Ever since welcoming her son Sylvester in March, Emily Ratajkowski has been open with the many ways in which gender stereotypes play a role in her experience as a mother, from being asked “what” she wanted to have during her pregnancy to her relief at learning she was having a boy, due to the sexualization she faced as a child and now as a woman.
As she promotes her candid collection of essays called My Body, Ratajkowski shared with Interview magazine how she plans to navigate raising a male child, calling out the inherent power dynamics that exist between genders. “Babies have this genderless quality to them, and so I love affording that to him right now,” she says of her little one. “I’ve just been treating him as this wonderful little human who’s being introduced to the world.”
She already notices, though, that people treat him differently when they find out he’s a boy, sharing, “I noticed that as soon as people know that he’s a boy, the way that they interact with him is different than they would have with a baby girl. Sometimes I feel frustrated by that because I think there’s even a tendency to throw a little boy in the air, be a little bit rougher with them than you would a little girl. That stuff already bothers me because I can see where it’s leading.”
“I don’t have the answers, but the second that I knew I was having a son it came to mind,” she adds. “The best I can do is teach him compassion, and about these power dynamics that men don’t have to inspect in the way that women do, and make him aware of them and make him care about them. How’s that going to happen? I’m not entirely sure.”
What Ratajkowski does know is that even at his young age, she feels “incredibly protective of him in the same way I would with a daughter, from this culture.”