Kim Kardashian’s latest picture drew a slew of catty comments, raising questions about snap judgement culture
It’s quite poetic, really, that a storm of social bitchery should hit on the dawn of International Women’s Day. In typical Kardashian fashion, this one was caused by Kim K herself – who attracted controversy for posting a nude selfie on her Twitter account. The reality star unleashed the year-old image on Sunday evening, along with an equally provocative side note. “When you're like I have nothing to wear,” she wrote. “LOL.”
It didn’t take long for the critics to speak up. “If Kim wants us to see a part of her we’ve never seen, she should swallow the camera,” shot Bette Midler, over the noise. “I truly hope you realise how important setting goals are for young women, teaching them we have so much more to offer than just our bodies,” added Chloë Grace Moretz. It was as if, suddenly, everyone had nothing better to do except judge.
This kind of criticism is expected when you post a naked picture of yourself – though it’s also where the differences between the sexes becomes more pronounced. If a man had posted the same image, for example, would comments like this exist on the same scale? Considering the amount of people who jumped in to tear Kim apart, it’s hard to believe. So why do we let ourselves get so bogged down with it?
Kim Kardashian really is the perfect example here. One of the most polarising figures in pop culture, the reality star draws out the harshest sentiments from the softest people; with many quick to shame her for her body, her career and her 13-year-old sex tape. And sure, her new-age narcissism and Valley girl veneer isn’t for everyone, but it’s strange that we can’t just accept that and move on.
It’s also strange that, despite everything, we struggle so much with her positives. This is a woman who has torn down the wall between us and them – encouraging women who aren’t shaped like supermodels to enjoy their bodies, rather than feel inadequate over their imperfections. There are, and always will be, people like her out there. So, if she wants to pose naked, who TF actually cares?
Kim did eventually reply to her detractors. “Let's all welcome @ChloeGMoretz to twitter, since no one knows who she is,” she sniped at Moretz, before turning on Midler: “hey @BetteMidler I know it’s past your bedtime but if you’re still up and reading this send nudes.” While many enjoyed the fireworks, the secondary-school nature of it all got uncomfortable quickly, encouraging more stars to tap in to express their frustrations.
“You ALL are acting tacky AF!” chimed in Miley Cyrus on Instagram. “Why don’t we overly (myself included) fortunate women come together and try to create and bring jobs to other women in desperate need of them so they can support not only THEMSELVES but their families!”
Fourteen-year-old Girl Meets World star Rowan Blanchard also offered salient points. “Why are feminists mad at Kim K for consensually posting a pic of her own body,” she wrote on Twitter, with typical eloquence. “I think it’s an awesome thing to teach girls: to be accepting of yourself and use the selfie to choose how you want to be viewed... it’s something girls have never had.”
Both Rowan and Miley raise good points. In an age of fappenings and revenge porn, nude selfies still have a lot of power, and are often held menacingly over their subjects as a patriarchal power-play. Thousands of images are shared non-consensually across the internet every day, ruining lives and shaming the people in them (who, 90 per cent of the time, are women). So really, it’s a blessing that someone is proudly displaying her body, and shedding this stigma. “Girls being nude publicly isn’t new,” added Blanchard. “But isn’t it nice when they can be the subject of the image, and the portrayer too?”
Kim has since spoken up about the drama, posting an exasperated essay on her website last night in defense of her actions. “I never understand why people get so bothered by what other people choose to do with their lives,” she wrote. “I don’t do drugs, I hardly drink, I’ve never committed a crime – and yet I’m a bad role model for being proud of my body?”
“I am empowered by my body,” she added. “I am empowered by my sexuality. I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my skin. I am empowered by showing the world my flaws and not being afraid of what anyone is going to say about me. And I hope that through this platform I have been given, I can encourage the same empowerment for girls and women all over the world.”
Whether it’s the brazen body-shaming of Lena Dunham or the slut-shaming of Angelina Jolie, women are stuck dealing with things that men just don’t get bothered by. Whether you like her or not, these words from Kim herself are fairly hard to argue with. “It’s 2016. The body-shaming and slut-shaming – it’s like, enough is enough. I will not live my life dictated by the issues you have with my sexuality. You be you and let me be me.”