Chelsea Groth delves into the conversation around Kim Kardashian, Emily Ratajkowski and the fight to reclaim female sexuality.
Kim Kardashian is known for many things. She’s a mother, a wife, a sister, a reality star and a successful businesswoman.
She also has a sex tape.
Said tape was bought and sold without her permission (allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, Ray J, whom she loved and trusted) and has proved to be a defining moment in her career and in her life.
Hollywood has a long history of women being exploited for their bodies. You don’t have to look much further than the nude photo leak of early 2014, in which female celebrities had their privacy violated in a massive Apple iCloud hack, including Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, model Kate Upton, and musician Rihanna.
Lawrence, in particular, has been very vocal about her opinions surrounding the leaked photos and told Vanity Fair: “It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime.”
A sex crime sounds fitting for the experience that Kardashian has been having for the last thirteen years of her life.
Kim Kardashian might not be alone in her struggle, but she seems to be the only one receiving constant and critical backlash because of an event in which she was the victim.
In early March, Kardashian took to her blog to address the criticism surrounding her latest ‘nude’ selfie (pictured above) and said “I shouldn’t have to constantly be on the defense, listing off my accomplishments just to prove that I am more than something that happened 13 years ago.”
You might be thinking, well, doesn’t she exploit her own body? What about PAPER Magazine’s Break The Internet cover? Or the sexy Playboy shoot she did circa 2007?
The answer is unequivocally, unapologetically: no.
The whole world knows Kim Kardashian has The Looks™. And she knows it too. But there is a difference between exploitation and empowerment. What exactly is she trying to sell when she posts these photos? There’s certainly no advertisement in the caption, nor is she wearing designer clothing or holding Skinny Me Tea. So what is it? Herself? No.
After years of emotional abuse at the hands of her former partner, the media and the general public, Kim Kardashian is reclaiming her body.
She has had two children, married the love of her life, and maintains a lucrative career. She feels damn good. If taking a photo of herself in her home and having it posted on social media with her consent is how she wants to show that, then that’s what she should do.
Following Kim’s blog post many celebrities voiced their support for her message, but perhaps there were none more vocal than model/actress Emily Ratajkowski, who posted her own topless photo and has since penned an open letter about being sexy on your own terms.
Earlier this week, in a show of solidarity, another ‘nude’ selfie was posted – this time with Ratajkowski and Kardashian in the same frame.
Journalist Piers Morgan tweeted that feminism is dead after the photo was posted and the women declared that they were reclaiming their sexuality. I feel sorry for you, Mr. Morgan, because feminism is very much alive because of this photo, not in spite of it.
Kardashian and Ratajkowski are sisters in their fight, in every woman’s fight, because our bodies are ours. Our sexuality is ours. And we have the right to express it in any way that we choose. That’s what being empowered is. That’s what being a woman is.
The conversation is bigger than Kim Kardashian. It’s about you. It’s about your mother, your sister, your aunt, cousin, girlfriend, wife, daughter. Every woman in the world deserves to feel beautiful and to feel strong.
Empowerment is not easy to find and it is harder to keep, so hold on to it, because it’s yours.
Feature Image: Flickr, Eva Renaldi, cropped image