Celebrate International Women’s Day by Getting Over Kim Kardashian’s Nude Selfie
Since today is International Women’s Day, you’re going to see plenty of tweets and Instagram posts celebrating female politicians and other fully clothed leaders.
Safe choices, in other words. It’s easy to throw your support behind someone like Mother Teresa or Emma Watson or Hillary Clinton on a day like today. Even their haters have to admit they’re “positive female role models” — an honor that’s usually only bestowed upon women who become successful without trading on their femininity or sexuality.
But I’d rather see a more inclusive definition of “positive female role model” take hold — one that includes the Madonnas, the Elizabeth Taylors, and the Kim Kardashian Wests of the world. Because with one nude photo, Kim sparked a massive debate this week, proving that public opinion of a woman’s body still has more power than what a woman actually does with it.
Kim posted a year-old nude selfie earlier this week, hurting and affecting absolutely no one, and the ugly opinions came pouring in. Instead of looking at the photo and moving on to the next thing, people can’t get over it. They’re calling Kim a slut, a whore, and a prostitute. They’re reminding her, “you’re a wife and mother now,” because apparently once you get married, your body belongs to your family. How Victorian.
Now, let’s get one thing straight: Kim’s nude photo is not and will never hurt her husband or her children. Do people honestly think Kanye, North, and Saint West are somehow not going to be okay because of this nude selfie? Let’s say North and Saint head off to elementary school and some kid tells them they’ve seen their mom’s sex tape or nude photos, and mocks them for it. That’s not Kim’s fault — it’s the fault of that kid’s shitty parents for not raising their child better.
But judging women for their sexual choices is one particular tradition that we’re all really good at passing down from generation to generation. And we rarely grow out of it. This playground bullying mindset is one that many adults don’t grow out of — even extremely old ones, like Piers Morgan, who you’d think would know better.
For some reason, the aging British troll felt a need to weigh in on Kim’s selfie, typing up an entire column about Kim’s body while his butler spoon fed him porridge and checked to see if his adult diaper needed changing.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) March 8, 2016
Why do Piers and so many other people think their opinions of Kim’s body matter? Because we let them.
This is the sad truth: other people’s opinions of women’s bodies still matter more than what women actually do with their bodies.
Think about what happens when a teenage girl sends her boyfriend a nude photo. In the best case scenario, she feels desired and in control of her sexuality, he enjoys the photo, and they both get what they wanted out of the situation. No harm, no foul.
Now think about what happens if that photo somehow gets leaked (probably because the boy couldn’t keep it to himself, let’s be honest) and the whole town sees it. The public’s attention turns that photo into something dirty and wrong. Depending on how conservative their community is, the girl’s reputation and her life could be completely ruined. But that’s not because of what she did with her body. It’s because of everyone else’s opinions on what she did.
Chloe Grace Moretz really drove this point home in her two tweets (could she really not condense this deep thought into one?):
@KimKardashian I truly hope you realize how important setting goals are for young women, teaching them we have so much more to offer than-
— Chloë Grace Moretz (@ChloeGMoretz) March 7, 2016
@KimKardashian – just our bodies.
— Chloë Grace Moretz (@ChloeGMoretz) March 7, 2016
Probably the weirdest part is that Chloe apparently thinks that as an actress, she isn’t offering her body up as a product to the world. She most definitely is. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Whether they’re actors, singers, athletes, sex workers, or physical laborers, millions of women and men in the world use their bodies as products. This doesn’t mean they don’t also use their brains. And even if they didn’t, it wouldn’t matter. If you’re not hurting anyone, the way you make your money and what you choose to offer to the world is no one else’s business.
But if you use your body as a product and the way you do that is sexual, then people like Chloe and Piers are going to have opinions on it — and it’s probably going to affect you negatively.
When a women does something that ruins her reputation, it’s rarely because she’s hurt someone else. Kim took this photo of herself a year ago and nobody knew or cared. But now that she’s made it public, she’s being tarred and feathered. Taking a nude picture of yourself isn’t a crime. But when the whole world finds out about it, it becomes one. And you become the victim.
Kim was in complete control of her body and her image by taking the photo, but the public is now trying to strip her of that power by loudly establishing that they don’t approve of her nudity. Women’s bodies are treated like public property in so many ways, and this is just one of them.
We all need to do ourselves a favor and get over female sexuality, and I’m thankful to Kim for showing that to us with just one photo. Think about the brain power people have used just to concoct an opinion on Kim’s body in the last two days — and for what? What does it accomplish? Donald freaking Trump might be our next president, and we’re wasting our time begin indignant over a naked photo that was taken over a year ago.
Once we get over women’s bodies and sexuality, we’ll have so much more time to talk about things that actually affect people. In the meantime, we need to celebrate and elevate women like Kim who are striving to make their bodies more powerful than other people’s opinions.