Emily Ratajkowski pens essay on sexuality: “I continue to be shocked by how, in 2019, we look down so much on women who like to play with what it means to be sexy.”

Model/Actress Emily Ratajkowski has penned a thoughtful new essay for Harper’s Bazaar‘s new September 2019 issue, in which she explores sexuality and what it means to be hyper-feminine.

In her piece, Emily details a moment a few years back when a friend referred to her as “hyper femme,” and how it initially offended her.

“The truth is, I thought, I love being feminine,” Emily writes.

The actress reveals that her love for being feminine started as early as 12, when she had “a distinct desire to try on lacy bras and thick gooey lip gloss.”

“It felt fun and exciting,” she writes. “Sure, I’m positive that most of my early adventures investigating what it meant to be a girl were heavily influenced by misogynistic culture. Hell, I’m also positive that many of the ways I continue to be ‘sexy’ are heavily influenced by misogyny. But it feels good to me, and it’s my damn choice, right? Isn’t that what feminism is about—choice?”

“Despite the countless experiences I’ve had in which I was made to feel extremely ashamed and, at times, even gross for playing with sexiness, it felt good to play with my feminine side then, and it still does now. I like feeling sexy in the way that makes me, personally, feel sexy. Period.”

Emily reveals the root cause of why she initially felt negative about being referred to as “femme.”

“I realized then that my feeling was in part because of those countless experiences—experiences in which men and women had told me that if I dressed a certain way I wouldn’t be taken seriously and could even be put in danger,” she wrote. “A middle school teacher’s comment, ‘You can’t expect anyone to respect you,’ echoed through my head.”

“Still, despite all the uncomfortable remarks and warnings, being ‘sexy’ and occasionally hyper feminine grew into something that felt like strength to me. And also, it just felt like me, which was ultimately the most satisfying feeling.”

“As a fully grown woman, I continue to be shocked by how, in 2019, we look down so much on women who like to play with what it means to be sexy.”

Emily then explores society’s treatment of women and their sexuality:

“As a culture we are scared of women generally, but also, more specifically, of the innate power that female sexuality possesses. A woman becomes too powerful and thus threatening when she takes strength from embracing her sex. Therefore we insist on shaming; we insist that a woman loses something when she flaunts or embraces her sexuality.”

“Personally, I have found the opposite to be true. I feel powerful when I’m feeling myself, and sometimes feeling myself means wearing a miniskirt. Sometimes it means wearing a giant hoodie and sweats. Sometimes I feel particularly strong and free when I don’t wear a bra under a tank top. That’s just me, in that moment.”

At the end of the day, Emily says that everybody should be treated with respect — no matter how they choose to present themselves.

“If I had chosen not to wear that tank without a bra, that would have been okay too. If I decide to shave my armpits or grow them out, that’s up to me,” she writes. “For me, body hair is another opportunity for women to exercise their ability to choose—a choice based on how they want to feel and their associations with having or not having body hair. On any given day, I tend to like to shave, but sometimes letting my body hair grow out is what makes me feel sexy. And there is no right answer, no choice that makes me more or less of a feminist, or even a ‘bad feminist,’ to borrow from Roxane Gay. As long as the decision is my choice, then it’s the right choice. Ultimately, the identity and sexuality of an individual is up to them and no one else.”

“I’m definitely not saying that every woman needs to connect with their inner Thotiana; I’m just making the point that women can and should be able to wear or represent themselves however they want, whether it’s in a burka or a string bikini.”

You can read Emily’s full essay here!


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Emily Ratajkowski pens essay on sexuality: “I continue to be shocked by how, in 2019, we look down so much on women who like to play with what it means to be sexy.”

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