Perhaps. For her whole career, the language of objectification has followed Ratajkowski like a ravenous hound, waiting for her to throw down her guard. Her status as an intelligent and well-read woman, along with her support for socialist ideals, has further heightened the rising expectation that famously beautiful women be able to explain the act of being famously beautiful politically. Ratajkowski became an avatar for the weariness of a pop-feminist framework when she was caught in the wrong video at the wrong time; if the author of “My Body” can’t determine whether her success has been empowering or not, it’s because this is a trick question.
It is only by changing one’s body into an item that one may sell it; only by selling it can one get food, shelter, prestige, influence, and, yes, “power.” This is true for the cheapest sex worker as it is for the most famous actress; it is also true for Amazon employees, short-order chefs, and (my neck hurts as I write this) magazine writers. I’m not making fun of our differences; I’m just stating that the experience of being a paid object is so common as to be insignificant. That feminists to select out a tiny part of this experience related to female sexuality for condemnation reveals, at least in Ratajkowski’s instance, a needless exaggeration of male power’s breadth.
As a result, the finest portions of “My Body” are when Ratajkowski understands that focusing about something else is the best way to stop worrying about the masculine gaze. “I’m enamoured with ladies,” she admits. When Ratajkowski arrived on the set of “Blurred Lines,” she was relieved to see that director Diane Martel had stacked the crew with women; Thicke and the song’s other co-writers were not even there for several hours. Ratajkowski recalls wriggling around in her platform sneakers “ridiculously, loosely, the way I’d entertain my pals.” Today’s “Blurred Lines” video is definitely self-parodic.
However, the blurred borders between one woman and the next, which are unacceptable to misogynists and many feminists alike, will most certainly vanish with Ratajkowski’s claims that a drunk Robin Thicke caressed her naked breasts during the shoot. “I felt exposed for the first time that day,” she says, embarrassed that it took her years to recognise it as sexual harassment. The charges have already made their way into the tabloids, where Ratajkowski has been portrayed as a defenceless victim. “Remind me why I agreed to do this?” she responded after The New York Post described her childhood as “sad” and “sexualized.”
Many tales of sexual and other forms of violation are included in the book. In one piece, Ratajkowski is unable to say to herself, “Owen, no,” until after the death of her first lover, whom she claims raped her when she was 14. (Owen is a pen name.) Ratajkowski is perplexed in “Buying Myself Back” when she is sued for posting a paparazzi photo to Instagram; horrified when hackers leak her nudes on 4chan; and enraged when Jonathan Leder, who she claims digitally penetrated her without her consent, publishes Polaroids of her with an allegedly forged release form.
However, the author of “My Body” has no belief in herself as a victim. If the guys who attack Ratajkowski in “My Body” are predators, she does not portray them as such. They are, on the contrary, little, insecure people anxious to show themselves, as pitiful as they are strong. Ratajkowski is eager to clarify out that her experiences are neither dissolving, even when terrible, nor particularly unusual; her argument is simply that they belong to no one except her.