Emily Ratajkowski defends sexy spaghetti video: 'I want to do what I want to do'

Mandy Velez
Contributing Writer
(Photo: Instagram/Emily Rataojwski)

Emily Ratajkowski insists that she can both voice her political beliefs and pose for sexy photo shoots, thank you very much.

After a video of the model slathering herself in spaghetti was released on Sunday by LOVE magazine, she was criticized — most notably by Piers Morgan — for using feminism as her reason for participating in the project.

On Twitter, Morgan invoked Emmeline Pankhurst, a leader of the British suffragette movement, to say that she would have been disgusted by Ratajkowski’s display, adding, “I hope my daughter aspires to a more substantial feminist ideal than writhing semi-naked in spaghetti for publicity & Instagram likes.”

In his assessment, Morgan takes issue with the accompanying interview Ratajkowski had with the publication, in which the 26-year-old revealed that she believes feminism is about taking a stand for something, even if that means being sexy.

“Personal choice is the core ideal in my concept of feminism,” she said. “Katie [Grand, LOVE’s editor] directed us to say ‘Stay Strong’ at the end of each video and I think it’s a message from one woman to another. You’re watching a video of a girl grinding in lingerie or whatever else and she is looking into the camera at the end saying, ‘you do you, however YOU want to, f*** the rest’.”

For the last three years, the U.K. magazine has released a version of an advent calendar featuring a new A-list woman every day of December, leading up to Christmas. Kendall Jenner, Ashley Graham, and Bella Hadid have each made an appearance so far, each starring in a video that promotes their strength as a woman.

“It’s festive, it’s fun and it’s everything we love about women enjoying being women, on their own terms,” LOVE editor Katie Grand said on the project page.

Ratajkowski responded to Morgan’s shaming in a tweet, reiterating her point.

“Lol never said my love video was a feminist statement. But now it’s worth saying that telling women what to do with their bodies & sexuality is actually just classic sexism,” she wrote. “I can have opinions about feminism & also do sexy photo shoots k thanks.”

She added in a separate note, “In the wake of Harvey fallout and women coming forward with incredible amounts of sexual harassment cases, I have been so disappointed to hear women talk about ‘modesty’ and ‘our responsibility’ as if we need to, yet again, adjust to make it ‘easier’ for the rest of the world. I’m tired of having to consider how I might be perceived by men if I wear the short skirt or post a sexy Instagram. I want to do what I want to do. Feminism isn’t about adjusting, it’s about freedom and choice.”

Others, including journalist Anila Dhami, also sprang to Ratajkowski’s defense, tweeting to Morgan that his comments had proved Ratajkowski’s point.

Piers Morgan had called her “stupid” for imagining that feminism had anything to do with her sexy, spaghetti-filled shoot, but she firmly pushed back.

“I don’t care about your reaction or what you do with my expression of self. In fact, it has nothing to do with you at all and that’s the point-which is why it feels good,” continued. “Ultimately, if a woman wants to wear a burka or nothing at all, it’s great if it’s what she wants and feels good about.”

Ratajkowski has long stood up for her right to celebrate her sex appeal and her view that women who want to be sexy should have the choice to do so without feeling slut-shamed for it.

“To me, female sexuality and sexiness, no matter how conditioned it may be by a patriarchal ideal, can be incredibly empowering for a woman if she feels it is empowering to her,” she told the magazine during her video shoot. “The way I dress, act, flirt, dance, have sex — those are my decisions and they shouldn’t be impacted by men.”

She also cited the Harvey Weinstein allegations as a reason for women not to let men dictate the choices they make about their bodies, arguing that invoking “modesty” and “responsibility” is yet another way they do so.

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