Emily Ratajkowski has made recent headlines with her 2021 book "My Body," a collection of essays chronicling her personal experiences, and contains countless examples of how women's sexuality is obsessed over, manipulated and controlled, often by men.
Upon its publication, "My Body" was praised for its candidness and interrogation of beauty and power.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, she explained, “All of these are stories about my body in different ways, How it’s perceived, how I’ve used it, how it’s been used, what access it’s granted me, how it’s also made me at times feel like I’m nothing more than a body."
While "My Body" is specifically about her experience as a woman, Ratajkowski said she wrote it with an audience of men in mind.
During a conversation with Tory Burch at the Forbes Power Women’s Summit in New York on Sept. 15, Ratajkowski opened up the unexpected way her book unfolded. While writing, she thought about how a man would read it.
“When I wrote the book, I kept thinking about a man reading the essay and how they would interpret and how they would understand and comprehend things I was talking about,” Ratajkowski explained.
"I do think women have a shorthand (for) understanding of the female experience. I wanted to write as clearly and directly as I could so that if a man did want to read about my experiences, they would be able to understand it," she continued.
While the summit's focus is celebrating women whose voices are breaking ground in business and working toward equality, an overarching takeaway from the day was that it's crucial for men to be actively engaged in the conversation — and Ratajkowski's reasoning for making her book digestible for all audiences speaks to that.
“I always think that sexism is bad for everyone, including men. I think toxic masculinity is a huge issue, and we feel the ramifications of that, but also men live with that as well,” Ratajkowski explained, saying that it’s on her mind as a mother to 1-year-old son, Sylvester.
While many of her experiences in the book are about "men and power," the 31-year-old says she doesn't think all men are given the proper tools and perspectives to make change within themselves toward preventing sexist behavior.
"I was thinking about how unaware they were of the dynamics that they were participating in. Or you know, sometimes they are aware, but I don't think that they understand what they need to do differently," the entrepreneur said.
Ratajkowski said she hopes her writing delivers an educational insight.
“I think it’s really, really crucial to include men in those conversations,” she said. “I don’t think feminism should be a word that means that we’re just talking to ourselves. And that’s some somewhat what I hope to experience with the book."
Since it published in October 2021, Ratajkowski is happy to see that her book has sparked discussion and reaching a wide readership.
"I'm grateful to start conversations, which is really all I hope to do with the book, which I think it did," she said. "I like the idea that people have different feelings around the book, and who I am. I really just encourage people to read it, and form their own opinion."