I will admit that I despise the Kardashians drama that seems to have transfixed our country. I don’t understand it. I can’t get behind it. But most importantly, I’m terrified about what it means in a world where I am raising a beautiful, very bright, often precocious almost 7-year old daughter.
Tuesday (March 8) was International Women’s Day. It was a day to celebrate women’s achievements and progress, and then have a real conversation about the long way that we still have to go towards true equality and parity all over the world.
However, in the US, Kim Kardashian used the platform to write an open letter to push her point of view around nude photos and how it relates to the empowerment of women. This was a direct reaction to the Twitter “war” about the nude selfie from over a year ago that she posted in which Bette Midler made a smart but simple joke that KK just couldn’t handle. Other celebrities, including Chloe Grace Moretz, Pink pushed her with real questions and she reacted like a bit of a brat. While Pink and Moretz, posted thoughtful tweets simply suggested that women are more than their bodies, Kim’s tweets were personal attacks making fun of their level of fame and/or talking about how rich she is.
The War Begins
Essentially, it went down like this:
1.) Nude photo of Kim K posted on Twitter. One of 100s that we’ve seen, because like my 2-year old, she loves to be naked and doesn’t care if people see it. Note – selfie is over a year old. It is not a picture of her now. It is a picture of her before her 2nd baby, 25 lbs lighter, because I’m not sure a “real” naked picture of a mom of two in the middle of working off the baby weight fits her brand. Fine! You know what – if you got it and want to, feel free to flaunt it. What ever. But it’s old news, kind of like Donald Trump’s hair.
2.) Bette Midler’s response – which is hilarious, clearly a joke, and very true!!!
Note – there is no body shaming in this tweet. None! This is making fun of a woman who loves to post naked selfies. Come’on now. Let’s get real. If your friend (a real person not a celebrity) posted a naked selfie of themselves on Twitter or Facebook, how would you feel? How would your employer feel? How would your family feel?
2.) Kim and other celebrities immediately fought back. Kim goes the personal attack route – no real substance, just talking about her money and calling Midler a fake friend. Other celebrities talk about a woman’s right to do what they want with their body, which I absolutely agree with, but again, it was a joke.
3.) Then, Pink and a few others come into the fray with real substance. Again, not body shaming, but suggesting that you have to stand for so much more.
4. Then, Bette added a few more thoughts, but ultimately landed on the best tweet ever!
The Real Dilemma
The problem that I have here is that Kim Kardashian West is an incredibly smart and successful business woman. Regardless of how she became famous or has stayed famous, she has turned her “15 minutes of fame” into over a decade in the public eye and essentially built a business empire worth millions of dollar. If anything, she is a testament to the fact that you can succeed in spite of real mistakes that you make in the past.
I don’t understand her lifestyle, but I don’t have to because it’s not “real world” for 99% of the country. Regardless of what I don’t like about her, she is an example of a strong, successful young woman who has made something of herself using unconventional methods.
The question is whether she is a role model. Does she have to be a role model? Does she have to use her incredibly powerful voice to stand up for real issues that matter?
The sad truth is that she doesn’t – she doesn’t have to be a role model, she doesn’t have to stand for anything important, she honestly doesn’t have to do a damn thing. Just as she can choose to be nude, she can choose to stand for nothing more than the Kardashian brand.
And candidly, I think that’s the crux of this. I think that is what has made this such a hot topic.
Kim Kardashian is not a role model for young girls or young woman, and very frankly, she will never be able to be. That is her limitation, but that too was her choice.
Because, she is a victim of her own success and we can’t ask her to be more. Her brand is built on the foundation what Pink called out – sex & body – and nothing more. When she had the opportunity to really show how much more she was, she choose to post naked selfies.
So Kim can stay famous, and sell lots of waist trainers, and false eyelashes, and emojis! She can post as many naked selfies as she wants.
But, when my daughter comes to me to ask who I respect and admire, I will show her pictures of Pink and Bette Midler. I will show her pictures of Malala Yousafzai and Emma Watson and Chloe G. Moretz. And I will show her pictures of her cousins and her aunts and her grandmothers and my friends and neighbors. Because they are mothers and more! They are also doctors, entertainers, nurses, engineers, accountants, teachers, and so much more.
Because, they are women who are beautiful and proud and successful and generally keep their clothes on — and REAL role models for women today.