Once upon a time, Kim Kardashian clapped back at a Twitter troll. It went like this:
Him: “All u think about is food fat bitch,”
Which was perfect. In a digital world built on branding and saying the right (and/or most commercially viable thing), we rarely see anyone other than comics, writers, and those sitting outside the A-list bubble respond to haters the way we’d like them to (or the way we would). Celebrities are supposed to be like that famous wedding verse: patient, kind. They don’t envy or boast, and they are not proud.
Except for Kim.
Kim isn’t perfect. And she doesn’t try to be. She embraces her physicality, her sex life, and her penchant for material goods. She’s been raked over the coals for everything from her 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries to her sex tape (even years later) to her 2015 book, Selfish, which consists entirely of selfies. But this “do what I want attitude” actually contributes more to our cultural landscape than just a flawless, branded faux heroine. Kim Kardashian is nothing but human, and doesn’t pretend to be more.
Then, when she was tired of the claims that she wasn’t actually pregnant, she took to Instagram and posted a nude selfie, which effectively proved her pregnancy as well as how ready she is to speak out, defend herself, and shut down the idiocy she tends to be bombarded with.
“First they said I’m too skinny so I have to be faking it…Now they say I’m too big so I have to be faking it…SMH!” she captioned. “Some days I’m photographed before I eat & look smaller, some days I’ve just eaten & I look bigger. It’s all a part of the process. I think you all know me well enough to do I would document the process if I got a surrogate. Everyone’s body is different, every pregnancy is very different!” Or, “How Kim Kardashian taught us basic anatomy.” (Putting herself out there in the process.)
Which is what Kim Kardashian does best. A shameless advocate of her own body, she relishes in exhibitionism to the point of breaking the Internet and releasing the newly-developed Kimojis, which include the aforementioned pregnant nude selfie (among other #controversial imagery). Her maternity clothes accentuated her bump, and her Princess Leia metal bikini allegedly brought she and husband Kanye West together.
The fact that she’s constantly shamed for baring her bod only proves how necessary her overt self-confidence is. Despite the deep-seeded hatred for Kim (by the types of trolls who think she only cares about food), she continues to do, well, her. She doesn’t stop, doesn’t change, and she doesn’t flinch. She’s herself, flaws and all, which sends the message that being human is to live. (And to live well — Kim may come from money, but she is earning her own keep.)
It’s easy to say that Kim Kardashian’s fame stemmed from a sex tape with an ex-boyfriend and excellent marketing skills. (Because sure: that’s arguably the way her career got kick-started.) But the reason it’s easy to say that is because it’s lazy and unoriginal. Now, nearly ten years after the tape was made, Kim Kardashian has proven herself a natural-born hustler who’s willing to work and willing to earn, especially as proven by the 2015 successes of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood updates, Kimojis, Selfish, and the TV show that just keeps on going. Scared men of the world may throw shade and loudly lament that Kim Kardashian is a terrible role model, but anyone who’s paid attention to her trajectory this year would know better.
Humans make mistakes, they are messy, and they aren’t perfect. And for the celebrity machine to keeping churning out (seemingly) flawless heroines only serves to uphold a narrative that the life of a woman must be neat, tidy, and totally sellable. But Kim Kardashian sells her own life. She’s transparent about where’s she’s at and who she is, and she doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a reality star-turned-businesswoman and/or mother with a lust for Balmain. Her success this year tells young women not that they should be like her, but that they should be like themselves. Because if we’re going to keep living in a heavily branded reality as we continue the grind, we may as well sell a brand that we actually know: us.
So abandon all guises of perfection, ye who enter. 2015 may have helped establish this as Kim Kardashian’s world, but her DGAF badassery made more than enough room for us to build our own alongside it.
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