Well, apparently Kim Kardashian “broke the internet” last week. That’s surprising to me, considering I’m using the internet to post this right now, but I’ll take everyone’s word for it.
|This is the tame version of her photo shoot, if you can believe it.|
In a spread for Paper Magazine this winter, Kim posed in a very revealing set of photos, showing off that world-famous booty. The photo went viral instantly. Everyone wanted to talk about Kim Kardashian's butt.
She was actually showered with criticism, which came as something of a surprise to this Kim critic, as I often feel like I’m alone in my disdain for the talent-less tease. The overwhelming majority of commentators chastised her for posing in such a revealing way when she is trying to parent a young child. They questioned how she could properly raise a child while also being so morally questionable by agreeing to objectify herself publicly.
I can’t believe I’m about to use my valuable column inches defending Kardashian, but here goes: these criticisms seem to dramatically oppose everything that feminism has been fighting for. What happened to women finding strength and power in their sexuality? What happened to women teaching their children how to be strong and independent and not fear their bodies, but rather feel comfortable enough to be willing to bear all? What happened to the whole “you do you, girl” that feminism is trying so hard to promote?
Now, here is the Austin everyone knows: Kim Kardashian hasn’t done anything of value for society in...well, ever. She isn’t a talented actress. She isn’t a brilliant investor. She isn’t a financially insightful entrepreneur. The greatest claim to fame she has going for her is that she has money and that she got on the world’s radar with a sex tape. An entire TV show was dedicated to showing exactly how much nothing Kim does on a daily basis. The general public gets some kind of sick satisfaction out of watching Kim spend money, watching Kim live the life of luxury, watching Kim interact with her equally spoiled family.
Society created this monster of a situation. Kim Kardashian only exists as a character in the landscape of American culture so long as we continue to pay attention to her. In this particular case, we are calling her out for doing an extreme version of exactly the same kind of thing she’s been doing for years. Yes, there was a little more skin than in some other cases (although maybe not as much as in others), but she is a product of what we, as a society have asked her to be.
We have recently seen an influx in female role models. Jennifer Lawrence has been a strong woman, especially in light of a tough situation with photo hacking. Emma Watson has made herself into something a spokeswoman in the fight for equality for women, speaking passionately and magnificently to the United Nations. Even Taylor Swift has been cited as a character in the new-wave of women worth looking up to. Kim Kardashian is most certainly not on that list.
The big question is, does the society we’re hoping to create have any space for a celebrity like her. Based on the reaction by the social media community, it would appear as though the answer is no. We do, however, need to be mindful of what we are asking of her, because we cannot really be upset with her for being Kim when it was viewers of “Keeping Up WIth the Kardashians” that got us into this mess in the first place.