Why Kim Kardashian shouldn’t be bashed by feminists
She’s an icon in her own right
She is attacked almost daily from all sides for being a bad role model, a bad feminist and a bad mother; and although she’s clearly not the smartest cookie in the tin, she still has an impressive net worth of $85 million (no biggie). Her somewhat ‘unorthodox’ methods led to her rise to fame and she is now a reality T.V. personality, businesswoman and model, but we all knew that already.
Kim K has been ripped apart by critics all over the globe for her complete lack of perspective, her obsession with her image and her dgaf attitude, hailed as an appalling feminist role model and charged with the murder of the term “empowerment”.
I have three main issues with this.
- Are these not the exact reasons that she is famous? She receives attention for her lack of common sense, crazy curves and flawless contour. Did you expect that fame would suddenly transcend her to a state of enlightenment where she would put down the makeup brushes, throw on Kanye’s 10-year-old XXL sweatshirt and some ‘sensible shoes’ and declare that “there’s more to life than appearances”? Her entire brand rests on appearances and that is not a negative thing. Why should she change herself and her livelihood because she was catapulted into the limelight? She’s a human being and she lives her life authentically. She didn’t enter into the limelight through her political activism, she entered it through a home-video and a reality T.V. show; her entire brand depends on her being true to herself.
- Are the girls who work hard on their image and embrace all things makeup and fashion less feminist than the girls who don’t? That seems a bit unequal, doesn’t it? And it’s what’s splitting up the feminist movement right now. If we hate on women for wanting to get married and have children, or for going out in short, tight clothes and spending three hours on their makeup, or for going braless, manless and razorless, we’re now just bitching about each other under the guise of feminism. Our division is what’s making it so easy to dismiss us. Feminism should be about uniting with each other and supporting each other, it’s about having the same choice and opportunityas men. Whatever we decide to do with that freedom is individual prerogative and Kim shouldn’t be denied hers.
- Why her?!Why is she the one being targeted to consistently tear down? “Because she’s a bad role model”. But why? As far as I see it, she had sex, then she lived her life and then she showed off her makeup and her wardrobe, she just did it all on camera. If it’s not your thing, don’t watch it. I don’t. She’s not sending you leaflets with Vote Kim on it (unlike Kanye, but that’s a different kettle of fish). She’s not a danger to your way of life, but her message empowers so many young women who identify with her and who feel completely ignored by the rest of the feminist movement. These young women don’t go and strip off naked all over Instagram and make their own sex-tapes (although fuck-it, if that’s your jam, slay it). We don’t just mindlessly wander about with our phones super-glued to our faces, following random celebrities like many of her critics would have you believe. We understand that she’s not winning any Nobel prizes, but that’s not why we love her. We love her for her candid acceptance of her femininity and the way that she shamelessly used it to become $85 million richer.
Now, I’ve never been the biggest fan of Kim K. I have no love for her as a role model, but I have respect for her as a businesswoman and as a source of comfort and community to many of my friends. Just because Kim isn’t educated in gender history doesn’t mean you can sit and rip her to shreds.
Her Instagram nudes seem to have attracted the most attention from critics recently. Because she is a massive female presence in the media, I can understand that representation is important, but she’s not presenting her personal form of expression as the only way women can or should do it. She didn’t post these photos with the caption “this is what feminism looks like”, “all women should be like me”, or “come on, gals, get your tits out, cause we’re no good for much else”; that’s not what happened. She posted a cheeky photo of her as naked as the day she was born and she looks great! Go Kim, nice tan. Trying to hold every single woman up as an accurate representation of the feminist cause is absolutely ridiculous. Donald Trump being a massive racist doesn’t come back to his gender.
Whatever Kim – or anybody else for that matter – wants to do with their own body, they should be able to do without persecution. I am absolutely sick of people telling women how to define feminism and what we are allowed do with our bodies. Some women find strength through their talents, some through their intelligence, some through kindness, some through beauty and many through all four. Valuing beauty doesn’t have to equate to superficiality or vanity.
The focus here is not on her public nudity (and for God’s sake, the two big black stripes should save your poor eyes), it’s about her feeling comfortable in her body and being confident enough in herself to share it without feeling guilty or embarrassed. That’s all she wants for women, she just chose to display it in a very Kim K way. And she’s right. Why shouldn’t we be proud of our bodies, big or small? Why shouldn’t we be proud of our perfect eyebrows and our eyeliner-flicks? Why are we being condemned for feeling like Queens? It doesn’t mean that we value our other qualities less. We just know when we look good and it should be celebrated.
As Kim so eloquently said in her response to this criticism;
“I don’t do drugs, I hardly drink, I’ve never committed a crime — and yet I’m a bad role model for being proud of my body.
“I am empowered by my body. I am empowered by my sexuality. I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my skin. I am empowered by showing the world my flaws and not being afraid of what anyone is going to say about me. And I hope that through this platform I have been given, I can encourage the same empowerment for girls and women all over the world.”
Even after this undoubtedly positive message, she was brought down in Cosmopolitan (I thought you guys would be on our side?) for the response only being posted on her paid-subscription-only website. “So you can only read the whole thing if you’re willing to pay $2.99 a month to the Kardashian-West coffers.” Well, with all due respect… duh? She’s a businesswoman. Her product is herself. If you want it, you gotta buy it. Again, I feel that everybody is missing the point a bit.
Kim Kardashian can’t help the fact that she looks like Kim Kardashian. Her business acumen is impeccable, she’s one of the richest women in the world and yet she’s still being slated for it. She has achieved all of this her way and however morally abhorrent anyone finds it, it really has nothing to do with anyone but Kim K. She never asked to be a feminist icon and I’m sure most people would agree that she is much more use to women in her bedroom absolutely slaying it for Instagram than she would be at a conference on women’s rights in a turtleneck and a button down cardigan. Her gift to us is her booty, not her brain and that’s much better for everyone involved. Some girls want to be engineers, some girls want to be make-up artists, some girls want to be sex workers and some girls don’t look like girls. In this day and age, get over it.