At the age of 21, Emily Ratajkowski was catapulted into the spotlight with an appearance in a scandalous music video. At the time, she saw the marketing of her sexuality as an act of self-empowerment – today she sees it differently.
In her book "My Body", now published in German, Emily Ratajkowski shares very personal stories and thoughts from her life in the form of several essays. As a young girl she prayed for attractiveness: "I want to be the most beautiful", she repeated over and over again, said the now 30-year-old, who began modeling at the age of 13.
Ratajkowski became internationally known at the age of 21 through the music clip for "Blurred Lines" (2013). In it, she dances half-naked alongside two other young women and musicians Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell Williams. The video sparked a heated debate about female emancipation and sexuality.
At the same time, Ratajkowski became a sex symbol for many around the world. How self-evidently I believed that the most desirable women were also the most powerful,” she writes in her book. She believed all women were sexualized to some degree. To decide for herself and to use it to her own advantage, she considered a proof of her strength.
Today, the model sees things differently and takes a critical look at sexuality and power relations in her essays. Ratajkowski also describes several incidents of abuse that happened to her within the modeling and entertainment industry. She had become accustomed to suppressing painful experiences that did not coincide with her beliefs.
Perhaps she had not been able to deal with it before. Otherwise she would have had to admit to herself how small her power really was. "These men were in control, not the women the world was excited about", Ratajkowski writes. "I only got my influence and status because I appealed to men."
Emily Ratajkowski – "My Body" as liberation.
For the marketing of her sexuality she was undeniably rewarded. It also gave her a certain autonomy, but did not lead to true emancipation, Ratajkowski writes in "My Body". "I have only gained that now, with the writing of these essays, in which I have lent a voice to my thoughts and experiences."
Emily Ratajkowski: My Body. Penguin Verlag, Munich, translated by Stephanie Singh, 240 pages, EUR 20,00, ISBN: 978-3-328-60250-7
With material from dpa