When Kim Kardashian West posted her nude photo on Instagram, captioned : “When you’re like I have nothing to wear LOL”, her post garnered a whopping 1.6 million likes and over 300,000 comments. On Twitter, her photo had over 250 thousand likes and 134 thousand retweets. Many celebrities, personalities, feminists have spoken up about this, either shaming her or praising her for “embracing her sexuality”.
This is Kim’s second attempt at “breaking the internet”, but what I believe she really did was break the silence and fuel a heated debate on the meaning of a woman’s body and her freedom to express her sexuality.
Kim’s nude is confrontational and bold. It does not leave anything to the imagination and it is her being fully confident of herself. She has absolutely no remorse nor regret till this very day, and holds strong to her stance that women should be in full control of their bodies and allowed to do what they want. Furthermore, Kim had just given birth to her second child weeks before taking this photo, and indeed it takes great courage to post such a photo on one of the largest social networking sites today. To see Kim so confident about herself, defending this photo amidst all the controversy is something that is warming to the heart.
Kim’s nude raises the issue on bodily image and she spreads a message of image positivity in this age of repeated shaming and the constant hurling of insults about one’s physical appearance. We need to see that our own bodies are perfect. Every curve, bone, scar on one’s body should be regarded as something beautiful. It is something that sets apart one from another. Individuality and diversity is what that makes this world such an interesting place, and if people are just constantly thinking of changing themselves to look like someone else, to live someone else’s life, our world will just be plain, boring and lacking. Kim embraced her curves, her assets and flaunted them off to the world. She was no stick-thin figure, wearing size zero clothing. She was no white, pale-skinned lady. She did not conform to society’s expectation of beauty and was herself. She sends a strong message to everyone, that we should love our bodies and should embrace and empower ourselves. The only thing that really stops us in this world, is self-doubt and a lack of confidence. Kim went all out to spread her message, and indeed, she inspired many to be proud of their differences and to be proud of themselves.
Kim’s nude also touched on another issue – feminism and whether or not Kim was furthering the notion that women are simply their bodies and do not have anything else to offer. The argument is compelling but I choose to stand by Kim though it is easy to see why people would misinterpret it. The comments on Kim’s nude are either snarky comments at how big her assets are or how they would like to do lewd things to her. Perverted, inappropriate and slightly disturbing, many believe these objectifying comments from men stem due to Kim’s nude. Her “inappropriate” photo provoked these men to go into a frenzy and one more photos would simply further assure men that what they are doing is right and give them another opportunity to do so.
But what exactly is wrong with showing off one’s body? Is it not those who have posted snarky comments who should be criticised? Women’s bodies for too long have been oppressed and covered up. The women of Islam, past and present, are expected to cover themselves completely, apart from their eyes, as they are “distraction” to men. Chinese women of the past were also expected to cover their arms in long-sleeve gowns as showing their arms is somehow an act of disrespect. Even now, girls in high school are scolded for wearing tank tops and shorts as they would be too distracting for the boys with raging hormones. Society has just been blaming women over and over again for being distractions to men, but have never really taught men to respect women no matter what they choose to wear. Society had never really taught men to look at women beyond their physical appearance and to recognize them as sentient beings who have feelings, emotions and a voice too.
The objectification of women at the end of the day is no fault of women, but men. What we truly need is to educate men that women should be respected and loved for who they are, not seen as mere objects for men’s gratification. Women should also stop shaming one another over appearances, and grow to love one another more truthfully. It is about time that we end this slut-shaming and really progress on from there.
In this world, it should be my body, my rules. I have the autonomy over my body and I will do whatever I please with it. So, let us let Kim be Kim. Let her post anything she wants and let us recognise that she is letting us all know that it is ok to be you, that it is okay to flaunt what you have. And most importantly, that it is not your fault. Let us all be #liberated.