Disclaimer: I'm not on Kim Kardashian's radar. I'm not even a blip in her world.
I'm also not a fan of reality T.V., think that Honey-Boo-Boo is a good idea on any level, or appreciate what Snookie did to my brain when I tried reading her book (Hey, I was curious.) Nor do I give a damn if Kim is in a bikini selling fat-burning pills or fully dressed and eating actual food. I might have issues with naming the baby North when her last name happens to be West -- mostly because... just...seriously?.... -- but that's a topic for a different post.
Just so we are clear, though, I don't keep up with the Kardashians. Unless I happen to see it in a cover story while checking out at the grocery store, I don't see it at all. I'm just not interested in the People Being Famous for Being Famous thing.
What I am interested in, however, is coming to terms with the fact that I'm finding myself defending Kim from society and the expected walk of shame any celebrity mom is subjected to via magazine cover story wars if she isn't showcasing a taut tummy in a skimpy bikini six weeks after pushing the baby out her hoo-ha. Trust me when I say I never thought I'd hear myself say anything that sounded like "Just leave the poor girl alone, dammit." Not about a Kardashian, anyway.
And yet, here I am. It was a given the moment I laid eyes on the headline. "Kim's Body Struggle." In Touch Magazine added commentary such as "I Need to be Skinny Now!" and "The Struggle to Stop Eating for Two!" to make it all the more dramatic because if it's not sex that sells, drama is a reliable back-up. Even when the drama is bullshit.
Click! Comment! Repeat!
When I see something of interest, be it a guy juggling flaming sticks on a unicycle or a magazine that pisses me off, I get the iPhone out of my bra, snap a picture, and post it to instagram and the rest of my social media outlets. And I did just that while strangers wondered why I didn't just buy the magazine I was holding in my hand.
If you follow me online for five minutes, you'll know where my brain is pretty quickly. Body Image and working to help women see the value in themselves independent of the scale, bullshit BMIs, and Other People's Perceptions are big on my list. In my work (and as a lifelong recovering bulimic) I've come to learn that self-image is the great equalizer for us ladies. Doesn't matter if we are filthy fucking rich and famous, dirt poor and not, tall and thin, or short and Plus Size at a Size 10 and Up. We all have issues. We all have fat days. We all think we could be better/look better/be skinnier/weigh less and we've bought into society's bullshit message that we aren't good enough until approval is granted.
Glory & Lady Balls
We bitch the media tells us we aren't good enough just the way we are and then we buy another copy of People with a headline and a bikini telling us how we, too, can starve ourselves stupid in six weeks or less. We are obsessed with celebrity baby bumps and get pissy if we don't get our regular fix of Bump Watch because They Are Famous and We Must Glorify. Then we turn around and snicker when magazines go after Kim Kardashian or Melissa Joan Hart or Jessica Simpson for having the balls to eat food in public.
And we wonder why the rest of us are so fucked up? Why our daughters are asking us if they need to go on a diet instead of if they can please have some ice cream on a hot summer day? Or why we can't look in a mirror without picking our reflections apart? It's all a giant snowball that keeps rolling downhill, gathering more negative bits as it gets bigger and faster and rolls down the slippery slope heavier than it was just moments before. And giant snowballs suck.
Especially when we pretend they don't.
The Unlikely Champion
I might not be on the Kardashian Christmas card list, but I'm also not going to ignore comments stating that Kim deserves the backlash (and I did get a few of those.) Yes, I get that she made her name a household one with her body and that men are pissy that their sex symbol is currently preoccupied with motherhood and redefining normal. But that doesn't means Kim deserves to be ridiculed for being human any more than the rest of us do.
I'm not talking down to anyone who thinks like this because I used to think like this. To be honest, She Knew What She Was Getting Into did (see also: Big Girl Panties) did cross my mind more than once. But I caught myself. If this is the mindset, then only models & all of MTV should be subject to this type of backlash. And strippers, porn stars, Hugh hefner's girlfriends, and Hooters waitresse, too.
But it's not just them. It's all of us. We are all held to the standard photo-shopped ideal of perfection. Kim Kardashian may be today's news based on (perceived) lack of sex appeal, but we are all dealing with the trickle-down effect. I am not a fan of the kardashian clan, but I'm not telling Kim she should have expected the media backlash and deal.
That's not fair to her. That's not fair to any of us.