Personally, I’m not one for taking selfies regularly. It’s good enough that I make it out of bed every day, let alone be photo ready with the right lighting. The topic of selfies has previously not really held that much importance to me. I certainly don’t feel confident enough to post any solo ones (you might wake up like this but I mostly wake up looking like I’ve been dragged along tarmac), but am partial to a snapchat selfie with friends at social gatherings for the memories. I’ve always held the attitude that if you feel confident enough to post a selfie, good on you.
Apparently not an attitude held by everyone, however, when Kim K’s nude selfie entered our Instagram feeds. Some people did not feel that a bangin’, post pregnancy bod was a good enough excuse to be posting a nude. Not even when, thanks to the sexism of Instagram’s hidden terms and conditions, she covered her breasts and vag with black bars in case, heaven forbid, the world should see a female nipple and die of shock.
But hey, let’s not talk about the fact that Instagram will take down anything that reveals a female nipple while it’s totally fine for male nips to be spread far and wide throughout the IG world. Instead we’ll trash talk the celebrity for one of the thousands of selfies she’ll post in her lifetime and bag out her confidence when, based on her IG feed, photo shoots, television show and paparazzi photos, it’s really nothing we haven’t all seen before.
Quite a remark on society that one singular photo should spark such a response online. People are quick to criticise the Kardashian’s fame and fortune but more than happy to follow their movements across various social media platforms and partake in gossiping about the going-ons of their lives.
The general argument against this selfie is the appropriateness of it – did she really need to post that? The photo got such a response, obviously, because she is a celebrity and is exposing her life digitally to millions. No, she did not really need to post that. No one really needs to post a lot of things. However we choose to and Kim, like everyone else, can decide what she wants to do because it’s her body. It’s also her personal brand she’s promoting and, always being body confident and prone to showing off her best assets, it’s quite in line with her persona.
Other facets of the reaction to this image should also be considered, even more important than the selfie itself. People have hounded Kim for displaying her “naked” body in such a sexual pose, adding to the problem of body image in society, obviously seeking appraisal and sexualising herself for attention.
That as it may be, Kim K has built her whole brand on sexualisation by beginning with a sex tape and society has endorsed her all the while. We have all been quick to pass judgement on her action of uploading a sensual photo for a woman whose modelling and media career has been based entirely on aesthetics and who society only rewards for her sexuality then chastises her when she’s the one taking control of it.
Another element of the photo staring us right in the face but failing to be addressed is censorship. Going back to Instagram’s regulations, this “nude” selfie of Kim’s is, in fact, not that nude. Boobs covered, vagina covered, we’ve seen magazine covers printed by the thousand posing in about the same. The female nipple has been banished from Instagram’s realms, and any photo they deem as being inappropriate will be taken down. Again, this is society conditioning female nipples to be seen as something completely sexual and offensive while a male’s is not. Not to be unfair, of course you can still display your body on Instagram! Just cover your girly bits and it’s all sunshine and rainbows.
That’s exactly what Kim did, with two parallel black bars. Good enough for the world? Absolutely not. Her nakedness is still, apparently, too naked.
Remaining in line with Instagram’s standards, Kim posted another “appropriately naked” photo with the hashtag ‘liberated’ as the caption.
While I’m not disregarding her feeling of liberation in that photo, the caption in our current situation is paradoxical. “Liberated” on a platform that makes you cover up your body. “Liberated” with a following that insults the sight of a naked female. “Liberated” in a still largely censored media landscape. No bathroom selfie, this stylised and professionally shot image still received the same flack.
The woman who became famous from a sex tape, was once married for 72 days and received an apparent $200,000 proposal from her celebrity husband will no doubt continue to throw spanners into the media realm with or without intention, but her selfie indeed took on a life of it’s own when it was uploaded.
Males that enjoy appraising her body passed their judgements for giving them exactly what they want to see. Feminists who want to see change in the world judged her because it’s perhaps not the action they personally would have taken. If Kim Kardashian’s nude selfie is such a problem, the world has much larger issues to be addressed than that.