Comedian Celeste Barber Says Emily Ratajkowski Blocked Her After Instagram Parody

Barber is famous for playfully re-creating conventionally hot women's photos, but a caption on her 2021 spoof of the model didn't go over well.

Comedian Celeste Barber Says Emily Ratajkowski Blocked Her After Instagram Parody

Australian comedian Celeste Barber—who is famous for parodying absurd photos and videos posted by models and influencers—may have taken things a bit too far with her post mimicking model Emily Ratajkowski, Barber said in an appearance on Australia’s Fitzy and Wippa talk show on Tuesday. (Editor’s note: Fitzy and Wippa??) Barber said the model blocked her on Instagram in 2021—we’re guessing because of the caption on Barber’s post: “We are sick of you objectifying our bodies! Also, here’s my ass.”

At the time, commenters pointed out to Barber that women can reject being objectified by the male gaze and still make the choice to post our own bikini photos or sexualize or own bodies.

“Have you had feedback from Ratajkowski?” Fitzy or Wippa asked Barber on Tuesday.

“I don’t think Emily is a fan,” Barber replied. “That’s OK, she’s allowed to not love it. But she blocked me.”

“I actually get inundated with fancy people sending me photos for me to parody,” she continued, and implied that none other than Cindy Crawford (“the greatest supermodel in the world,” as Barber described her) has approved of Barber’s brand of humor—or at least hasn’t blocked her over it: “If Cindy Crawford’s OK with it, I’m OK with it.”

Barber didn’t discuss the caption, which is certainly what Ratajkowski took issue with, given that she has spent a lot of time reflecting on and reckoning with her own objectification. As she wrote in her 2021 memoir My Body, she rocketed to fame after dancing nude in Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” video—and Thicke put his hands on her breasts while they were shooting, which wasn’t supposed to be part of the deal. “I didn’t have any real power as the naked girl dancing around in his music video,” she wrote. “I was nothing more than the hired mannequin.”

So while Barber is a beloved comedian, and most hot women she spoofs are able to laugh along with her, it makes sense that Ratajkowski might bristle at that particular caption. It hit a nerve for her.

At the same time, it’s also an inherently feminist service for a normal-looking woman to point out unrealistic beauty standards by recreating photos and videos that are premised on their subjects’ thinness and unattainable physical perfection. It’s silly and funny and a good reminder that most women’s bodies don’t look like Kendall Jenner’s.

The facts of this case are pretty straightforward: Barber’s “joke” about Ratajkowski was a dated and cringe, and Ratajkowski didn’t like it, so she took the digital path of least resistance and blocked her. Very fine. But beyond that, the interaction between the two is a perfect—if niche—example of debates within feminism itself.

Not unlike Barber’s caption, Ratajkowski’s brand of feminism is dated in its own way. A few years ago, it may have been subversive and pioneering to use your own conventional hotness to reclaim and tout your sexuality and push back against slut-shaming, as her social media posts often do. But now, it’s frustrating that Ratajkowski—one of the conventionally hottest women in the public eye, who also frequently talks about her identity as a feminist—remains unwilling or unable to identify her own myriad privileges. My Body critiques how society has objectified her specifically and women broadly, but it offers little in the way of self-reflection on how Ratajkowski has also benefited from the privileges that come with looking the way she does: “She is well aware of her role in the system, but does little work to disentangle herself from it,” Megan Reynolds wrote of Ratajkowski’s memoir.

In any case, Ratajkowski apparently blocked Barber some time ago, and miraculously, both women’s lives have gone on. Ratajkowski and Barber have continued to advance feminism—or at least their personal spins on it—in their own ways. May they both continue to post in peace.

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