Can’t a woman be beautiful and extremely well-read? According to cultural critic Thomas Chatterton Williams, it’s quite rare for a woman to be both. In fact, it shocked him that model, actress, and feminist, Emily Ratajkowski is exactly that type of woman.
In an article for the French edition of Marie Claire, Williams had disgustingly exploited the model. Although conducted in 2018, this interview recently went viral when Ratajkowski weighed in on it. She tweeted, “I really hope this will be the last of my “she has breasts AND claims to read” profiles/interviews. Lots of levels of gross/embarrassing aspects to this but the attempt at a feminist critique at the end is maybe the worst part.”
In the article, Williams fixates on Ratajkowski’s body. He describes her as, “the sexiest version of a creature right on our side of humanity.” Williams even went as far as to make an extremely foul comment about her chest. He wrote, “She was admittedly blessed with the most perfect breasts of her generation.” Afterward, Williams finally manages to change the subject to something less inappropriate, but in no way fitting.
He heavily emphasized his shock at Ratajkowski’s intellect. Williams found it hard to believe that she was an avid lover of literature. He writes, “The day I read that she was a fan of Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño, my brain snapped. It doesn’t matter that she really took the time to read the 1,300 pages of 2,666, the mere fact that she knew his name already seemed unbelievable to me.”
Since the revival of the interview, Williams hasn’t shown remorse nor has spoken directly about his words on Ratajkowski. He tweeted, “Let me just get this straight. I got paid. To go to the Cap d’Antibes and talk to Emily Ratajkowski, in a hotel overlooking the Mediterranean, because my wife got the assignment and figured I’d enjoy it more. And in your world, this is somehow wack for me? What’s your life like?”
Enough is Enough.
Ratajkowski and many others on social media weren’t happy with this. Although many admire her for calling out his unprofessional and revolting behavior, this sparked a conversation about whether or not “beauty and brains” can coexist. Spoiler alert, they can.
But this begs the question: Why do we find it hard to believe that an attractive woman can be intelligent? Women are no longer “inferior to men.” Formal education for women is more accessible than ever. We’re not living in the Middle Ages anymore; It’s 2020, and women have certainly come a long way. So, why is sexism still heavily prevalent in today’s society?
Sexism is Inevitable
Sexism is definitely getting old. It’s not the 1920s anymore, so why does it seem like nothing has changed in regards to the treatment of women? Unfortunately, this is inevitable because of how effortlessly it permeates all aspects of our lives. In fact, one of the most common forms of sexism is receiving unsolicited remarks about one’s body. A non-profit organization, Stop Street Harassment conducted a survey that showed over 81% of women have been victims of catcalling, groping, online harassment, etc.
Additionally, sexism in the workplace is fairly common. The Pew Research Center has received a number of reports from women in male-dominated workplaces. They have stated that being employed in a majority-male workplace makes it harder for their gender to advance in their field. In addition, they have also experienced gender discrimination at alarmingly higher rates.
Although the prevalence of sexism is evident in our world, there are many ways to prevent it.
Acknowledge & Address
Is sexism preventable? Absolutely. There is an abundance of ways society can prevent this kind of prejudice and discrimination. Acknowledging the problem is the most transparent way to get others to understand the disrespect of sexism. This can also prevent them from treating other women the same way. Whether it be correcting them on a sexist comment, or a certain action, a little goes a long way.
Letting someone know that they are blatantly being sexist is one thing, but addressing the problem is another. Once acknowledged, addressing them on how they can improve in the future can increase the preventability. Although it may seem discomforting and a bit nerve-wracking to confront one’s behavior; It’s necessary for progress to be made. Breaking the pattern of sexist tendencies brings more power to us, and will hopefully lead us to a world where sexism is just a distant problem.