by Bhavna Singh
Photographs. It was once believed they steal your soul. In the age of the selfie, our souls are laid bare. I don’t love pictures of myself. I shy away from selfies but then again, I’m not coffee-table-book ready like Kim Kardashian. The selfie queen got all up in social media faces on #InternationalWomensDay with a nude on her Instagram account. Granted, it was self censored, with black bars covering her swimsuit bits but the world seemed to crash and burn. She then replied to the reactions with a professionally taken nude. No one rioted about that one. It was somehow more tasteful than the one taken in her bathroom. Not sure why. I thought the bathroom selfie did a great job of showing off her abs. Post North, most people would kill for that kinda tummy. And have you seem her sister Khloe? She’s nekkid everywhere! But apparently mothers have different rules.
At this point, I want to revert to calling her Kimberly, like Caitlyn Jenner does. It seems appropriate for her as a mom of two, who should have sober habits and keep her clothes on.
This morning, Kimberly released a statement saying basically, her body, her choice. I get that. I get that every choice is personal, especially when it comes to my body as woman. A robust discussion ensued on Twitter with a follower about moms needing to be “dignified”. Herein lies my problem: who decides that? Who makes rules as to what constitutes as dignity?
I grew up in a very traditional, rather conservative Indian family and in a community that has a set of cultural norms. My uncles had a fit when I dyed my hair deep burgundy at 18. My dad nearly lost the plot when I wore Doc Martens with a dress. Both, were considered undignified. I am apparently still undignified because I swear a lot, my hair is sometimes bubblegum blue, I drink wine and heaven forbid, I laughed during my granny’s funeral. She was a funny lady and deserved smiles.
But there you go. So who then is making these rules? Is there a panel who is busy typing up what I should be like as a mom? Am I going to be allowed to wear anything but beige Capri pants and tracksuits to the mall? What happens when I’m pushing a stroller in Choo’s and a mini dress?
I hear Kimberly. I hear her need to have people recognise that it’s her body. She mentions the sex tape from yonks ago that made her famous. Why then, are we all suddenly bowled over by the shock of her torso and thighs? I haven’t seen the tape and so I still haven’t seen Kim K’s nipples. I’ve seen Miley’s, Olivia Munn’s (because Deadpool) and even Halle Berry’s but not Kim’s. So, there’s that. Are they pink? Brown? Does she have bigger areolas now that she’s nursing Saint? Do the carpets match the drapes? I don’t know! And yet, there’s the stink eye for this woman, who women ogle every day. Other celebs wear just as much, or little. J-Lo is a mom of twins and she’s mostly in a swimsuit with bits, at every event. Angelina Jolie has like, 17 children and I know her far too intimately. Beyonce basically wears sequinned underwear to everything also. Kris Kardashian did a nudie with the American flag and she has all the children! All! But apparently, this is not acceptable. The choice, it seems, does not lie with the owner of the body.
That choice that women have burnt bras for and campaigning about with causes like #freethenipple is fundamental to where we’re going as a society. I am pro choice. I believe my body is my own and even if I’m screamed at to prove my worth by doing my own nude shoot to prove a point, I will not. It’s my choice. I don’t have to explain it. @PearlPillay pointed out what I held back from saying, “We can support abortion. That doesn’t mean we’re going to get pregnant just so we can have one.” Abortion can turn a conversation ugly. But Pearl had other examples too. “I can support the legalisation of marijuana, doesn’t mean I’m a dealer. Can support polyamory doesn’t mean I’ll practice.” All of these are true. I don’t have to get naked to understand where Kimberly is coming from. I wish I had the body confidence she has. I wish I had a glam squad and a personal trainer and someone who stocked my fridge with healthy snacks. I wish I had Gwen Stefani’s six pack and Neve Campbell’s calves. I wish someone would ask to take photos of me where I could dress up like a fairy princess on a vine swing or with giant black angel wings but hey, no one has. If they did, I’d sit my hubby down and we’d talk and figure out what the best thing to do is. I’m sure Kanye has no issues with Kimberly’s assets. As many of us say, if you don’t like it, there’s an unfollow button. Click it. There’s also a mute function. Please feel free to use that too.
There’s an argument out there that Kimberly used International Women’s Day for the publicity. Maybe. Maybe that’s what she does. Maybe reality television is so real to people that suddenly mommy Kimberly has to usurp Kim, the champagne glass on her bum Kim. Kim, who makes money from image and publicity.
After all that, Kim doesn’t care. She shouldn’t. All publicity is good publicity. Kimberly “Noel” Kardashian, the new standard for mothering, who should apparently now change who she is to be one. I am actually laughing out loud. I wait for the day for someone to instruct me on who I should be for my children. I suspect I will have the same reply as my mom. Silence.