Imagine being seen as beautiful for having a skinny body and large breasts, and being your tool being used against you; in this case Emily Ratajkowski’s body.
My Body is an autobiography and memoir of her journey into modelling, and her experience with issues about others treating her body/appearance first, before her actual being. I made sure to read this with an open mind, as I already had my pre-existing thoughts towards modelling with is undoubtedly shared by others, in some cases that are more extreme.
After reading Ratajowski’s book, I generated a different perspective, as modelling was not something she pursued from a young age intentionally, only going into it because of the money (why would you give any money up when you’re young?!). I’ve seen it across the news and social media about models abusing the meaning of feminism by ‘strutting’ around in their lingerie and trying to justify it – why should they? Feminism means something different to everyone. Some men and women have called her un-feminist for using her body in such a way, but she finds it empowering.
There were some bits that I questioned and disagreed with as I still have my own opinions on such matters, yet that is what makes us unique, especially if we can listen to others and understand their justification.
It is an empowering read, where she reveals how she celebrates her body, including carrying her son, yet it is disarming as she shares her experiences of being taken advantage of and exploited by men, and the industry – separate topics.
It’s easy to see why she has a skewed view of the modelling industry, and a difficult relationship with her body. I found it sad how she admits she felt successful when she got thinner, as the pay cheques got bigger. She was rewarded for her beauty which was something she ‘should be grateful for’.
Whilst she doesn’t draw upon the #MeToo movement, she reveals some of the disgusting behaviours she has been a victim of as a model to get such opportunities, where she must ‘accept it’ in her line of work. This is the experience for many young women (and men) in these types of industries, where they are taken advantage of to go ‘up in the world’. She’s had men place their hands in unwanted places on her body, taken pictures without her consent, where she has then been accused of attention seeking for something that was taken from her hands. But no, ‘she’s asked for it because she’s a model’. She is still human. She is just doing a job.
I felt uneasy reading these parts – but imagine being her.
From being assaulted in her teens, grabbed and touched in her sleep, and kissed, to receiving unwanted touching in the Blurred Lines music video which propelled her into fame. She was later blocked by Robin Thicke on social media – I wonder why?
Call me ignorant or not wanting to see it the other way, but I used to see it in a single-minded way that ‘she shouldn’t have done it’, but it’s a job and others still want that role filled. She needed money.
She admits her own conflict of how her body and beauty has brought her such opportunity such as modelling, acting, money and fame. This acknowledgment is mindful, but it leaves the question of what purpose does the book bring if she continues modelling the way she does? I don’t know the answer to that.
This is not an anti-male book. She’s exposing mistreatment of young models in the industry and abuse of power, and highlights the facts that have been hidden for so long and continue to be.
Rating – 4/5 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Genre – autobiography, memoir