The New Wave of Feminism- Nude Selfies, Kim Kardashian, and a Return to the Dreaded Ass Eating

I have been making a conscious effort to not engage in activities or relationships that make me feel bad about myself.  No, I’m not spending my days eating cupcakes and jerking off while friends chant affirmations of “You’re Gorgeous! You’re perfect! Don’t change a thing!”  It’s just that I want more happiness in my life, so I’m steering myself toward things that bring me joy and away from things that are self destructive.

Knowing that social media is a great source of gloom, I’ve trimmed my friends list and hidden a lot of people from my feed.  I’m limiting my screen time trying to spend more time living life, less time reading about it.

When I am online, I like to enjoy a little fluff- light, entertaining stories perhaps related to fashion or entertainment.  Just some tidbit to make the day a little more fun.  In the past, my go to place for this was people.com.  I feel you judging me.  Yes, People magazine.  I am one of those terrible women who has no idea of what earth shattering tragedy is going on, but is up to the minute on the Dugger scandal, despite not watching or caring about the show.  Ugh, if you were here, I’d allow you to punch me.

As part of this new effort, I decided to give up people.com in search of a website that doesn’t feed into that celebrity gossip machine, that doesn’t make it’s money schilling photographs of impossibly beautiful celebrities.  I wanted to spend my fluff time still being fluffy but with perhaps a little more substance and a wider range of body acceptance.  My go-to website became bust.com.  BUST has been and I presume always will be my favorite magazine.  It’s kind of like Glamour for funky, punk chicks of all shapes and sizes with a feminist bent.

So I was really surprised when I logged on a few days ago and found a nude selfie of Kim Kardashian and an essay proclaiming this as an act of feminism.

http://bust.com/entertainment/15825-kim-kardashian-responds-to-slut-shaming-in-the-best-possible-way.html

What the fuck BUST?  Was this some sort of pod people thing?   Had alien lifeforms covertly taken over and contaminated the magazine I held so dear?

As we all know, life has a way of making you eat it when you get a little preachy.  Just days before I had read and reposted a piece praising the photography of Liora K, a series called “Expose: Shedding Light on Collective Beauty.”

http://www.themilitantbaker.com/2014/08/expose-shedding-light-on-collective.html?m=1

The series featured 96 women posing topless in black panties.  I found the series to be so liberating, I messaged the photographer to thank her.  Why did I see one act of nudity as an affront to all things feminist and another as being an advertisement for it?

In my mind, I tried to justify it.  Kardashian wrote “I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my skin. I am empowered by showing the world my flaws and not being afraid of what anyone is going to say about me. And I hope that through this platform I have been given, I can encourage the same empowerment for girls and women all over the world.”  I just sort of wanted to yell “BULLSHIT!”

The photo did not say empowerment to me.  It screamed desperation.  Here I am.  Look at me.  I’m naked.  See how perfect I look.  Please look at me.  It definitely did not speak to the empowerment of women and girls around the world.  To me, it looked like an idealized male fantasy- a power play of a woman using her body instead of her mind to garner attention.

I don’t see anything provocative about a woman already deemed a sex symbol by society posting another photo of herself in the nude, when there are already a plethora of such photos to choose from.  I do see photographing women of shapes we don’t often see immortalized in the nude as a revelatory act.  I’ve seen countless women who look like Kim Kardashian in main stream media.  I have seen very few that I could look on and think oh, she resembles me.  There is something healing about seeing a woman who could very well be you featured in an artistic way, as a thing of beauty.  It is eye opening to see women of all shapes and sizes seen as gorgeous, deemed as worthy, included rather than excluded.

As I pondered, I was reminded of another essay I wrote titled “Enough Ass Already!  A Woman Longs for Less Edgy Times.”

https://yourmamasallwrite.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/enough-ass-already-a-woman-longs-for-less-edgy-times/

In the essay, I wrote about an episode of Girls in which Marnie is getting a backside motorboat.

” Straight away in the first episode, Ebon Moss-Bachrach has his face buried, and I mean BURIED, in Allison Williams ass.  Cheeks shaking, facial features absorbed in flesh- there is no faking that level of intimacy.  I love the rawness of the show, but I questioned the line between legitimate acting and prostitution or pornography.  I suppose the scene informs us about the character of Marnie who wants to be a traditional good girl but makes choices to the contrary.  She judges everyone else’s scandalous indiscretions, meanwhile having plenty of her own.  But I still have to wonder, is ass eating now considered part of the skill set of being an actor?  Is the show that was championed as opening so many doors for women making it that much easier to sexualize and objectify them? Is this ass to mouth content germane to the story?  Couldn’t they just give me the gist?”

The rest of my essay went on to talk about some legitimate concerns of women seeing depictions of sex in mainstream media and feeling compelled to perform similar acts regardless of whether or not they appealed to them.  But I was also taken to task by a friend and fellow feminist.  Why was I bothered by a depiction of consensual sex?  Why is one depiction ok and another crosses the line?

When it came down to it, I had to admit, it was because the scene made me personally uncomfortable.  I watched it and thought gross.  But my friend was right.  It was a portrayal of consensual sex between adults. It was too much for me, but maybe it was just enough for someone else.  Who am I to say?

I HATE to think that Kim Kardashian is somehow aligned with the same cause I believe in.  I shouldn’t.  The more people on the side of feminism the better.

I grew into feminism as a way out of being objectified and marginalized.  I don’t look at a photo like Kardashians and think she’s stong. and sexy. and comfortable.  I just look at it and think enough ass already.

But, being a feminist means standing for all women. I can see this as a case of personal preference.  I don’t like the photo.  It is not my brand of feminism.  I remember watching a Sandra Bernhardt stand up and her making a quip about “Are you a Naomi Wolf feminist or a Camille Paglia feminist?”  I guess I am a Loira K feminist and not a Kim Kardashian feminist.  Perhaps she is bringing feminism to a new scope of women.  I’m just some woman in her forties with stretch marks and cellulite.  I’m not posing naked for anybody.

Still, I’m going to have to hope this is a one off for BUST.  I need my fluff and I prefer it a little more tattooed, hairy and with cellulite.  Call me a curmudgeon. Now, I’m off to shave my legs and draw on some eyebrows. I am nothing if not a study in contradictions.

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