Emily Sears: "I Have An Interest In Sensuality And Owning My Sexuality”

    Sex, power and social media.

    Australian model Emily Sears has crafted an image, and a career, out of her sex appeal. But that doesn’t mean she’s the property of the voyeurs who love to comment on Instagram, nor the marketers and publishers who profit from her image.

    Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic / Via Getty Images.

    In 2016, Emily made headlines when, upon receiving unsolicited graphic DMs from (mostly male) followers, she started to respond by sending back photos of their mothers, found on social media accounts. Or forwarding the messages to the sender’s partners, wives or girlfriends.

    She told BuzzFeed News last year: "I usually receive at least one or two dick pics per day, at minimum.”

    "It's just been consistently happening for so long. I became absolutely fed up with these kinds of disturbing and disgusting messages and comments online."

    Now, Emily uses her significant social media presence – 4.2 million followers on Instagram and 160,000 on Twitter – to advocate for body positivity, and push back on what she sees as a culture of pervasive male entitlement in social media.

    “I have an interest in sensuality and owning my sexuality,” she said about her Instagram presence. “I put the pictures up and people, either fortunately or unfortunately, are free to interpret. It’s in the eye of the beholder and what they choose to see.”

    For the most part, the people viewing Emily’s pictures are men – and most have little interest in her politics or feminism.

    “A lot of men looking at me do not [do so] to receive my politics, but what’s good and bad about that is that it means that I’m getting through to a few people who need to hear the message most,” she says.

    That message is simple: consuming her image does not give them proprietorial rights over her body.

    In this frank episode, Nakkiah Lui and Miranda Tapsell, hosts of Pretty For An Aboriginal and both vocal social media advocates for women’s rights, talk to LA-based, Melbourne model Emily Sears about the begetting of power through provocative imagery, why sexy women are feared, and why sexy black women are feared even more.

    Ben King / Anna Mendoza / BuzzFeed

    Listen now.

    1. Pretty For An Aboriginal is available in Apple Podcasts.

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    Questions? Comments? Email nicola.harvey@buzzfeed.com


    BuzzFeed Series Producer & Editor: Nicola Harvey

    Producer & Editor: Cinnamon Nippard (Audiocraft)

    Audio Mix: Adam Connolly (Audiocraft)

    BuzzFeed Designers: Ben King / Dennis Huynh

    BuzzFeed Photographer & Video Producers: Nick Wray & Anna Mendoza

    BuzzFeed Director of Audio: Eleanor Kagan

    Contact Pretty for an Aboriginal at nicola.harvey+prettyforanaboriginal@buzzfeed.com.

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