emily ratajkowski defends her right to makeup and shaven armpits

Instagram's second favorite selfie queen isn't finished sticking it to the haters.

by Hannah Ongley
06 April 2016, 7:21pm


If it wasn't for Emily Ratajkowski, Robin Thicke's controversial 2013 music video for "Blurred Lines" would likely never have clocked up 445 million YouTube views. At the time, the girl then known as "the Blurred Lines model" attracted the scorn of the internet's morality police for prancing around confidently in nothing other than tiny briefs and red lipstick. Three years later, and with some very legit high fashion and movie gigs under her belt, the model/actress/feminist is drawing yet more wrath by daring to exert control over the image that most men with an internet connection have slobbered over. Is she the most loved or the most hated girl on the internet? It entirely depends on who you ask. One thing is for sure: she's one of the most awesome.

Ratajkowski's somewhat newfound role as a feminist heroine came to a head when she stepped in to defend Kim Kardashian's now-infamous naked selfie last month. "What to wear tonight?" she humorously posted to Instagram next to a photo of herself nude in a bathroom. For every Instagram like, love-heart emoji, or other form of endorsement, there was an ill-informed random completely missing the point — that her nearly-nude selfies are nothing to with men, and everything to do with ownership. Then there were those who suggested Ratajkowski couldn't be subverting the male gaze — couldn't even call herself a feminist — because she had nice hair and makeup. To those people, she's just issued a typically badass response reminding the world that being a feminist doesn't (always) mean never wearing lipstick and growing out your armpit hair.

"We're existing in a patriarchal society, yes, and the standards of beauty are a response to that," she recently explained to WWD. "That doesn't mean I need to act outside of it, I can act within it to make a point. For example, I wear makeup but that doesn't mean I'm not a feminist. I may wear makeup that enhances my features [and] that plays into the standard of beauty that has been set up by a patriarchal society but I'm living within it. I'm not wearing the makeup to please men, I'm wearing it to please myself. I also am not growing out my armpit hair in protest of patriarchy. I wear a bra. Those are things that I don't feel I need to reject to make a statement about my sexuality."

She's entirely correct, of course, even without bringing up that she would still conform to entrenched beauty standards with dark circles and armpit hair. Before the naked selfie outrage Ratajkowski penned a poignant Lenny essay discussing the politics of looking sexy. "I refuse to live in this world of shame and silent apologies," she wrote. "Life cannot be dictated by the perceptions of others, and I wish the world had made it clear to me that people's reactions to my sexuality were not my problems, they were theirs." It's true that the body she's Instagramming is unattainable to 99.9% of the female population — but men can't have it either. That's really what a large portion of the haters are angry about.


Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Instagram

Blurred Lines
Emily Ratajkowski
naked selfie