Review: My Body by Emily Ratajkowski’s-Hardcover – November 9 2021-A Quercus publication.

“My body is best understood as a series of incontinent musings, which skip back and forth over her 30 years of existence. She effectively treats the reader as a therapist, much like the real one she says she sees twice a week”.[1]

Ella Whelan

“The wealth of societies in which a capitalistic mode of production prevails appears as a ‘gigantic collection of commodities’, and the singular commodity appears as the elementary form of wealth. Our investigation begins accordingly with the analysis of the commodity. A commodity is first an external object, a thing which satisfies through its qualities human needs of one kind or another. The nature of these needs is irrelevant, e.g., whether their origin is in the stomach or in the fancy. We are also not concerned here with the manner in which the entity satisfies human need, whether in an immediate way as food – that is, as an object of enjoyment – or by a detour as means of production.

Karl Marx[2]

“The expression ‘the emperor’s new clothes’ or variants like ‘the emperor has no clothes’ are difficult to explain briefly and are most easily understood by looking at its source, that is, Hans Christian Anderson’s fable The Emperor’s New Clothes, 1837.”

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/the-emperors-new-clothes.html

There are no two ways about it. This is a terrible book, and it looks like the only reason it was published is to make the author and the publisher significant amounts of money. In the words of one reviewer, it is “shallow, solipsistic and more self-indulgent than a teenager’s diary”. From an intellectual standpoint, the book barely rises above a Mills and Boon book. Any young woman looking to navigate this world would probably find more insight in a Mills and Boon book or the pages of Tit-bits[3] than this so-called collection of essays. Also, it is stretching things to call these meanderings a collection of essays. 

Ratajkowski’s claims to be more than a supermodel woman. She writes that “it is “frustrating that society somehow feels that women cannot be political, feminist, and a sex symbol’. This claim does not hold water. There is no real politics here.  “I love wearing lacy thongs” is not exactly a Communist Manifesto. Given that we have just passed through the greatest capitalist crisis since the 1930s and witnessed millions of people needlessly dying from a virus, Ratajkowski’s says nothing about these developments in her self indulgent comic book. 

You cannot blame parents for everything a child does in later life, but Ratajkowski’s parents must take some responsibility for Ratajkowski’s God-given body and her drive to make as much money out of it as she can. Her rape and sexual assault allegations by teenage boyfriends, photographers, must be taken seriously and should have involved a police investigation. Unfortunately, Ratajkowski sees them as simply an occupational hazard. It is bizarre that she even went to the funeral of one of her alleged rapists. 

Ratajkowski‘s book, if unwittingly, is a condemnation of the #MeToo movement. Her tedious musings are the product of a movement that is not genuinely carrying out a revolutionary struggle against the capitalist system. All they want is a slice of the pie, no matter the cost. I cannot entirely agree with everything Ella Whelan writes, but she is spot on when she writes about Ratajkowski “she also seems to revel in her perceived lack of agency. She is always at the mercy of men and the male gaze. At one point, Ratajkowski writes of how, while holidaying on an island, she realized that making money from a picture of her backside was not particularly empowering. ‘The whole of the ocean stretched out before me’, she writes, ‘and yet I felt trapped there is something discomfiting, too, about Ratajkowski’s attitude to the sexist (and rather dangerous-sounding) male promoters, fixers and bookers she encounters. On the one hand, she condemns and criticizes them. Yet she’s still happy to accept their favours, which, in one case, included a free trip to Coachella… tickets to the festival, a place to stay, and a ride out to the desert in a limo bus.

It is reminiscent of the way dozens of Hollywood actresses, at the peak of #MeToo, condemned the despicable Harvey Weinstein and said they always knew he was a creep – yet they were all too happy to keep schtum about his misogyny at the time so they could pursue their careers. Plenty of us have been in similar situations, of course. But, unlike Ratajkowski, we would not expect others to sympathize with us for putting ourselves first”.[4]

One of the more dangerous aspects of the #MeToo movement is its complete disregard and trampling on the democratic rights of its victims. One such right is innocent until proven guilty as Eric London points out, “the right to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is among the foundational principles upon which many other significant legal protections depend. If the accused are presumed guilty, then the right to counsel, the right to cross-examine witnesses, and the right to remain silent would be substantially weakened”.[5]

Ratajkowski’s so-called left politics (she wore a Bernie Sanders tee-shirt) are a fake. Her politics are more geared to making even more money than prosecuting a real struggle against capitalism. Using one quote on vanity from John Berger’s Ways of Seeing does not make her a revolutionary. Berger was not a Marxist, but now and again, he had something worth saying. As David Walsh wrote, “since Berger’s death a month ago, numerous “left” media obituaries have recounted the events of his life, explained that he was a political radical and egalitarian in his views, noted both his influences and those he influenced, and pointed out how humane and informed his views were. He was a “non-party” or “contradictory” socialist, an iconoclast, who eschewed fame and fortune, choosing to live for decades in a remote rural part of France. These facts are accurate enough, as far as they go, but the obituaries generally avoid the more complex questions, especially in regard to someone habitually, if mistakenly, referred to as a “Marxist” critic.[6]

Maybe Ratajkowski should have used this quote from Berger, which would have made her point slightly more believable “The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity but a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied … but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.”[7]

One of the more troubling aspects stemming from this book has been the sheer volume of sycophantic reviews. It would appear that a large number of highly paid writers have not only lost their heads but their grip on reality. Maybe they like Ratajkowski, do not give a rats arse about artistic integrity unless it makes them some money. There is an air of the emperor’s new clothes about most of these reviews.

Whether she likes it or not, Ratajkowski has become a commodity to be bought and sold to the highest bidder, no matter how corrupt. From a moral standpoint, I fear for her soul. But I somehow doubt Ratajkowski cares that much. She has a very nice bed in which to play. On a more serious note, I would encourage any young woman looking to navigate her way through life can do no worse than study the work of a real revolutionary, Rosa Luxemburg, whose work can be found at the Marxist Internet Archive[8] 


[1] https://www.spiked-online.com/author/ella-whelan/

[2] The Commodity- Marx 1867 (Capital)- https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/commodity.htm

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tit-Bits

[4] https://www.spiked-online.com/author/ella-whelan/

[5] The #MeToo campaign versus the presumption of innocence- https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/10/05/inno-o05.html

[6] John Berger, radical art critic, 1926-2017- http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/02/07/berg-f07.html

[7] https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jan/02/a-life-in-quotes-john-berger

[8] https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/index.htm

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