My Worth and Kim Kardashian’s Naked Butt

A few of my friends have shared an article or two or twelve in reaction to the recent photos of Kim Kardashian, and, as usual, the articles fall short of what I hope they would say. The articles generally condemn her for the photos, reminding women of the religious mandate for modesty and preaching about how the readers (presumably most often women) are worth more than their ability to conform to beauty standards.

Sigh.

I’m thoroughly exhausted by the sermons of the modesty police. By railing against clothes that show off a woman’s butt or a neckline that isn’t at her throat, they imply that our bodies are shameful and meant to be hidden, lest they entice the menfolk. It puts the responsibility for “sin” on the woman, rather than in the hearts of the men – and it also presents a misunderstanding of sin in which attraction is mistaken for lust. However, they seem to fall short of telling men to stop dressing one way or another, ignoring the possibility that clothes enhance men as much as women (I’ll give you a moment to Google “Ryan Gosling in a suit”). They also tend to be the same crowd that decries the religion-mandated clothing women wear in Muslim countries. Well, why is one form of religious modesty OK and another is oppression?

Let’s be honest: Kim Kardashian’s butt is epic. I am jealous, because I have no butt, something that had been tragic in previous relationships with men who like butts. I know I’m not the only straight woman who has ever looked at her butt and thought a. her butt is epic, and b. I wish mine looked that good. Yesterday, I was watching The View (side effect of being in the middle of job interviews) and to paraphrase Rosie O’Donnell, “if I had Kim Kardashian’s body, I would be naked in the frozen food section at the grocery store.” OK, maybe not, because I’m a chicken and can’t afford bail money, but you know what I mean.

Now about the issue of worth:

The articles are intending to remind the readers that a woman is worth more than her body, but there are a few things that they miss:
1. Kim Kardashian is not worth any less than any other woman because she has posed for nude pictures. We as the church, are called to love. End of sentence. Please stop throwing religious stones at her.
2. The intrinsic value of a woman is not relative to her body, but the realistic value is. Consider these realities: women get paid less than men, overweight women get paid less than thin women, plus-sized women’s clothing is disproportionately more expensive than big men’s clothing in many places, women pay more for things that are “designed for women” (everything from razors to pens), women face higher rates of eating disorders as a result of the pressures to look certain ways, women pay more for health insurance… I could go on, but you get the picture: it’s more economically challenging to be a woman than a man, simply because of her body and societal perceptions of gender. It shouldn’t be this way, and it would be great if what is on the inside is really what counts, but realistically, what’s on the inside is weighed heavily against the packaging it’s in.

image

In 2010, with my "cousins" Alyssa, Jess, and Tessa. One day I'll stop wincing when I see pictures of me (especially older pictures).

It’s hard to not look like Kim Kardashian. It’s hard to turn on the TV and see a solitary person who looks anything at all like me (Melissa McCarthy) amidst a sea of size 2 women, to see magazines covered with models and actresses who weigh nearly half what I weigh. It’s hard to counteract years of insecurities and try to think of myself as pretty or attractive.

It’s also hard to look like Kim Kardashian. I have a couple friends who are more like cousins to me, who have the best bodies I’ve probably ever seen in real life. They’ve worked hard for them. They’re also smart, funny, brilliant women who have, at times, faced a lot of pressure because of their too-perfect bodies. Other girls/women wouldn’t trust them around their boyfriends for fear that they would “steal” them, or would avoid being friends with them altogether. Honestly, if I hadn’t grown up loving them to pieces, I may have the same insecure reactions. Even now, I cringe a little when I see pictures of us together because it looks like a bad joke of “one of these things doesn’t belong here.”

So many of these articles that surface every time something edgy makes the news send women a well-intentioned, harmful message: you fail to meet the mark, but that’s OK because your body doesn’t matter anyways.

Ouch.

My body does matter, thank you very much. It matters because sometimes I like feeling pretty and feminine and desired. When I’m not financially punished for being a female, you can start to argue that it’s the inside that matters. The day legislators stop arguing over my body and the bodies of other women, I will throw a great big party for my brain, which they are far less concerned about. Until then, both my body and my brain matter.

I propose we try a different response: love and respect. Love and respect women no matter how they dress, or whether or not they are comfortable doing nudes. Love and respect women enough to stop telling them that their bodies don’t matter. Love and respect women enough to stop yelling at and shaming the women who look like Kim Kardashian or like me.

It shouldn’t be revolutionary to suggest that women be treated with love and respect, but it does seem to be an uncommon occurrence.

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About BearsGrl8

I'm a geek, a "Supernatural" fangirl, a progressive, an introverted loud-mouth, a damn fine cook, a Bears fan, a Blackhawks fan, and a fantastic aunt.

Posted on November 14, 2014, in On Being a Woman and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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