Forget Blurred Lines, We Love Emily Ratajkowski For Her Stance On Sexuality & Empowerment

emily-ratajkowski

We all know her as one of the girls featured in the controversial music video for ‘Blurred Lines’ but there is so much more to model Emily Ratajkowski than the media will have you believe. Despite being known for her racy photo shoots, that pouty mouth and getting her kit off in the movie ‘Gone Girl’, this dynamic young woman is way more than just a pretty face, don’t let the dominant narrow narrative cloud your judgement.

Her latest gig is what made us sit up and take more notice of Emily. Unlike back in the old days where models were meant to be seen not heard, it seems there is a whole generation of young women proving that there is more to being a fashion and beauty icon than what’s on the outside. Kate Upton, another new generation model who became famous for her curvy body and Bardot-esque blonde locks, has proved this over and over again, and now Emily is making a move that is defying her critics.

Earlier this year she defended her decisions to take off her clothes in front of the camera, shutting down haters.

“I think you can be a sexual woman, empowered and be a feminist. I think sexuality should be empowering to women, it’s not always misogynistic or exploitative,” she told the Daily Mail.

In the November 2014 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine she also said something to a similar effect.

“I feel lucky to wear what I want, sleep with whom I want, and dance how I want, and still be a feminist,” she said, which became a statement of much discussion on various blogs and websites.

Is she a REAL feminist or isn’t she? Is she just using a word that is so in fashion right now? And does she realize that using her sexuality and body to sell a product is not exactly empowering? These are the questions that have come up quite frequently, even amongst our team. But like Miley Cyrus, Emily is slowly becoming part of a core group of female celebrities who aren’t afraid to challenge the standards when it comes to female sexuality and say that sexuality isn’t just something that is controlled by men or an industry.

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Showing how much female sexuality and being empowered by it means to her, Emily has now teamed up with Planned Parenthood to remind young women about the importance of birth control.

“Emily is outspoken about female empowerment and about the importance of having conversations around how women are portrayed in the media.  She joins a passionate group of young talent who speak out on Planned Parenthood’s behalf and we thank her for this important work,” said Caren Spruch, senior advisor of arts & entertainment engagement at Planned Parenthood in a statement.

“We’re thrilled to have both Emily and Refinery 29 helping spread the word about the importance of birth control for young women. When it comes to education, health, and economic opportunities for women, access to birth control has entirely transformed this country over the last 50 years,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

It seems a fitting time for Planned Parenthood to remind America of the valuable services they provide, especially in areas where women have little to no access to vital healthcare and reproductive options, and are forced to make often dangerous decisions about their bodies in a desperate measure. Despite the onslaught of anti-choice groups who are hell bent on fabricating videos for their own cause, the issue of female sexuality being expressed in a healthy and empowered way will not be diminished.

In an interview with Refinery29 who also helped create the video of the campaign featuring Emily (below), she talks about how female sexuality is portrayed in the media and why women need to take back their own narrative.

“Talking about birth control, but also the empowerment of women and sexuality, is unfortunately still a taboo issue, which is really a shame. And for me, I could have used more examples growing up, especially coming into my own sexuality, of women who are in the public eye that are comfortable and not afraid of being associated with that issue,” she said.

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We love it when Beyonce stands in front of a feminist sign, and we love that Miley Cyrus is passionate about empowering homeless youth, but the minute they wear an outfit deemed too skimpy or control their own sexuality, the media (and subsequently the rest of society) is quick to brush them off as “too much”.

Everyone wants to listen when Lady Gaga has something important to say about gay rights, and we all love citing the fact that Nicki Minaj is the biggest selling female rapper of all time, but to break these barriers in the first place each of these women, and now Emily included, had to be willing to be controversial and show audiences that female sexuality shouldn’t only be acceptable when it is being exploited by men.

“I think it’s a really interesting indication, not only that this issue is still taboo and that people are afraid to be political, but that it is something women still feel ashamed of. You have women who are brave enough to carry a mattress through graduation with them because even though it means that might be the thing they’re defined by, they know how important the issue is. And, I feel the same way,” said Emily in regard to the fact that more female celebrities don’t talk about the positive effects of sexuality and birth control.

She went on to say that finding joy in her own sexuality has empowered her both personally and professionally.

“I’ve spent my life feeling unashamed of my womanhood and confident in myself, and that has made navigating life less complicated in a misogynistic society, in my industry, and in my relationships with men and my friendships with other women.”

We can choose to limit women in their lives and close our eyes to the deeper issues about sexuality, or we as a society of empowered women can choose to find ways to support each other and understand that having a healthy view on our own sexuality is not un-feminist or slutty, it is important. It’s no surprise therefore that the states with the highest teen pregnancy rates teach abstinence-only education. Perhaps it’s time we take a look at the realities of being young men and women and stop denying that sexuality exists, instead equip ourselves with information and ideals that seek to empower, not shame.

Take a look at the Planned Parenthood video below for yourself:

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