On March seventh, Kim Kardashian posted a selfie that stunned the nation: her, in her bathroom mirror, completely nude except for black censor bars across her chest and thighs. The photo, uploaded to her Twitter and Instagram, instantly became the topic of thousands of gossip websites and social media posts, and while many people celebrated her pride and comfort in her own body, just as many were disgusted that she would post such an “immodest” photo to social media. A barrage of harsh comments were left beneath the photo on Instagram, including statements such as, “...go put some clothes [on] and respect yourself,” “You are a shame to most women,” and simply, “Ewww.” Even other famous women took to shaming Kim, including Bette Midler and Chloë Grace Moretz. All this backlash only stands to prove that society is riddled with double standards for women and their sexuality, and that even in this day and age the norm is to ridicule them for finding pride in their bodies. However, when it comes down to it, Kim Kardashian, as the sole owner of her body, had every right to post that selfie.
Let us begin with the troubling fact that although companies continue to use women’s bodies to sell their products, the moment a woman feels empowered by her figure and decides to post a photo such as Kim’s, she is instantly torn down for it. Society seems to have no trouble using conventionally attractive, scantily-clad women to sell beer, fast food, and even shampoo. Guinness, Budweiser, and countless other beer companies have exploited women’s bodies in their advertisements for decades. Carl’s Jr. is notorious for using women in bikinis to sell hamburgers. People seem perfectly content with viewing women’s bodies as long as it is alongside a product. Maybe because that’s how people like to view women in general: as products themselves.
When a brief discussion of Kim Kardashian’s now infamous photo came up during a class at school, one of my male teacher scoffed, “So it would be perfectly okay for me to post a nude photo of myself on Twitter?” What he didn’t seem to realize was that men have never been sexualized in the way that women are. No one has ever told a man who posted a shirtless picture that they should save it for their wives. Women are constantly told they need to be modest, keep their sexual lives discreet, and only reveal themselves when men specifically tell them to. One commenter on Kim’s photo admonished, “Someone needs to teach her her that a woman is most attractive when modestly dressed for the public and minimally dressed for her man.” This suggests that a woman’s body is her partner’s property, and that women are only here for the enjoyment of men. Yet when a woman finally learns to embrace the body that has been sexualized by society since birth, she is seen as “easy” or a “slut.” Double standards at their finest.
Some disapprove of Kim’s selfie because they think she is setting a bad example for other women. She is a mother of two--what will this cause her children to think? Here, my friends, is what they will think: Wow! I am so lucky to have a mother who is not ashamed of her body. I am glad she feels empowered in her own skin. If everyone were to follow in Kim’s lead, it would mean that the world would be filled with women and girls who love their bodies, despite the overwhelming message that this is exactly the opposite of what they are supposed to do.
Kim Kardashian is the sole owner of her body. She has achieved so much in her life, despite people constantly telling her how she should present herself, and criticizing her looks, career, and choices. All the negativity around her nude selfie only stands to prove two things: that Kim Kardashian is a strong, independent woman, and that society is still not ready to accept a woman who is comfortable with her own body.