Emily Ratajkowski made major headlines last week with a sexy spread in US Harper's Bazaar, which featured the model, actress, and UCLA grad posing nude on a horse and giving candid quotes about sexuality and feminism in an interview with writer Naomi Wolf. Though the images brought out opinions both in favour and against Emily's outlook, it's worth nothing that this isn't the first (and, hopefully, not the last) time the 25-year-old has been vocal about her feelings on the human body and women's right to embrace their sexuality in whatever way they choose.
In February, Emily penned a poignant essay for friend Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter; the piece, which was titled "Baby Woman," touched on Emily's struggles with hitting puberty at such an early age and coming to terms with the fact that she would be judged differently from her peers for her developing body. Since rising to fame with her controversial nude appearance in Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" video in 2013, Emily has made something of a name for herself as not only a beautiful face but also an increasingly powerful voice for women. Born in England to a professor and a painter, she doesn't shy away from posting sexy social media snaps of herself — or with fellow bombshell Kim Kardashian — and has made outspoken statements about sexuality. Read her most important quotes below.
- "The implication is that to be sexual is to be trashy because being sexy means playing into men's desires. To me, 'sexy' is a kind of beauty, a kind of self-expression, one that is to be celebrated, one that is wonderfully female. Why does the implication have to be that sex is a thing men get to take from women and women give up?"
- "Where can girls look to see women who find empowerment in deciding when and how to be or feel sexual? Even if being sexualised by society's gaze is demeaning, there must be a space where women can still be sexual when they choose to be."
- "I developed very young, so I was more conscious of sexuality and being a pretty girl-woman. Having men look at you and really having no idea what sex is a very strange experience."
- "I refuse to live in this world of shame and silent apologies. Life cannot be dictated by the perceptions of others, and I wish the world had made it clear to me that people's reactions to my sexuality were not my problems, they were theirs."
- "I really believe that we're all conditioned: maybe we have certain impulses that make us more inclined towards one gender, but we're pretty flexible. We're animals. A body is a body."
- "Because of third-wave feminism, I understood [growing up] that there are all these f*cked-up ideals of beauty put on young women; that there was something to be scared about in the entertainment world. But yet the people I knew in my everyday life, they [didn't realize] their faux pas, their missteps, and since they knew me it was that much harder because the comments felt personal."
"Why does the implication have to be that sex is a thing men get to take from women and women give up?"
- "I struggle to find the space between as an artist, as a model, and simply as a woman — a space where I can have ownership and enjoyment of my gender. Honouring our sexuality as women is a messy, messy business, but if we don't try, what do we become?"
- "You get people who are like, 'If you want to be taken seriously as an actress, don't post any sexy photos.' And that's . . . You can do whatever you want — that's what being a woman is."
- "I've always felt very comfortable in my own skin. I grew up going to beaches in Spain where I would see topless women. My dad is a visual artist so I have seen so many nude paintings and that was something I always loved and was drawn to. I always found the female form from the photographer or the artists' side to be a really interesting and beautiful subject. So I never really thought of judging my body."
- "A lot of people who were [also] victims of [the nude photo hack in 2014] said anyone who looks at these pictures should feel guilty, but I just don't think that's fair. I think once it's out there, it's out there, and I'm not sure that anyone who googles it is necessarily a criminal. I think the people who stole the photos are."
- "There's this idea that if a man enjoys a photograph of a nude woman or if he likes your short skirt, he's taking something away from you. It's not right. Sex is normal. Desire is normal. Attention is normal, and that's okay. That's really what slut shaming is, right? A woman talks about having sex, and it's like, 'Well, a guy got to have sex with you, so you're stupid. You've given something up.'"
- "The world should not be exclusive of the ideal body. It has to include all ideals, all bodies. The whole idea is that when Kim [Kardashian] takes a nude selfie, she's just seeking attention. That's not the issue. A woman can be seeking attention and also make a statement. They don't need to be mutually exclusive."
- "I think celebrating and finding a joy in my sexuality has empowered me, personally and professionally. I've spent my life feeling unashamed of my womanhood and confident in myself, and that has made navigating life less complicated in a misogynistic society, in my industry, and in my relationships with men and my friendships with other women."