Hey, Kim Kardashian: It’s Not Empowerment

Originally published March 2016

Another day, another argument about body shaming. A celebrity getting picked on for sharing a nude selfie. A year-old nude selfie. Because you know, if Kimmy’s not trending on Twitter, well … she’s gotta get on that.

“I am empowered by my body,” she says. “I am empowered by my sexuality. I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my own 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.”

Here’s the thing, Kim …

Standing in front of your mirror naked and loving what you see is empowering. Snapping a picture to share with the world is narcissistic. I get you want to empower girls and women all over the world. But good gravy I hope that doesn’t mean we’re about to get hit with a tsunami of naked selfie pics on the WWW.

I want my teen daughter to grow up being proud of the parts that make her the beautiful person she is. From her strong long legs to her hazel eyes. From the birthmark on her upper arm to her teeth that are never quite the perfect shade of white thanks to countless hours in the pool. She is stunning in my eyes – she always will be. I’m her mama. And I bite my tongue as often as I can when crabbing about my own physical shortcomings because I so desperately want her to grow up knowing she should never get down on herself because of how she looks on any given day. That girl works her butt off for love of sport, not for love of thigh gap, and I couldn’t be prouder.

I also want her to love herself, and demand nothing less than that love and respect from a partner, for the things you can’t see in a selfie—her brilliance, her shine, her personality, her deadpan sense of humor, her confidence and her grace.

So when a celebrity with the social media power of Kim Kardashian posts a selfie standing naked in a bathroom then bemoans the fact people are still talking about a 13-year-old sex tape—that it’s somehow OUR fault we still see her as a sex kitten—all I’m left with is a Seth and Amy-style “REALLY?!?”

It’s on us to see that you putting it ALL out there is a sign of empowerment? Give me a break.

Listen, Kim, you have a great body. You do. OWN it. You’ve built an empire off that ass. Run through the streets of L.A. naked. Go skinny surfing. Gaffer tape those tatas to your heart’s delight and squeeze yourself into as minimal a sheer dress you can find and exalt in the glory that is the paps following your every move. No one is stopping you. My teen sons would probably be very upset if you did stop. I also get that for you, sharing these kinds of pics is a business decision. Your business IS social media. But please … PLEASE … do not equate naked selfies with empowerment. Because it’s not. Most naked pics do nothing for the women’s movement other than set it back. It’s objectifying, not empowering.

This isn’t about wanting my kids to dress down, never wear makeup or care at all about how they look. Outward appearance is important. It does feed the soul. It’s what makes a first impression. It just shouldn’t be the biggest one. Or the only one. I want my kids to know there’s so much more to being a human being than standing in front of a mirror with your smart phone. Does empowerment result from self-esteem? Absolutely. But the self-esteem derived from sexed-up selfies is void in comparison to the feelings derived from loving yourself for everything not captured on film. Kindness. Smarts. Capabilities. Caring. Those things are real.

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