You probably think Emily Ratajkowski is one of the most classically beautiful women in the world.
You’d be forgiven for assuming the LA model embodies society’s beauty ideals – especially after reading the thousands of comments peppered with adulation and *praise hands* emojis from her 13.8 million male and female followers on Instagram.
But, like most women, London-born Em Rata is not immune to body pressures and sometimes feels the sting of subliminal sexism when she’s casting for high end and couture modelling jobs – because her boobs are ‘too big’.
Emily was scouted for a career in fashion at the bright young age of 14, when she was growing up in California, and admits she ‘developed early’.
She hit the mainstream and won fangirls and boys worldwide – myself included – with the music video for Robin Thicke’s controversial chart hit Blurred Lines – which she’s since called ‘the bane of her existence’.
Since, Em has continued to rise to Instagram fashion fame and Hollywood super-stardom in her own right, famed for her artfully shot and sexually expressive selfies.
She starred alongside Ben Affleck in Gone Girl. Ratajkowksi has also gone onto feature in indie Netflix original, Easy, which follows the lives and loves of modern daters – she plays a selfie artist, of course.
You can watch her in action in the summer blockbuster, We Are Your Friends, alongside Zac Efron below:
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But the 26-year-old always returns to her love of fashion and activism, just as likely seen in a feminist slogan t-shirt as she is a high fashion floor-length gown.
She’s featured in shoots for Sports Illustrated, DKNY, and has appeared on the cover of Vogue worldwide as well as LOVE Magazine and W.
But she recently told Harper’s Bazaar that, despite her credentials – including a degree from NYU – she’s not always the most welcome on the catwalk or in the studio and is sometimes discriminated against.
Why? Because of her boobs.
She told Harper’s Bazaar:
There’s this thing that happens to me: ‘Oh, she’s too sexy’. It’s like an anti-woman thing, people don’t want to work with me because my boobs are too big.
What’s wrong with boobs? They’re a beautiful, feminine thing that need to be celebrated. Like, who cares? They are great big, they are great small. Why should that be an issue?
Now, before you conjure a picture of Emily – arguably one of the more successful beauties of the internet age of Instagram – playing her tiny violin it should be noted that the high end fashion industry doesn’t exactly accommodate for bigger breasts – or curves of any feminine kind for that matter.
Often, high fashion favours archaic ideals of demure clothing. Vogue once even announced that cleavage is over, setting sexual liberation and a woman’s choice to do what she pleases with her boobs back about a half century.
Although we put the curves of women like Em and her pal Kim Kardashian on a pedestal, some major fashion brands have done woefully little to reflect that on the high street market.
The average dress size in the UK is 16 and yet the plus size market constitutes only 12.4 percent of all clothing sales. There is a curve-phobia that fashion iconography perpetuates.
Emily uses her curves to fight back against the idea that a woman can’t be both sexy and serious – a damning sentiment which plays into her own struggle to find work in the elitist world of fashion.
Ratajkowski has even dubbed herself ‘an outlier in the industry’due to her dislike of imposing fitness regimes.
Emily has been critiqued by public antagonisers such as British journalist, Piers Morgan, who seems to think the supermodel fancies him and that she can’t be a feminist because she posts naked selfies.
It’s almost as though women who identify as feminists are supposed to solemnly walk around holding a placard and sheathed in clothes to hide the very biological manifestations of the gender they defend.
But she told Harper’s she has ‘no problem with the backlash’ to her expression of sexuality because she ‘feels it illustrates my point over and over’.
You keep doing you, Em Rata. Never change.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.