Hark! Kim Kardashian’s moon is quite *ahem* full tonight…
Your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit feeds have probably been drowning with photos of Kim Kardashian’s sizable derriere and very naked body for the Paper magazine cover and spread in its campaign to “break the Internet.”
Many reactions to the marketing ploy echo shouts of disdain and contempt, demanding that Kardashian “put some clothes on” and remember that “she is a mother.” In my opinion, this woman’s “fame” started with the circulation of a sex tape, ran its course through a barbaric (yet wildly entertaining) reality television show and has cherry-on-topped with perpetual unabashed nudity. This sort of publicity stunt is the number one way Kardashian (and her family, for that matter) manages to stay relevant. It’s her claim to fame.
While the photo spread is unquestionably great press both for Paper and for Kardashian herself (still waiting with bated breath for it to quite literally#BreakTheInternet…?), but it is exceptionally damaging in its contribution to the ever-growing list of societal expectations dictating the way a woman’s body should look. In her book, Bossypants, Tina Fey hits this issue’s nail right on its head:
“I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful.
Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyoncé and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits,” Fey wrote. “The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.”
Not only does Kardashian’s move perpetuate unrealistic expectations for females, it encourages the idea that the best way for a woman to be noticed (i.e. “break the Internet”) is by turning into an to an object for the sexual gratification of others, to submit to the male gaze. Society will be better off if these photos are seen through a perceptual lens in acknowledgment of the unrealistic body image ideals and blatant promotion of sexual objectification.