Though she works in the entertainment industry, actress and model Emily Ratajkowski is also actively engaged in politics. She recently endorsed Bernie Sanders for president.
Last week, she introduced the candidate at a rally and posted the video on Facebook. While most of the video's comments were extremely positive, some trolls seemed to have a problem with a model freely speaking her mind. The haters wrote that she was an "idiot" and "dumb" in the video. They objectified her by writing, "show us your tits" and "stick with taking your clothes off."
This week, Ratajkowski penned a personal essay for Lenny Letter to defend her personal expression and to inspire other women in her situation.
In her essay, the model revealed that her negative experience with the commenters was nothing new. She said that when she was a teenager, adults would often make her feel uncomfortable with her developing body and sexuality.
"A vice principal snapped my bra strap in front of an entire room of my classmates and other teachers. She did it because the strap was falling out from my tank top and that broke the school's dress code," Ratajkowski wrote in the essay. "Our family member sobbed to my mother and me at dinner after; she was worried for me, worried about the looks I got from men, because I was wearing what I was wearing. I needed to protect myself, she explained."
Realizing that many other women have had similar experiences, Ratajkowski shared her definition of the word "sexy" — and explained why women should be free to embrace it.
"To me, 'sexy' is a kind of beauty," she wrote. "A kind of self-expression, one that is to be celebrated, one that is wonderfully female. Why does the implication have to be that sex is a thing men get to take from women and women give up? Most adolescent women are introduced to "sexy" women through porn or Photoshopped images of celebrities. Is that the only example of a sexual woman we will provide to the young women of our culture? Where can girls look to see women who find empowerment in deciding when and how to be or feel sexual? Even if being sexualized by society's gaze is demeaning, there must be a space where women can still be sexual when they choose to be."
(H/T: Huffington Post)