Kim Kardashian: style icon, reality star, mother, business woman. The Armenian-American bombshell has topped many a headline over the past few years with topics ranging from her love and family to real estate and favorite foods. However, one topic in particular seems to constantly reoccur: the booty, its physical validity, its shape in a bathing suit, its participation in yoga classes, etc.
Its newest tabloid conquest involves Kardashian’s spread in Paper. This week’s issue features photos of Kardashian in various levels of undress. Not only does the famed booty receive its spotlight—the image of her shiny, oiled-up butt is already on its way to Internet memedom—the rest of her body is revealed too. Almost instantly, the shoot walloped the web with voluptuous force, tossing the worlds of Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter into a tailspin of trending topics and heated discussions.
While some view the spread as a feminist mantra—a symbol of sexual freedom, self-expression, and body confidence. Others deem the photos grotesque, crass, and inappropriate. Celebrities have chimed in, namely Glee’s Naya Rivera who tweeted (directly to Kardashian): “I normally don’t. But…you’re someone’s mother…”
So, are these photos empowering or inappropriate? That’s up for debate. See, the topic of nudity is difficult to argue, being approachable from various angles such as race or gender. However, perhaps it’s important to examine nudity as a whole, of any gender or race, in addition to its motivation and connotation.
Nudity seems to snag a free pass when it comes to film, art, or political statements.Though, the nudity’s motivation seems to influence its approval rating. A prime criticism of the shoot targets Kardashian’s purpose. In the spread’s accompanying article, “NO FILTER: An Afternoon with Kim Kardashian,” writer Amanda Fortini provides a fascinating character sketch of the starlet drawn from their time spent together.
For the most part, they chat about Kim’s affection for Instagram and all things app. Sometimes Kardashian sheds some light on her family, describing a trip to a pumpkin patch with North West and Kanye. Fortini comments on this tidbit of information, “The next day, as I scroll through Instagram, I come across…two photos of North toddling around the pumpkin patch in a tiny fringed cape and Baby Vans. One of these pictures has more than a million likes,” says Fortini. Kim also references a book she’s currently working on: a photo collection of her Instagram selfies. When asked if there would be a Kim Kardashian without social media, the reality show princess responds, “I don’t think so…I don’t think social media was that heavy when we started our show, but I think we really evolved with social media.”
So, it’s quite obvious that Kim Kardashian feeds on social media, a gateway to knowledge, interaction, attention: fame. While actors rely on movie tickets sold, Kim relies on retweets. She matches the pop-stars albums sales with her Instagram likes.
Ben Affleck’s nude scene in Gone Girl has yet to stir up controversy, but a different reaction would surely ensure if the married father of three purposely plastered his penis all over the Internet. Affleck’s motivation was the art—the film, scene, and character. Eva Mendes posing for a PETA’s “I’d Rather Go Naked Then Wear Fur” campaign serves as a PSA that sends a message through the photography.
According to Paper, Kim’s spread was born to “break the Internet.” She was, undoubtedly, successful in garnering this public attention. However, contrary to the saying, not all press is good press.
Take Justin Bieber for example: his scandal-saturated career took an arrow to the chest after his various misdeeds went public. With all the bad press (and there was a lot of it), his album sales dropped, his second movie floundered at the box office, and he struggled to strike decent spots on the Billboard charts.
Bad press can potentially capsize a career if it manifests too frequently. After talk dies down, fascination and admiration follow suit.
“What’s wrong with getting naked?” you ask. Nothing’s wrong with getting naked. However, getting naked for attention is a topic with debatable morals.
If somebody takes their clothes off for attention, for public gusto: he or she becomes a Fame stripper, someone who relies on their naked body for celebrity. Taking that into consideration, it’s a pretty effective tactic: Kim’s skin sweater consumed pop-culture this week.
However, how long can someone perform in this manner before the smoke clears and the public loses interest?
After a while, the masses may see past the nudity and acknowledge it as desperate plea for attention—a last ditch effort for relevance. This shoot’s press can inflate or deflate her celebrity, but only time will tell. Anyway, in other news, I hear we landed on a comet?