Kim Kardashian. As her name rolls off my tongue, I can feel the judgement and backlash for even talking about her. It’s okay everyone, I understand. I’m with you. I’m tired of seeing her now infamous behind on the cover of Paper Magazine all over my newsfeed. It’s on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and every possible news outlet. I think our dislike of Kim Kardashian lies in the fact that we’re subconsciously guilty; we complain about her ubiquitous fame, yet we collectively give it to her. She sought out to “break the internet” and we fed right into it.
There are multiple reasons as to why we can hate the cover: the racist undertones the photographs represent, the blatant photoshop of a woman’s body to unrealistic proportions. However, we can’t hate her for being a mother. Being a mother, and embracing your sexuality are not mutually exclusive. As women, as human beings, we are entitled to both without our motherhood being put on trial.
When actress Naya Rivera commented on Kim Kardashian’s photo via Instagram and said, “…you’re someone’s mother”, all I could think was “What the fuck does that actually have to do with anything?” I’m not one to defend Kim Kardashian, but the issue is bigger than her. This is a critique I’ve seen reiterated on countless occasions, including towards Miranda Kerr when she decided to bear all for her GQ spread.
Why does our sexuality need to stop once we become mothers? Do we stop being human beings? Beyonce addressed these questions in her docu-series saying “I don’t have any shame at all about being sexual, I’m not embarrassed about it and I don’t feel like I have to protect that side of me because I do believe that sexuality is a power that we all have.”
However Beyonce, Miranda Kerr and Kardashian still receive criticism from fans for being a bad role model.
I’m assuming the remark stems from the idea that as a parent, Kardashian needs to be setting a good example. As a censored society, we associate nudity with being promiscuous and risque, qualities that we do not associate with being a good mother and setting a good example. We envision the “perfect” mother as a character in a 50’s sitcom: modest and humble. She is expected to always cater to her children, keep her house clean, and provide a hot home cooked meal at the dinner table. It’s almost as if bearing children is the death of your sexuality as a woman. By Kardashian posing nude on the cover of a magazine, she not only negates all of these archetypes but also promotes the idea of owning your sexuality as a mother. She did so on a very public platform which shocked people. The idea of a woman as an actual human being is surprising to people.
Furthermore, my issue lies in the fact that men don’t receive the same criticism. Does anyone blink an eye when David Beckham models half naked for mens underwear? Channing Tatum is practically praised as the next Messiah for reprising his role as a male stripper in Magic Mike. Nobody questions his ability to be a parent. His status as a good father is never critiqued. Society holds fathers to different standards than mothers. So this is my rant: to put down another female for being a mother and a sexual being is disgusting, regardless of who she is.
Women have every right to present themselves sexually on their terms without their motherhood called into question.