Pop-Culture | Posted by Alice W on 07/1/2013
To Gossip Mags, Regarding Kim Kardashian
We made it! Kim and Kanye just had their daughter, and I think its fair to say that this is pop culture history. Like all great journeys to historical moments, there were some bumps along the way–like the way you treated Kim and her pregnant body. Remember all those headlines about her weight gain? I was mad about them then, and I’m mad about them now. Like, are you kidding me?
She had a person growing inside of her! She is a millionaire with like 15 businesses and she was promoting them while pregnant but you were just like “man, look at this fatty! She must be up to something!” I mean, God forbid a woman have the audacity to be in public while pregnant, right?
The outrage about her changing body seems to stem from the assumption that she is public property. Here’s the thing: you don’t actually own her. Just because she shares parts of her life with you doesn’t mean you own shares in her life decisions. But of course, if the only thing you value about her is her body then of course you’re going to be outraged when her body changes and she’s not ashamed of it.
I know that as a young feminist I am supposed to have much bigger concerns than the media bullying Kim Kardashian, but her experiences represent a much bigger problem: a woman who is visible in the media cannot win. She is either a scheming gold digger, a desperate emotional mess, or a fat cow–maybe all three. Yes, Kim benefits from and participates in sexualized culture. But that same culture also demonizes her at every turn, even as it demands more from her. So what is she supposed to do? How does any woman operate under those conditions?
Let’s be honest about what you want from Kim. You want her to hang her head in shame because she had a sex tape a million years ago. Someone deeply invaded her privacy. They wanted to ruin her life, but she took that publicity and expanded her business. It would have been easier for her to stay at home and let that huge breach of trust define her. Instead, she walks into meeting rooms and demands respect.
You want her to hide away because she separated from her husband soon after their marriage. So what? Kim got out of a bad marriage. She could have stayed in it because she’s in the public eye. Instead she admitted that she made a mistake. She cries, says that she feels horrible for wasting people’s time. She has anxiety attacks on a regular basis. She says that she is unhappy, that she got into this too fast. This is a woman who prioritizes her own happiness over what people are going to say about her. Why can’t we have her back a little more?
Obviously Kim and her family represent very problematic things about our culture. This isn’t a wholesale defense of her character or the Kardashian family or their media empire. But if you’re going to attack Kim for something, don’t let it be her body or her valuing her own happiness.
Originally posted on SPARK.
Read other posts about: celebrities, Feminism, feminism in pop-culture, feminism in the media, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, portrayal of women in the media, powerful women, pregnancy, sexism, sexism in the media
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