Ever since Kim Kardashian exposed her bare bottom on the cover of Paper Magazine, people have buzzed with discussion. This was cynically and correctly predicted by the magazine. They used pictures of Kardashian to “break the Internet,” maybe to a point beyond repair.
I will never argue against the accusations of Kardashian being spoiled and talentless. I’m fully aware that her fame is the result of coasting on others’ accomplishments. Her riches came from her father’s success as O.J. Simpson’s defense attorney and her assets doubled when she married someone (or two people) with actual jobs. I get that.
What concerns me, though, is how much slut-shaming I’ve seen since the photoshoot was released.
When I read the photo comments of the picture on Facebook, one sentiment was almost universal. “Kim, you’re a mother. How can you parade your body like this?”
Apparently, when someone becomes a mother, they should abandon their sexuality. If they give birth to a child, they will be vilified for going public in a sexual way. Kardashian’s career (if you can even call it that) before motherhood was wrapped in her sexuality. Why can’t she continue her career through her sexual persona?
If using her body for commercial success is what she is good at, then by all means, let her continue to do so.
Let’s remember where babies come from in the first place. I’ll give you a hint: they are a product of sex. To expect women to hide their sexuality because they are mothers makes no sense.
Motherhood is no longer just a job title that means they take the children to school every day, feed them and take care of them. It is also used as a way to police women’s conduct. If a woman does anything that doesn’t seem motherly or in good taste, she is reminded by society that she is a mother. You know, as if she forgot.
This standard is not parallel for men who are fathers. Despite being dads, celebrities like David Beckham and Brad Pitt are idolized and put on a pedestal for their sexuality. Did you know that Channing Tatum was a father when he played a male stripper in the movie “Magic Mike”? I bet a lot of people who went to see “Magic Mike” didn’t really give it much thought.
If these men posed partially nude for a magazine cover, I guarantee that nobody would comment and say, “How dare you? You’re somebody’s father. Have you no shame?”
Let me clarify. I’m not a staunch defender of bad mothers. If you have children, it is your responsibility to take care of them and be the best parent you can be. However, I’m defending mothers who are expected to hide their bodies, privatize their sexuality and revert to a nun-like aura of prudence.
Why must a mother’s sexuality be a direct reflection of how well she takes care of her children? Why should those things correlate? You won’t see me spouting off about being Kardashian’s number one fan, but the criticism of her decision is overtly critical. Let’s admit it. Moms can be sexy, too.
Column by Carly Besser, Opinion Editor