Naked butt pictures and “real feminism”

What does it mean to be a “real feminist”? I’d say it requires one to believe in the inherent worth and dignity of women: the spectacular concept that we deserve better treatment than that of second-class citizens.

It’s just too bad we can’t all agree on what that looks like in real life. Particularly the “dignity” part.

I am no slut-shamer. If a woman decides to pose naked for a magazine, fine. I’d never do it, but that’s me. It just blows my mind that so many women and men alike see this kind of exhibitionism not just as someone’s choice, but as something to be jealous of (because all women who have pride in their bodies would shed their clothes for the world, is the underlying implication). Doesn’t that sort of fly in the face of the whole concept of personhood – something women have been fighting to prove for, I don’t know, centuries? Millennia?

“Personhood” being this radical idea that women are more than breasts. More than objects to masturbate to. More than just vaginas.

That’s why I agree with Glee actress Naya Rivera when she commented on the latest nude photo spread of Kim Kardashian that is rumored to #BreakTheInternet. “I normally don’t, but…you’re somebody’s mother.”

I don’t agree because I think mothers aren’t allowed to be sexy. I agree because of the implications for young girls who are facing enough sexual pressure already simply by growing up. And for a young girl to see her mother become so successful for her appearance alone…well, that just seems a little counter-intuitive.

That being said, it’s wrong to call Kim Kardashian a slut. Name-calling is never okay. I am critiquing the decision to pose nude, not the woman who made it.

I ask you to please take a moment to consider what we’re really saying when some of the loudest preachers of feminism today (in the celebrity realm) are women whose entire careers are bent toward catering to male fantasies, effectively confirming that sex appeal gets you further ahead than intelligence or a college degree can.

That’s the message I read when another singer releases an album where her ass is more prominent than her face. That’s the message I receive when a woman is called “brave” for being open about her role in the adult film industry to pay for college, and somehow that’s a bigger deal than education being so expensive, students have to turn to porn to afford one in the first place.

But it all boils down to choice over principles, so that makes it perfectly acceptable. It really seems that if you have any standards about sex and the human body at all – even if you don’t impose them on others – that makes you backwards, unprogressive, and unenlightened.

What I see is not empowerment, but increasingly lowered standards for success. It’s beyond pathetic that in 2014, we have not advanced to a point where sex appeal is not just part of a woman’s career, but a launching pad for one (and don’t mistake me, people: I don’t think sex appeal in and of itself is a bad thing).

If that makes me a “bad feminist,” so be it. This is “empowerment” my ass (yes, that was an intended lame pun).

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About Beth Caplin

Just an author, blogger, and editor working hard so my cats can have a better life.
This entry was posted in Feminism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Naked butt pictures and “real feminism”

  1. kazblah says:

    YES!!! When Beyonce struts around the stage in her knickers with FEMINISM etched in capital letters behind her, I don’t even know what feminism is anymore.

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  2. Bryan says:

    Spot on wth your def of “personhood”!

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  3. But there are many offspring of much more famous stars who are champing at the bit to make it on their own and who have not. In my line of work I have personally been privy to some to their attempts.
    Laurence Fishbourne’s daughter for example made a rather vomit inducing purposefully aimed sex tape. She had a plenty big platform to spring from and oodles of publicity and yet…nada.

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  4. Can’t say i disagree on the whole, however:

    This bit, “I don’t agree because I think mothers aren’t allowed to be sexy. I agree because of the implications for young girls who are facing enough sexual pressure already simply by growing up. And for a young girl to see her mother become so successful for her appearance alone…well, that just seems a little counter-intuitive.” is interesting. It assumes that Ms K IS only successful for her appearance alone. Well if that were true why aren’t women just as beautiful as her as equally feted and famous?
    If it were that simple and easy an equation to ‘success’ why isn’t everyone (who wants to) achieving the same ‘success’ at her levels merely by removing their clothes?

    Secondly, I genuinely don’t know what would be sadder. A young girl making the assumptions you appear to be making about a mother making her success on her appearance alone and copying that, whilst dismissing book and life-learned knowledge, or a woman curtailing her life and opportunities because of what she feels her daughter or other people’s daughters might think some 5 to15 years later.

    I have heard your argument bountiful times but I have never, ever, ever heard anyone ask a man to consider sidelining his life to take on board the thoughts of society’s children. And in history men predominantly have committed the most heinous acts on humanity and continue to do so. She is merely showing her bum in comparison. Isn’t there some in-built subconscious woman hate, anti-bias, or fear/dislike of a woman doing exactly what she wants with her own sexuality right there at the starting gate?

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    • Beth Caplin says:

      “Well if that were true why aren’t women just as beautiful as her as equally feted and famous?”

      Well, Kim has an advantage over the average woman as far as her platform is concerned. Her dad did defend OJ Simpson, so that helped a lot with publicity. And then there was that sex tape…

      And men should be held to the same standards of integrity as well.

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  5. Honestly? I agree, fellow feminist. I have no problem with nudity – I think it can be beautiful, in fact – but I’m not sure how the context of catering to men’s whims is beautiful or empowering.

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