Thoughts: On Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian is a person I honestly, somehow, know close to nothing about.I know she’s of Armenian decent, and that she starred in a realty tv show, she has a video game that makes a lot of money, and she has two children with Kanye West. Oh and, she’s related to Caitlyn Jenner, but I don’t think by blood. And there was a sex tape. Even that I don’t know too much about.

Put briefly, I have never kept up with the Kardashians, let alone the most famous member of their tribe. So why do I want to talk about her?

Because nobody will stop talking about her*

*And more importantly, it seems like people won’t stop telling Kim Kardashian what, and what not to do with her body. This Sunday, March 6th she posted a mostly nude selfie that seemed to blow up the internet more than her Paper Mag cover did. I didn’t hear about this until it trended on Monday. Once I satisfied my curiosity with this supposedly shocking selfie (it was, you know, whatever) I proceeded to turn the Kim Kardashian part of my brain off for another day.

It wasn’t until today, International Freaking Women’s Day, that I had to think twice about this whole issue.

Suddenly that Paper Mag, which once featured Kim Kardashian, now featured Anita Sarkeesian, started to make sense.

Did Kim Kardashian earn a spot in the Feminist Hall of Fame? Maybe not, but her naked selfie, and the debate over it has drawn lines about what types of feminists people are. You either fell into the “This is an irresponsible example for Kim Kardashian to set and this is bad for women” camp, or you fell into the “Kim’s allowed to do what she damn well pleases” camp.

Now, to all my people in the first camp – I don’t think your feminism is necessarily bad, it’s just narrow. I bet you see a famous celebrity, who many young girls look up to, and you fear that by seeing her take nude selfies, or profiting off of her body in any way, young girls will think that’s the only way to feel good about themselves. You may be afraid that Kim Kardashian is reinforcing an expectation of feminine bodies…

But isn’t that the classic example of tearing down a woman in a patriarchal system, and explicitly, not the system itself? You can hide all of the Kim Kardashians in the world and it wouldn’t erase the burden of objectification in society. So that can’t be it. It must be this “responsible role model” concept then, right?

If a 35 year old mother of two, having the confidence to pose nude for millions to see isn’t inspiring in some way, then what will be?

I get it. We want young girls to be able to aspire to be many things.We want to promote the visibility of women in STEM so that they can have those types of role models; but let’s junk this notion that women in STEM are the best, or the superior role model. Women in art are inspiring. Women in music are inspiring. Women in film production are inspiring. And yes, women posing nude can be inspiring.