Oh, look, another pair of boobs.
Pictures like this seem to always find a way onto my social media newsfeeds.
Before I dive into this conversation, let me preface it by saying that I do believe women are still oppressed in a lot of ways and that this is a challenging topic because there are so many sides and ways to approach it. Now, let’s dive in.
Even if you are not connected to the various social media outlets that are available, there are still plenty of other sources that relay the information posted to the general public. Recently, Kim Kardashian uploaded a nude picture of herself online with caption, “When you’re like I have nothing to wear LOL.” Hm. To be completely candid, I, like many, was not shocked at all by this ‘scandalous’ photo. Anyone who is even somewhat familiar with her is aware of the revealing photos she tends to post. Some of my initial thoughts were, “What will your daughter think?” and “What message does this send to young, impressionable women?” To me, everything she stands for is self-promotion through overt sexualization of herself.
The post did not go unnoticed—also not shocking. Within a matter of minutes, various opinions from other celebrities and regular people alike flooded the internet. Comments ranged from ‘how inappropriate this was’ to ‘this was commendable.’ But, there is not a right or wrong answer. Still, I’m sorry, but I find it extremely far fetched that Kim posted the photo with the intent of thinking about feminism, and rather posted it only for personal gain and comments to inflate her opinion of herself to an even higher level.
Just the other day, Kim followed up the image with another nude selfie—this time with a costar in the image, actress Emily Ratajkowski. The two have a black bar censoring their chests, while they both flip off the camera and pout. I cringed. I do not think this really helps the case for feminism. Both these women are famous because they have used their naked bodies as a way to promote themselves and make money. Both seem to always be posting hyper-sexualized shots of themselves. Kim constantly forces her naked figure into the media; she even had a fully unclothed image of herself on the cover of Paper magazine. Emily got her break bopping around almost completely nude in a music video for a song that glamorizes rape culture. These do not seem like women that are truly practicing what they apparently preach as ‘feminists.’ To me, this sends the message to young women that an enviable body and overt sexualization of yourself to the general public are more important than other things that can be brought to the table. Women are already treated as objects to engage the male gaze and solely bring pleasure, so why should we give them any more? I believe that there are other ways to approach feminism and advocate for change. I feel that their actions only fuel the idea that a body is more valuable than a brain. This interpretation was also reiterated by actress Chloe Grace Moretz, as she commented that it sends the wrong message to young women about what is important.
Now that I have said that, and I am sure people are angry at my idea, let me go into another layer of the debate. I see why posting a photo such as this could be empowering. They are posting it on their own time, with their own consent, and think they have the right to be sexy. Their sole purpose is not to satisfy the male gaze. By having the power to post the image they took themselves, the women have total control. While I find the root of this idea appealing, I do not find this to be the proper way to go about it.
Whatever happened to the sanctity of keeping your body to yourself and those you love? Maybe I am a prude, but I do not get why everyone feels the need to share their bodies with the world. Feel empowered, feel inspired, and by all means, love yourself. But, is showing your naked body really making a statement or just a cry for attention? Maybe I feel this way because this is something I would never do. All I can think about when people post images like this is, “Have your parents seen this?” and “I hope you can hide these from your next employer.” Maybe I'm a little old-fashioned.
Regardless of if the slew of nude photos are meant to promote feminism or not, it feels as if they have started to just become yet another typical nude, and because of this, do not have the same kind of impact. If you see something every day, it’s not as shocking anymore. Kim, I feel like I’ve seen your boobs almost as much as I’ve seen my own. Maybe, it’s time for you to try promoting feminism in a way that does not rely on vanity.
We need more role models that promote feminism and empowering messages while their clothes are on—a message that women of all ages can participate in comfortably. Actress Emma Watson is a prime example of this; she is a UN Ambassador for HeForShe, which champions gender equality and has called for alternatives to pornography that do not objectify women. The work she is involved in has received attention in the media, as well, but perhaps not to the same volume as displaying one’s breasts.
Even though I do not fully agree with some of the ways that Kim approaches ‘feminism’ ( I keep putting that in quotes because I am really still skeptical of her intentions), I do think it is advantageous that it keeps the conversation alive as to how people respond to posts and engage with feminism. As I previously stated, there is no right or wrong answer, but perhaps the closest thing to the correct answer lies somewhere in the middle.