
However, this point is not made as an indictment to Ratajkowski, but rather, the opposite. The article meditates on the compulsory need for women in society to behave this way, to curate their self-image in order to be not only be desired, but respected, or even taken seriously.
"Models or not," that writer muses, "we have no choice but to see ourselves through the prism of our bodies; we are all forced to endure the conflation of self with appearance; and we are all at pains, in one way or another, to buy ourselves back."
So what do we do? No one wants to be judged by their appearance alone. Often the efforts we're told to take to adhere to beauty standards are harmful to our bodies — dieting, over-exercising, and even, as Ratajkowski notes, picking up destructive habits like smoking.
To combat the notion that our external appearance is paramount, many women are instead focusing on how their bodies feel. By getting in tune with our insides, we can shift our attention from aesthetics that purportedly signify health — like thinness — to building healthy habits and giving our bodies the nourishment they need.
To nourish your body, why turn anywhere else but Nurish? A brand of supplements backed by decades of clinical research, vetted by nutritional scientists and registered dietitians. Nurish is changing the game, making it easy to provide your body with all the good stuff it deserves.
Nurish by Nature Made helps you to create personalized nutritional supplement packets that make you your best self. Most of us are hyper aware of what we look like, but aren't in tune with how various product ingredients and habits make our bodies feel. I can tell you which skincare product I use to fix each specific problem, or which shade of makeup I wear in the summer versus the winter. However, I can't identify which ingredients provide the most energy or what vitamins make me happy. Nurish is here to change that.
To help you get more in tune with your body, Nurish lets you create personalized packets in a simple three-step process:
- Take the quiz: Actually meditate on your body and how it feels. Then reorient your body goals from conditioned, superficial values, and pinpoint what actually matters — boosting your energy? Feeling less stressed? Enjoying your food and life?
- Design Your Plan: Backed by science, these supplements help in various areas of your life. And you get to choose which ones to focus on.
- Adjust as Needed: You're not locked into anything. Nurish's subscription model ensures you always have enough Nurish vitamins to get you through the day feeling your best. And you can change your combination and plan any time to suit new needs and goals.
This flexibility allows you to switch up your subscription and adhere to your body's responses, and make room for your body to evolve and change and grow.
Once you focus on your health instead of your appearance, huge mental and physical shifts start to happen. Suddenly, years of social conditioning begin to be replaced by authentic feelings, energies, and choices — rather than the choices you're told you should make.
Choosing Nurish is a big step towards choosing health, and choosing yourself — and a small step to "buying ourselves back," like Emrata did.