Emily Ratajkowski is opening up about her thoughts on raising girls.
In a new joint interview with author Lisa Taddeo for ELLE, the model talked about why she was “relieved” when she found out that she was having a boy—even though she initially wanted a daughter. (EmRata welcomed her son, Sylvester Apollo Bear, with husband Sebastian Bear-McClard in March.)
Taddeo, who is known for her nonfiction examination of female sexuality, Three Women, said that becoming a mother has changed the way she thinks about the male gaze—a feminist term for the way male-dominated society treats women as objects. “My daughter is six, and I sometimes see the way that men look at her,” she said. “I’m so hyper-aware of it, because of having experienced my own stuff in the past. I’m always staring at my daughter, looking to see where the danger might be coming from. That is such a frightening thing, that I’ve now put the male gaze on my own daughter. It haunts me.”
EmRata said that she shared a similar sentiment when she was still unsure of her baby’s sex. “I wanted a daughter initially, but when I found out I was having a son, I was so relieved,” the model and My Body author said.”I want more children, so it might be something I deal with later—being sexualized way before puberty and being aware of it. I have a memory: I did a sexy move down the wall of my parents’ kitchen. I was probably in first grade and my parents were like, ‘Where did you learn that?’ I was like, ‘I fricking learned it. That’s what women do.'”
EmRata has previously spoken about her struggles to define her own desires for herself and not through the male gaze. In a 2019 essay for BAZAAR, she wrote,”I’m positive that most of my early adventures investigating what it meant to be a girl were heavily influenced by misogynistic culture. Hell, I’m also positive that many of the ways I continue to be ‘sexy’ are heavily influenced by misogyny. But it feels good to me, and it’s my damn choice, right? Isn’t that what feminism is about—choice?”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.
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