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My Body by Emily Ratajkowski
Essays

My Body

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Emily Ratajkowski, on your first book!

by Emily Ratajkowski

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Quick take

How should a woman be? These sharp, vibrant essays offer one woman's heartfelt and rich search for answers.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Feminist

    Feminist

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SocialIssues

    Social issues

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_WellKnownAuthor

    Famous author

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Buzzy

    Buzzy

Synopsis

Emily Ratajkowski is an acclaimed model and actress, an engaged political progressive, a formidable entrepreneur, a global social media phenomenon, and now, a writer. Rocketing to world fame at age twenty-one, Ratajkowski sparked both praise and furor with the provocative display of her body as an unapologetic statement of feminist empowerment. The subsequent evolution in her thinking about our culture’s commodification of women is the subject of this book.

My Body is a profoundly personal exploration of feminism, sexuality, and power, of men's treatment of women and women's rationalizations for accepting that treatment. These essays chronicle moments from Ratajkowski’s life while investigating the culture’s fetishization of girls and female beauty, its obsession with and contempt for women’s sexuality, the perverse dynamics of the fashion and film industries, and the grey area between consent and abuse.

Nuanced, unflinching, and incisive, My Body marks the debut of a fierce writer brimming with courage and intelligence.

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Content warning

This book contains mentions of sexual assault.

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Get an early look from the first pages of My Body.
My Body

Introduction

When it was released in the summer of 2020, Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B’s viral single and music video “WAP” (an acronym for “Wet-Ass Pussy”) exploded, receiving 25.5 million views within twenty-four hours and debuting at number one on the US and global charts, becoming the first female collaboration ever to do so. Soon after, the internet was consumed with a debate about the hypersexual aspects of the lyrics and video. Many cultural commentators praised the song as a sex-positive anthem and claimed that, in rapping about explicit sexual details and their desires, Cardi and Megan were asserting their agency and enacting an overdue role reversal. Others argued that the song and video were setting feminism back a hundred years.

The last time a music video sparked such a heated debate around women’s empowerment and sexuality was in 2013, with “Blurred Lines,” cowritten and performed by Robin Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I. The video featured three women dancing around almost completely naked. I was one of those women.

“Blurred Lines” propelled me to overnight fame at age twenty-one. To date, the censored version, which partially conceals our nakedness, received approximately 721 million views on YouTube and the song is one of the best-selling singles of all time. The “uncensored” version was removed from YouTube soon after its release, citing violations of the site’s terms of service; it was restored and then taken down again, only adding to its controversial allure.

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Why I love it

I had the fortune of coming to Emily Ratajkowski’s writing without knowing much about her. I didn’t know her definition within our cultural lexicon, and I didn’t know why she was famous. This is a blessing that most readers won’t have—to meet her on her own terms—but that’s also what makes My Body even more impressive. A woman with so much visibility and influence has put herself into such an honest space. Her essays take down the artifice of celebrity and reveal a curious and unflinching human being asking hard ethical questions of society and herself.

While none of us can imagine what it’s like to be Emily Ratajkowski, what’s so remarkable about her essays is that her story is relatable. Ratajkowski takes us through her childhood and adolescence and shows us the confusing titillation of navigating sexuality and power. In “Beauty Lessons” I found myself wondering: When did I first learn about the male gaze? In “Toxic” I asked myself: When did I first internalize that gaze? And in “Transactions” I asked, When did I become complicit in it? Reading “Men Like You” and “Buying Myself Back,” I recalled the times I’ve said “No,” and it wasn’t clear enough or loud enough or it didn’t matter. In Ratajkowski’s stories there was my own young person’s naivete about the systems that bind us—but also the evolving relationship to my body and to my voice and how I want to use them within those systems. These are big topics, questions of a lifetime, and Ratajkowski isn’t insinuating that she has an answer. I think one of the gifts of this book is that she seems to know this work is never finished. The growth is in continuing to try.

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Member ratings (2,995)

  • Kathryn G.

    Dayton, OH

    There is a story here for everyone, but especially women. I enjoyed the essay structure. The author didn’t try to answer all questions about gender, but rather explored her own personal experiences.

  • Annie P.

    Louisville, KY

    Emily does a great job articulating her complicated feelings about her body- especially in terms of her political views. She details different times she formed impressions about herself in her career.

  • Roxanne L.

    Frankfort, KY

    Emily provides thoughtful essays that make you pause to consider the standards of power, beauty and success we all hold ourselves to. And how we view the power, beauty and success of those around us.

  • Megan R.

    Louisville, KY

    Powerful!!! I admittedly didn’t think much about her before she wrote her memoir. A good reminder that there is always more to people. I also appreciate her courage in opening up about past trauma.

  • Jamie H.

    Lodi, CA

    This is a very strong collection of essays that, despite the author's status as a supermodel, is incredibly relatable as a woman. I would recommend this to any woman or young woman over the age of 16.

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