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Emily Ratajkowski’s latest photo shoot sparks fury among plus-size advocates: ‘Out of touch’

Emily Ratajkowski’s latest photo shoot has sparked backlash among plus-size models and activists, who claim it promotes unhealthy narratives about body image.

The supermodel, 32, recently shared several images from her photo shoot with M Le Monde magazine. For the fashion editorial photographed by Oliver Hadlee Pearch, Ratajkowski posed in a variety of looks featuring denim jeans and flowing tops. However, it was the second image that caught the attention of her Instagram followers.

In the photo, Ratajkowski is seen wearing a pair of low-rise, wide-leg denim jeans double her size. She showed off her toned figure as the oversized pair of jeans fell at her feet. As she held up the waistband of the jeans with one arm, Ratajkowski stood in one leg of the pair of jeans to highlight the noticeable size gap.

The photo shoot - which was styled by Charlotte Collet and creative directed by Jean-Baptiste Talbourdet-Napoleone - instantly sparked backlash after Ratajkowski shared the images to Instagram. In her comments section, thousands of users criticised both Ratajkowski and the team behind the photo shoot for the “out of touch” image and claimed the photo shoot was “fatphobic”.

Famous plus-size models and inclusivity advocates - such as Tess Holliday, Kelly Augustine, Stephanie Yeboah, Letticia Munniz, and Sarah Chiwaya - have called out the photo for emphasising Ratajkowski’s thinness in a pair of pants that would typically be reserved for someone who is plus-size.

“I’ve been looking for those jeans in the second photo if you could just please return them that would cool. Tysm,” Holliday commented under Ratajkowski’s post.

“That second photo is such godforsaken trash,” wrote Chiwaya. “In the year of our lord 2023?? STILL??? Yikes.”

“What in the fatphobic hell is that second picture?” a third user commented, while someone else said: “That second pic is so out of touch and ignorant but the comments are chef’s kiss.”

Plus-size models have long advocated for more inclusive sizing - both in stores and on the runway. However, luxury brands and labels often avoid creating plus-size fashion over claims that it’s too expensive to make. “Designers won’t make plus sizes unless it’s for a photo opp where a thin person can be quirky,” another person pointed out.

Many people were especially surprised by the “distasteful” photo shoot considering Ratajkowski has published a book of essays about feminist empowerment and the objectification of women’s bodies, titled My Body. “Not sure how you think wearing oversized jeans made for a much larger person and accentuating your smallness promotes healthy body image like you preach in your books/social media,” an Instagram user said.

Since she shared snaps from the photo shoot over the weekend, Ratajkowski has not yet commented on the backlash. Despite the controversial editorial, the model has previously spoken out against body-shaming. In her book of essays, Ratajkowski discusses bodily autonomy and exploitation in the modelling industry. “Every woman I know - doesn’t matter what they look like, or if they’ve commodified their image or not - knows what it feels like to be looked at, to be rejected, to get attention for how they look,” she told The Independent in 2021.

Back in 2019, Ratajkowski defended her friend against body-shaming trolls after their bodies were compared on Instagram. The model shared a bikini-clad post to promote her swimwear line, Inamorata, but several users accused Ratajkowski of sharing the photograph to make her body look “better”.

In response, Ratajkowski commented: “I love my friend’s body and both her and I think she looks great here! And I’m proud she’s rocking my suits. All these haters are crazy. Just because you’re used to seeing one body type on the internet doesn’t mean that that’s the only kind that should be considered ‘beautiful’.”

While the body positivity movement has made waves over the past 10 years, this year in fashion was especially devoid of inclusivity or plus size models. According to Vogue’s Business Size Inclusivity Report, only 0.6 per cent of looks shown throughout the autumn/winter 2023 fashion season were modelled by plus-size people.

Despite the fact that the plus-size clothing market is expected to reach $288bn this year, according to Future Market Insights, advocates have maintained that they’re unable to purchase clothing that’s both sustainable and inclusive. “I have to wear fast fashion and high street to major red carpet moments, and that’s great, but I want the option to wear high end items of my choosing and it’s not available,” Holliday told Elle UK in 2019. “But it’s either that or I run around naked. Plus-size fashion is not there yet.”

The Independent has contacted representatives for Ratajkowski and M Le Monde for comment.