Pop-Culture | Posted by Emma Havighorst on 05/18/2016
Comparing Kim Kardashian to Ayesha Curry Hurts Us All
Our society has long been obsessed with comparison. Girls are routinely pit against each other to “win” the supposed honor of being the “hottest” in the halls of their high schools. They’re even encouraged to put down their perceived competition to do so.
There are likely many reasons why young women feel encouraged to do this, but the way media gossip analyzes and criticizes female celebrities — and compares their talent and/or bodies to other celebrities — is a big one. It has become normalized for people (who don’t know these celebrities personally) to happily explain and/or rant about their actions, decisions and lives because the media makes them feel that they have the right to attack and shame people (specifically, more often than not, women) we’ve never met.
A prime example of this phenomenon occurred in March, when the Internet was flooded with a meme comparing Kim Kardashian and Ayesha Curry. The meme imparted the message that men want Ayesha Curry-types as their “wifey” and Kim K-types as a “side hoe.”
When I first saw this meme, I was shocked. Is there any reason these two women should be compared? No. Is there any reason to put Kim down or compare her to Ayesha Curry simply because they’re different women? No.
Kim didn’t think so either, and decided to respond: She proudly posted a nude selfie on Twitter and Instagram.
Every celebrity has haters, but the backlash Kim immediately received in response to this post was particularly harsh. A firestorm of tweets, articles and posts about that selfie quickly followed, many of which claimed that Kim’s selfie set a bad example for children — especially her children, North and Saint West, who will apparently be ashamed to call her their mother because of this photo. Women, these comments imply, who are proud of their bodies are horrible and terrible, and woman should monitor their actions out of fear of how others will interpret them.
Perhaps the most shocking part of this mayhem was that the immediate and negative responses weren’t just made by anonymous online trolls, but also by other prominent women. Bette Midler and Chloe Grace Moretz, for example, both tweeted criticism of Kim’s decision to expose herself.
Kim, however, quickly fired back at in defense of her actions on Twitter, even though she has avoided commenting on feuds, drama, or any shade directed at her in the past. She defended her ability to ~make her own decisions~ as an adult who can not only do whatever she wants with her body, but who is proud of her body even though it doesn’t align with the normalized thin-ideal.
This whole interaction points to an age-old, sexist reality: Women are especially encouraged to turn biased perceptions and first impressions of other women into judgements, then use them as the basis for comparison. This comparison is often dictated by age-old double standards. For example, women who date too much are sluts, but are prude if they don’t date enough. Women who are too professionally motivated are “bossy” and “arrogant,” but are “lazy” or “gold-diggers” if they aren’t motivated enough. And, in this case, motherhood is at odds with sexuality: Women can’t possibly recognize their own desires and needs while filling those of others, like their children.
Normalizing these double-standards ultimately creates an environment in which people feel entitled to judge and shame women — in which doing so is normalized. Because it’s considered normal, women aren’t supposed to question this criticism, and if they stands up for themselves, they’re considered. “bitchy” or “entitled.”
The point that I’m trying to make is this: In a world of double standards, judgement, and false perceptions, women need to stick together rather tear each other down. Kim should not have had to defend herself because women overall should be able to make their own decisions and choices and have different opinions without being caught in the double standards that have plagued us for centuries. Therefore, shaming Kim Kardashian doesn’t just hurt her. It hurts us all.
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