Feminism has firmly been, quite rightly, rebranded as a badge of honour for both women and, indeed, men. It's no longer something to recoil from, or conceal, and Emily Ratjakowski is such a feminist, leading the way from the front (row) by putting one bold fashion foot forward at a time and disgarding her bra at will.
Emily regularly receives criticism for the way she dresses; some people, for instance, can't understand how can her feminist views can be reconciled with her choice of dress? Others can't get their heads around how a feminist could possibly bare her breasts at will in a barely there Jaquemus shirt dress, as Em Rata, as she's known to her 15.1 million followers, did last week? Well of course she bloody can! In fact, with one costume change she can switch up the titillation and show off her underboob in a racy Renaissance-esque sheer lace dress, if she should so please.
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Given her approach to attire, the headlines that circle around Emily are not about her views and instead place her breasts up front and centre. “Bra-vo. Buxom Emily almost spills out of her plunging white shirt dress as she bares her cleavage during Paris Fashion Week,” was one Daily Mail headline last week. And it's not just the headlines that need a rethink; it’s the education of certain readers on a female's right to dress as she wishes. One notable comment from a reader states, “put them away dear, you’ll be tripping over them soon.” Well, dear Daily Mail reader, a girl or guy can wear what one wants, whatever age they are.
I met Emily for the second time backstage at Dior's SS18 show just last week, where she was wearing a dress with a split hem that could send even a dead person’s pulse raising. What struck me about Emily was how she owned her own sexual liberation - she wasn’t controlling her clothing due to society’s expectations. When I questioned how one could toughen up a feminine look, she remarked, “Exactly how Dior does, it’s feminine silhouettes with a tougher edge. All of the models on the runway looked like they were going to work and I loved that.”
Emily wasn’t advocating that one could literally do the 9-5 in sheer gowns sprinkled with heavy helpings of sequins, she meant the Dior models WERKED what they wore. That's exactly what the Em Rata rationale on fashion is all about: wear whatever the hell you want to, but own it.
Thinking of this rationale I thought back to something Emily said to me last time we met in Paris: “The more I talk to people about feminism the more I realise that people don’t know the actual history of sexism and gender issues. Also then defining what feminism is which is just equality for women, because when you put it like that no one can stand against what you are saying.” And, if she was going to run a feminism school? “I would title the course, ‘get with it!’”
That’s just it, get with it. Emily is creating her own modern form of bra-burning. It’s a release of any clothing inhibitions and her dress decisions spell out loud and clear: “I am a female, I am proud of my body and no one can tell me how I adorn it.”
For someone who actually puts a lot of effort into the way she looks, Emily Ratajkowski is actually the queen of zero f**ks given dressing and we all should thank her for it.
Each week our Fashion and Celebrity Director, Josh Newis-Smith, selects his Woman of the Week. Check back next week for more fearless females.