As most of you know, Tuesday was International Women’s Day- a day where we celebrate the myriad accomplishments and absolutely magical existence of the women in our lives, both past and present.
International Women’s Day was also the stage on which a heated debate about slut-shaming took place over Kim Kardashian’s latest nude selfie.
Bloggers, celebrities, and social media land TOOK OFF on Kim K for her racy photo- admonishing her for setting a “poor example” and using her body to create harmful messages for young women.
The two most talked about critiques came from 19 year-old actress Chloe Moretz and pop star, P!nk- which can be seen below.
The two women have defended themselves saying that they’re proud feminists and would never slut-shame another woman, but the problem is- they did exactly that.
The central message in both of these statements is that as a woman, you are either a whore or a role model. That you can’t be a positive, powerful, influential woman who also happens to love the way she looks. That you’re either a sexual being or a brain. That women who embrace their sexuality are inherently less intelligent or unknowing of their worth. In summary, these are some of the most anti-feminist statements I read in light of this situation and are a direct result of the misogyny feminism aims to fight.
It’s messages like these that make women feel like they need to act and look a certain way to be taken seriously. The reason why my gorgeous good friend Sarah purposefully hides her beauty when she’s at her computer science internship so that the men she works with respect her more. The reason that women are still calling other women sluts and whores.
I applaud Kim Kardashian’s bravery and self confidence in posting this photo. As she put it herself, she is empowered by her body and her sexuality and her womanhood- which is more feminist than the messages espoused above.
Kim shows that you can be a sexy, confident woman while still being a wife, mother, and businesswoman (say what you will about her business, but she knows what she’s doing and does it well). Embracing your looks and your sexuality is just as empowering as embracing your brains and your accomplishments. As I said in a previous post- women can be both.
What I’ve noticed lately is a double standard in modern feminism that seems to manifest itself very often in the body positivity movement.
For example, take Lena Dunham’s “Girls,” an HBO original TV show (and personal favorite of mine) that follows four twenty-something year-old women as they find their place in the world. When it first premiered, Dunham was showered in praise for her inclusion of nude scenes featuring women with “less than ideal” body types, particularly her own. She was championed as a feminist crusader in the smashing of restrictive body standards and a hero for “real women” everywhere.
So why is Kim Kardashian a whore for showing off her body?
I thought about this all day yesterday and came to the conclusion that the only reason Kim was assaulted for her picture is because she represents the very ideals that Lena’s naked body protests. Body positivity, unfortunately, has devolved to include and celebrate women who represent the “imperfect,” while women who wear a size 2 or have proportions like Kim are left out, and sometimes even made fun of.
“Real Women” campaigns almost never present women who aren’t curvy or women who don’t sport round shapes. I recently received an email containing the phrase “real women with real bodies,” which I found rather tasteless as it assumes that some women who happen to be smaller and wear a size 0 (like myself) or women whose silhouettes fit perfectly in a Coke bottle (like Kim K) aren’t real women.
On the more extreme end, some people will make statements like “only dogs like bones” and “#FuckAThighGap” that serve to put smaller or more slender women down to raise larger women up.
The purpose of the body positivity movement is to celebrate the beauty in ALL body types, not just the ones lacking in societal support. While I understand that society and the media shoves women with “perfect bodies” down our throats every day, the fact of the matter is that those are real women too- and their bodies deserve as much love as everyone else’s.
My hope is that as time moves forward, feminists continue to include ALL women in their efforts towards fighting harmful pressures and double standards in society and never lose sight of the fact that this movement does not work when we don’t stand together.
La Nouvelle Romantique