We are all for Emily Ratajkowskis and Kim Kardashians to show off their bodies, but please don't call it feminism!
Feminism as a word is still taboo to many – men and women. It is still associated with the bra-burning, armpit hair-growing, man-hating feminists who marched at the Miss America protest of 1968.
Aside: Their fury and no-sh*ts-given attitude is what elevated us to the point of "We just want to be treated as equals, not superiors", btw.
However, there is a new wave of "feminism" that has feminists divided again. It does not have to do with equal pay, encouraging women to join STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) jobs or even intersectionality of feminism – it has to do with nudity.
Using nudity to express freedom of choice and freedom of expression is not new. Photographs of nude women have been captured as part of fine art as early as the 1850s by the likes of French artists Eugène Durieu and Felix Moulin. Within Hollywood, women like Janet Jackson (1993, Rolling Stones) and Demi Moore (1991, Vanity Fair) have shed clothes for the sake of "art" - and go for the shock jugular - as well.
While they received backlash at the time, now seeing our favorite celebrities in their birthday suit isn't even shocking anymore. It is the reason why most of Kim Kardashian's 109 million followers even visit her Instagram page daily, or even Emily Ratajkowski's 17 million followers, for that matter.
We love watching these women live their best life, using their God-given beauty - oftentimes enhanced by the talented hands of a plastic surgeon – to get ahead in their choice careers. We love seeing their flawless bodies in our mobile screens and we love to fawn over their overall awesomeness just as much as the next person out there.
However, calling these nudes and semi-nudes as milestones of female empowerment is completely farfetched, if not delusional.
While Kim has every right to flaunt her body and use her sex tape as a launching pad to create an empire, her nude selfies are by no means empowering.
21-year-old Chloë Grace Moretz got into a bit of a mess a couple of years back when she tried to take down the Kardashian women, especially Kim, when she said her nude pics “hold feminism back.”
She received quite the backlash for her comments at the time, with even people like Demi Lovato pointing out that different things empower different women and that no one has the right to tell them what that is.
This is obviously true, no one can tell a woman what empowers her. Nudity is as empowering for some as covering up is for others. Slut shaming Kim for embracing her sexuality and sensuality is the last thing we need to do as feminists. Kim – like many others, including her own sister Kylie Jenner - is merely playing the cards she is dealt and we must all love ourselves enough to appreciate and applaud others who do the same.
As Emily, another repeated Instagram nudist points out in one of her photo captions, "We are more than just our bodies, but that doesn't mean we have to be shamed for them or our sexuality."
However, to say that Kim's obviously edited photos that showcases her meticulously perfected body empowers other women, is beyond ridiculous. If anything, Kim is only inspiring women to get some work done on their bodies and – admittedly shaming them about their natural, oftentimes flabby, bodies that are covered in stretch marks, hair and other "imperfections."
By this standard, comedian Celeste Barber, who has become famous on the internet for comedically recreating the posts of celebrities, is a bigger feminist than any of these women.
She not only gets naked for her comedy, she also refuses to filter any of her pictures or photoshop the parts of her that is not considered beautiful by the mainstream media.
Emily and Kim have both been champions of feminism – Emily having been an activist siding with women’s rights, Planned Parenthood and the Free The Nipple campaign, and Kim hiring a lawyer to help incarcerated Black women, among other things. These are reasons to call them beacons of feminism, sharing ethereal photos of themselves merely make them beautiful women who enjoy their lives.
Then again, not everything these celebrities do have to be feminist – even if it is among the most profitable marketing strategies today. Emily, you can writhe around in pasta wearing nothing but red lingerie, gloves, because you look good doing it. You don't have to cover the fact that you look hot and you want to flaunt with this load of bullsh*t: “In the wake of the Harvey [Weinstein] fallout and women coming forward with incredible amounts of sexual harassment cases, I have been so disappointed to hear women talk about ‘modesty’ and ‘our responsibility’ as if we need to, yet again, adjust to make it ‘easier’ for the rest of the world."
For context, this is her caption for the video in which she is tossing around in pasta, without actually consuming even a string of it: “To me, female sexuality and sexiness, no matter how conditioned it may be by a patriarchal ideal, can be incredibly empowering for a woman if she feels it is empowering to her. The way I dress, act, flirt, dance, have sex - those are my decisions and they shouldn't be impacted by men. Being sexy is fun and I like it. I should never have to apologize for that. My life is on my terms and if I feel like putting on sexy underwear, it’s for me. Personal choice is the core ideal in my concept of feminism. Katie directed us to say ‘Stay Strong’ at the end of each video and I think it's a message from one woman to another. You're watching a video of a girl grinding in lingerie or whatever else and she is looking into the camera at the end saying, ‘you do you, however YOU want to, fuck the rest’. In the wake of the Harvey fallout and women coming forward with incredible amounts of sexual harassment cases, I have been so disappointed to hear women talk about "modesty" and "our responsibility" as if we need to, yet again, adjust to make it "easier" for the rest of the world. I'm tired of having to consider how I might be perceived by men if I wear the short skirt or post a sexy Instagram. I want to do what I want to do. Feminism isn't about adjusting, it's about freedom and choice.Do you think viewers will understand that, given the current wider conversation about the sexual objectification of women? why or why not? What are the risks? This is something I've battled with personally and publicly. I've had men comment on sexy images of me online and say "this is empowering to you? Ha! I just masturbated to it so hope you feel good about yourself!" I guess that's the way people can react, which ironically, ultimately serves my point. I don't care about your reaction or what you do with my expression of self. In fact, it has nothing to do with you at all and that's the point-which is why it feels good. Ultimately, if a woman wants to wear a burka or nothing at all, it's great if it's what she wants and feels good about. [sic]”
To say, this thin, white woman's take on what it ultimately means to – we need to reinstate - toss around in pasta, is completely tone deaf. We urge you to stop making these women like they need the crutch of feminism to post beautiful posts of themselves.
Feel good and look good without any guilt, ladies. Just don't call it feminism!