Actress Emily Ratajkowski is schooling us all in third-wave feminism. The 25-year-old sat down with author and activist Naomi Wolf for a nuanced discussion about the state of women’s sexuality in the August issue of Harper’s BAZAAR. And because a nuanced discussion isn’t a nuanced discussion if nobody hears it, she made sure to shout it from a mountaintop by posing naked on a white horse in the accompanying photo shoot.
“Sex is normal. Desire is normal. Attention is normal, and that’s okay,” she says during in the interview. It’s a line that could be a mantra for the whole conversation in which the two discuss selfies (“and interesting way to reclaim the gaze”) and sexuality (“any woman is sexual.”) Read more highlights from the conversation below.
On hitting puberty early
“I really was more sexual than my classmates. My teachers, my boyfriends, my parents’ friends didn’t understand how complex it all was. Because of third-wave feminism, I understood that there are all these fucked-up ideals of beauty put on young women; that there was something to be scared about in the entertainment world. But yet the people I knew in my everyday life, they [didn’t realize] their faux pas, their missteps, and since they knew me it was that much harder because the comments felt personal. . . .Once I had a teacher, who was a woman, snap my bra because she was mad that it was showing. She did it in front of the class.”
On double (and triple) standards
“You know, when Lena Dunham takes her clothes off, she gets flack, but it’s also considered brave; when Justin Bieber takes off his shirt, he’s a grown up. But when a woman who is sexual takes off her top, it plays into something.”
On on how her selfie with Kim Kardashian came about
“I didn’t know her personally, but Kim posted this naked selfie in March, and there were black bars on her private areas. And there was this uproar, especially from Piers Morgan, who wrote this whole thing about “she’s a mother, she’s 35, it’s ridiculous. . . . That made me really angry. She wrote a few tweets responding to all the hate she was getting from this post, and then Piers said Kanye [West] had written those tweets, which also infuriated me to no end. . . . So I issued a series of tweets; she sent me flowers, thanking me, which was very sweet. We ended up running into each other and had this idea to take a similar selfie with our middle fingers up.”
On the so-called “attention-seeking” behavior of women
“The whole idea is that when Kim takes a nude selfie, she’s just seeking attention. That’s not the issue. A woman can be seeking attention and also make a statement. They don’t need to be mutually exclusive.”