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.

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Thoughts: On The Hetero Uber Driver

I like the label “Heteroflexible.” For years “mostly-straight” just wasn’t cutting it. “Mostly-straight” almost sounds defensive, like “oh heavens no I’m not all the way Bi or Pansexual, I’m mostly-straight!”

I like “Heteroflexible” largely because of the “flexible” idea. It conveys that I’m into the opposite of something, but not just my sex, like Heterosexuality implies. It’s like a game of Twister; I’m straight but I’m having a good time here so I’m going to make some adjustments so I can keep playing (that sounded better in my head, maybe I can revisit that someday).  I may be into the opposite gender identity, if we’re using a purely two-point spectrum, with all the flaws that carries with it. Still, “Heteroflexible” is a faster explanation than “Well I’m just not that into masculinity; I’m attracted to femininity and androgyny, cisgender, agender and transgender.”

But, I’m getting off track here. Even if I was just Heterosexual, I’d be bothered by the string of Uber Drivers I’ve had recently. The guy who shows me a nude of a woman on his phone, the other guy who talks about how much he likes lingerie football, the guy who drops me off at a bar and wishes me luck meeting women?

I’m not completely surprised that the assumed sexuality of a passenger is straight; that’s practically the sexuality everybody assumes of everybody in society, unless your performance tips them off, but how often conversations just veer into “girls are hot, right man?” just weirds me out. We can really talk about anything, it’s only 15-20 minutes of conversation, why does it have to go that direction?

Because male-to-male conversations are expected to go that way? When it’s just two guys palling around we can just talk about hot babes right? I don’t know how I have to act or what I have to wear to stop people from bringing that up in front of me, but I’d sure as hell like to know.

Call Me: Mary Beton, Lost In Thought

“Here then was I  (call me Mary Beton, Mary Seton, Mary Carmichael or by any name you please – it is not a matter of any importance) sitting on the banks of a river a week or two ago in fine October weather, lost in thought.” – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

For months I’ve sat on this domain, Marybeton.com, wondering “how will I even begin?”
I knew it would always begin with the source of inspiration, but how will I introduce myself to you, if there’s a you out there?

I think I owe it to you to let you know that I am male-identified-at-birth, and largely okay with my male pronouns. The doubt I carry about myself is why I’m here I suppose. I graduated college with a few credits in GSWS studies, and I want to dive deeper, learn more about the subject, and at once, learn more about myself.

Hardly a day goes by when I don’t look in the mirror and wonder about myself. And there are a lot of questions. I don’t think transition is right for me, but I have lots of ideas about my gender performance. Sometimes I whisper the name “Lorelai” to myself, with confidence.

I’m lost in thought and needed a place to record the thoughts. Maybe I’ll watch some TV and break down their worth in how they portray and treat gay, female, trans, or POC characters. Maybe I’ll read a book or two and write what I think about it. Maybe I’ll just confess things to you. – M.B.