It’s a well-known fact that the internet hates women. We’re too open, too discreet, too loud and of course too quiet. Trying to navigate public life as a femme-presenting individual has always been an uphill battle. Just look at what netizens did to Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber—fabricating a false feud in order to up the stakes and create some organised chaos.
So, when images of Harry Styles and Emily Ratajkowski caught in an intimate embrace hit Twitter, I knew that pretty quickly the internet would be fixated on burning the female model for having what the public deemed as be far too many romantic encounters. Oh, and the fact that no-one expected Styles to kiss (or dance) like that…
Men in the spotlight have always benefited from the Lothario and charmer archetype. Leonardo DiCaprio can go from one 24-year-old to another and still be deemed a soul-searching bachelor. But when Taylor Swift has multiple boyfriends in one year, she’s pronounced as an 18th century harlot who’s clearly more interested in collecting male trophies than she is in gaining the public’s respect. And…the cycle continues.
Now, there’s a couple different points important to touch upon with the Styles x Ratajkowski coupling, first of there’s the highly unhealthy attitude some fans have towards the former One Direction singer and his romantic choices—safe to say, if you don’t fancy being at the end of torrents of online abuse from Styles superfans, stay away from the ‘Fine Lines’ singer (we’re thinking of you, Olivia Wilde).
But even more insidious than that, is society’s deep-rooted issue with female sexuality and the concept of a woman straying from the traditional monogamist ideal. Since her divorce from Sebastian Bear-McClard in September 2022, Ratajkowski has been romantically linked to the likes of Pete Davidson, Brad Pitt and Eric André.
Of course, no-one blinked an eye lid as Davidson made his way through Hollywood’s many eligible bachelorettes. And if there was discourse surrounding his dating history, it was almost always filled to the brim with praise and kudos for bagging such desirable women.
For Ratajkowski, the situation is entirely different. You only have to take a minute or two doom-scrolling on TikTok to find a collection of videos shaming the 31-year-old, decreeing how she’s definitely the wrong girl for Styles, and claiming that she’s clearly “trying to make [her] ex-husband replaceable.”
It should also be noted that the Harry’s House artist has had his fair share of celebrity romances. He’s been linked to a handful of Victoria’s Secret models including Kardashian heiress and problematic tequila brand owner, Kendall Jenner.
We’ll never fully escape the grasp that celebrities’ dating lives have on us, it’s a symptom of social media we’re never going to completely banish or dismiss. However, it’s entirely possible to love Harry Styles, Pedro Pascal, or Bad Bunny, and stop misogyny from dominating our screens.