In a confession that will resonate with all people who have ever failed to get a job they wanted, actress and model Emily Ratajkowski announced that people do not want to work with her because she is “too sexy.”
The 26-year-old, who is best known for dancing in the music video for Robin Thicke’s politically unfortunate “Blurred Lines” and for her role in “Gone Girl”, told Harper’s Bazaar Australia:
It’s like an anti-woman thing, that people don’t want to work with me because my boobs are too big. What’s wrong with boobs? They’re a beautiful feminine thing that needs to be celebrated. Like, who cares? They are great big, they are great small. Why should that be an issue?
Here, Ratajkowski makes several great points. Boobs are indeed “a beautiful, feminine thing that needs to be celebrated.” Our culture’s ongoing confusion over the quandary that is boobs (how can they be sources of sexual pleasure and infant nutrition? how is a raven like a writing desk?) has put a damper on almost every boob-related fête I have attended. Boobs ARE great at all sizes. Boobs should NOT be an issue. Every writer who has ever been rejected because a publication found her talent too intimidating, every doctor who has ever been passed over professionally because she is too good at curing people, will sympathize with Ratajkowski’s plight.
In all seriousness—that women everywhere are subject to punishing and demanding beauty standards developed by and for men is not up for debate. That these standards have a riddle-like complexity (she must be excessively beautiful in a subtle way—wildly sexy yet modest—sensual and maternal!) is obvious. And that there are real cases where women have lost out on jobs because some male interviewers are so mentally underdeveloped that they cannot stop sexualizing beautiful or large breasted women is just true.
But since Emily Ratajkowski is an actress and model, perhaps the two fields that place the highest premium on women’s looks, it is hard to imagine that she is a victim of absurd beauty standards, rather than a victor.
Much like losing out professionally for being considered “too sexy”, Ratajkowski’s claim that her views are “feminist” cuts both ways—on one hand, powerful Jewish celebrities claiming feminism is exciting. On the other hand, Ratajkowski has once again invited us to enter into blurred lines.
Regardless of whether or not Ratajkowski’s claim is true, I pray that someday her boobs bring her nothing but joy, hope, and above all, work.
Jenny Singer is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny.