The model and author, 31, has recently shared a slew of humorous videos loosely referencing her split from husband Sebastian Bear-McClard woven into the perils of existing under the scrutinies of the male gaze. The two reportedly split in July following rumors of infidelity. Ratajkowski was recently seen moving out of their shared New York apartment.
The TikToks range from shady posts about liking "ugly men" to explorative treks through the nuances of cisgender relationships and the patriarchy.
She kicked off on Aug. 27 with a video discussing her fears regarding reproductive justice and media perceptions of abusers, writing "its 2022 and its getting even SCARIER to be a woman."
The video used a popular audio where users say they aren't scared of lions, tigers or bears, followed by their actual fears.
But the stream of TikTok consciousness did not stop there. In one video, Ratajkowski stitched another creator's TikTok that read, "When he thinks he's a ten because he pulled you, but you like ugly men," lip-syncing the audio to the camera, "how can I say this in a friendly way," implying she is attracted to "ugly" men. This led many fans speculate to be a dig at Bear-McClard.
Their breakup spawned endless discourse about "ugly" men who cheat on their more conventionally attractive partners and whether or not looks play a role in one's propensity for infidelity.
Ratajkowski did not directly address who she was talking about in the video, instead writing "for legal reasons this is a joke" in the comments. Of course, this did not stop commenters from speculating and downright commending Ratajkowski for the shady post.
"Emily this is god tier breakup behavior," wrote one commenter.
"YESSSSSSS it's ok babes we were all wondering how he bagged you," shared influencer Brittany Furlan.
Beyond beating the breakup blues with a bit of humor, Ratajkowski has also been talking about dating as a cisgender woman and the role patriarchal structures play in the exploitation of love.
She stitched another creator's TikTok discussing the absence of love in cis relationships and added on to the video with her takes on the patriarchal implications of ownership in heteronormative couplings.
"I love this video because she is making a point that bell hooks made which is that under a patriarchy, there's this premise of men getting women, like getting them, pulling them like they are something to possess, which I feel as a recently single person who's thinking about dating and stuff, I've really seen that with my friends and with the conversations kind of around it, its like 'Well who is going to get her' rather than you know, 'This is a reciprocal mutual relationship where two people could potentially foster love.' So yeah, basically that's why we don't have a lot of love in cis-hetero relationships," she says.
A large portion of Ratajkowski's latest content is an expansion of her now-famed perspective derived from existing as a model and woman in a society that places such a large emphasis on power, looks, modesty and male approval.
In another TikTok, she explained the importance of the inscription quote from John Berger's Ways of Seeing in her book, My Body, which delves into the complexities of objectification and empowerment through a series of essays.
"OK, here's my book. But I just wanted to read the epigraph because it applies to a lot of things I'm going off on right now. OK, I'm not going to read the whole thing. But basically what he's saying is that we love looking at women. We give them a mirror to look at themselves and assess over themselves, then we call them vain. But this is where it gets good. 'The real function of the mirror was otherwise. It was to make the woman connive in treating herself as first and foremost, aka above anything else, a sight.' I really love it. It's the epigraph to my book. That's how much I love it," she says.
She also dug into the male gaze and the pervasive ways internalized misogyny can manifest for women at their most vulnerable.
In a TikTok shared on Sept. 6, she stitched a video of psychotherapist Esther Perel speaking on a panel discussing female sexuality, expounding on the idea that women have been taught to view sex as a performance for men.
"This is so true and it's because women have internalized the male gaze so much that when we're having sex, we're thinking about how hot or not we are," she says. "So I love those TikToks I get them all the time. I don't know what your algorithm is, but mine is 'Have you internalized the male gaze or are you a lesbian?' But yeah, it's kind of crazy that women have to, we're so used to sexualizing, seeing women sexualized and sexualizing ourselves that we're thinking about being sexualized during sex, for lack of a better way of putting it."
The point resonated with many users who began reflecting on the idea in her comments.
"It disturbs me almost, how much I’ve internalized their gaze, constantly imagining myself through their eyes, never seeing through my own," wrote one user.
"This is so true! It is such a shocking realization to have about yourself, but once it’s there…it can’t go away," commented another.
Despite the conundrums presented by some of her videos, Ratajkowski has been able to maintain a level of lightheartedness in her TikToks as well.
In one video, she used a popular sound that illustrates the quandary of seeking approval and validation while simultaneously not wanting to be perceived.
"Yeah, no I also hate to be perceived. Yeah, no I do. I hate to be perceived. Wait guys watch this, what did you think?" said the audio, a fitting descriptor for the blurred lines between empowerment and desirability politics Ratajkowski addresses.
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