My Body, Emily Ratajkowski review: Candid essays on the fetishisation of girls, women and female beauty

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Emily Ratajkowski is well placed to write about the fetishisation of girls and female beauty in ‘The Body’  (xx)
Emily Ratajkowski is well placed to write about the fetishisation of girls and female beauty in ‘The Body’ (xx)

As Emrata, model, actor and entrepreneur, Emily Ratajkowski is the gold standard of social media influencer, having amassed nearly 30 million Instagram followers. In her book of essays, Ratajkowski, now 30, tries to evaluate the impact of modelling on her identity and politics. Most of the headlines preceding the book resulted from an allegation in an essay called “Blurred Lines”, named after the objectifying video for Robin Thicke’s song of the same name, in which Ratajkowski starred. She alleges that Thicke, displaying a “goofy grin”, groped her breasts – although this particular essay is more about the wider destructive problem of why some women are treated as nothing more than hired mannequins.

Ratajkowski, who at 16 was posing for a surfing magazine as their “Taste of the Month”, is well placed to write about the fetishisation of girls and female beauty. She is candid about her own compromises, her desire to make money out of her looks and the reality of desperately craving male validation.

There are oddities to her story, especially her curious relationship with a schoolteacher mother who encouraged her narcissism (“when she watched me, she was often calculating: examining and comparing,” admits Ratajkowski), but you feel she is genuinely trying to make sense of why she was driven to “hustle” her way to the top. She also offers her views on Britney Spears, Halle Berry, Pamela Anderson and her own topless role in Gone Girl. A lot of men come out of the book very badly. The most horrific revelations are about Ratajkowski’s experiences of being sexually abused, raped and exploited.

Emrata’s voice presumably carries huge weight and one can only hope that her critique of “a value system that revolves around men and their desire” has some impact on the minds of her young Insta fan base.

‘My Body’ by Emily Ratajkowski is published by Quercus on 9 November, £16.99

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