I’m not a Kardashian fan. I think they are a sad representation of what the modern mass values today: excessive wealth, materialism and the vacuous. However the way the media (along with the keyboard warriors of the world) shames this group of women is archaic and highlights our worrying surveillance of how a woman should act.
Just this week, Kim Kardashian – muse of mastermind Kanye and mother to child fashionista North – posted a naked picture to her Instagram account which has a mere 63.1million followers as of this minute. Following Instagram’s female anatomy hating guidelines, her vagina and nipples are completely blacked out. Just by having access to the Internet, I have seen Kim Kardashian’s naked body many times in my life so this time was no different; I thought she looked great and then instantly forgot about the image.
It was only later on during another social media binge that day that I started seeing the outrage that so many had for this specific image. I’m not talking about outrage from the usual women-boycotting suspects like the British tabloids but rather the many people I would consider to be your standard student liberal shaming this woman for daring to bare her flesh. I saw comments ranging from disgust to the condemnation of her ability to be a mother.
If you believe women like Kim Kardashian should stay covered up, try telling that to the women of this world who don’t have that same kind of freedom of expression. Just this week, the Saudi Arabian UN delegation blasted a report claiming that the country is in extreme violation of human rights. Women in Saudi Arabia are not even permitted to go swimming for the prohibition of showing skin. In Syria, women are forced to cover up due to the threatening presence of Daesh. Airing this week, BBC’s documentary Sex in Strange Places: Turkey features a young Syrian woman who tells her story of how Daesh’s control of Syria meant she was forced to start covering her entire body. Despite this, one day she accidentally made eye contact with a Daesh fighter and was forced to be his sex slave.
The West consistently demonises the perceived to be Islamic extremist notion of covering the female body yet regularly shames western women for showing theirs. At the root, can you really separate these systems of surveillance? Both concepts are based on an inherent need to control the sight of the female figure. We just celebrated International Women’s Day while we still regulate and shame women like Kim Kardashian.
Despite popular opinion, the Kardashians aren’t all that is wrong with the world. The waves of greed and oppression that have swept through history resulting in the destruction of liberties are what are wrong. These people who are wound up about Kim K’s booty need to remember that.
At the end of the day, nobody has to worry about Kim K. She is raking it in; she made $80 million on her app alone in one year. How about worrying about your own desperate need to validate your antiquated views of how women should behave and view their body. It could be that people are bitter that a family of women dominate media, filling their armies of designer purses to the brim in the process. So they can’t sing or dance but they do have one of the best business strategies of the 21st century.
While it is undoubtedly worrying how desperate many girls are to emulate the Kardashians’ honed and sculpted figures, essentially it comes down to the fact that a woman can choose to look a certain way. This is something we have to protect and even value.
Also, can I just be pedantic for a second. The picture Kim uploaded has all the NAUGHTY bits censored. She actually had to censor herself just so that the picture would be acceptable for Instagram. You see cleavage, stomach and some leg. Maybe I’m a pervert, or just a normal adult, but I have seen way more explicit imagery in my lifetime. Therein lies the issue; she isn’t doing anything illegal, pornographic, explicit or dangerous. She simply shared an image of her figure and many are absolutely outraged, suggesting she is inherently a bad person, mother and role model. Culture has coded the female image so excessively as sexual that we can’t shake it off.
The reality is that many of us get self-gratification from our own image. As long as this isn’t our sole basis for self-worth, I think it’s ok to find some happiness in how you look.
So, just get a grip. If Kim Kardashian’s body offends you, then I don’t know, throw your phone and laptop into a river and bleach your eyes out or go join Jeremy Clarkson in a man cave somewhere and do manly things like men do. Since you know, the female body is so offensive.
By Anne Devlin