In the past month, the world has become quite familiarized with Kim Kardashian West’s nipples. We’ve also seen a lot of her jewelry on Instagram. Subsequently—in what was the biggest news headline in weeks—she was physically assaulted by a creepy serial celebrity attacker in Paris, and just days later, found herself the victim of an armed robbery in which her wrists were zip-tied, she was bound, gagged, and kept in the bathtub while thieves made off with million in jewels. She was, understandably, terrified both for her safety and her life. To some, including Karl Lagerfeld, Kardashian West’s flashing of her wealth made the incident understandable—how could a thief resist such displays?—though still deplorable. Others in the media has less kind things to say—memes in poor taste have popped up on Instagram, many celebrities have shamefully been overheard poking fun at or making light of the situation. Yes, Kim Kardashian West is a star with gobs of diamonds, but that doesn’t mean that any violence against her is warranted. Those who express their nonchalance at her attack would do well to remember that like us, she’s human—a wife and mother—deserving of empathy. And we’d all do well to remember what Kim has done for the rest of us, particularly for women.
Kardashian West’s activism, though we’re sure she wouldn’t call it as such, especially when considering she doesn’t call herself a feminist—began in Mexico, picking up steam during New York Fashion Week. Whether peeking through mesh bustier cups or hardly hidden behind thin cotton, her nipples were quite present, and this simple act of divulging the previously undisclosed is doing more for Free the Nipple than anyone else has managed to do—and that’s because she’s simply normalizing female nipples.
Seeing Kim Kardashian West’s nipples is different this go-round from exposures of the past, say, her cover of W in 2010. Those who keep up with the Kardashians will remember Kim’s dismay over the photos when she first saw the issue. For its cover, the artist Barbara Kruger had collaborated with photographer Mark Seliger to strategically place the words “It’s all about me/ I mean you/ I mean me” for modesty (or as modest as one can get while nude and metallic). But inside the issue, there she was in all her glory, nipples clearly visible beneath that silvery coating. Kardashian West had appeared in Playboy in 2007—but, as she cried on Kourtney & Kim Take New York, this spread in W was more “serious porn” than even that. Times have changed.
Now, in 2016, she’s bearing her breasts live in the streets entirely of her own accord. At the start, we saw her first in Mexico sporting a pair of ultra French-cut Supreme briefs and a see-through black mesh top. Then came the barrage de nipple during New York Fashion Week: the liquid metallic Maison Margiela dress; a baby blue La Perla underwire bra worn with oversized denim; Biker shorts and a button-up bustier with sheer cups. All of this, of course, just weeks after declaring herself “not the Free the Nipple kind of girl” to a conference full of bloggers in Los Angeles. But what worth are words if actions prove otherwise?
“The normalization of the nipple is the incredible part of what Kim Kardashian is doing,” said Lina Esco, founder of Free the Nipple, when asked about Kardashian West’s effect on the movement.
Kim Kardashian West is, self-admittedly (if only by the title of her Rizzoli-published hardcover), selfish, her gaze falling back on herself with the aid of smart phone and mirror—and her peripheral view narrowed by this self-involvement, bodyguards, and fame. For these factors, she could be forgiven for claiming she’s not a feminist, as she did on her blog. But she’s wrong.
“She seems pretty adamant about how she wants to do her own thing and not put labels on herself. I never saw Free the Nipple as a label at all; it’s become a platform for people to take a stand on something called gender equality,” said Esco.
This wave of normalization, perhaps instigated by Kardashian West, was seen on the runways, too. This season, in New York, London, Milan and Paris, there have been plenty of liberated nipples, including at Anthony Vaccarello’s debut for Saint Laurent, which showed 16 out of 49 looks (including one men’s) with breasts exposed.
The nipple is experiencing a snowball effect-type perpetuation. In this case, first comes a movement, second comes Kim K., third comes fashion—next stop, maybe Instagram, and then the rest of society (as an example, Instagram eyebrows are no longer relegated specifically to the app, if you hadn’t noticed). One wonders if Kevin Systrom, its founder, will soon feel the pressure to allow nipples on his platform, much in the way Mark Zuckerberg now allows for photographs of breastfeeding women on Facebook. But why stop at breastfeeding? Men’s nipples don’t require black bars, and they certainly aren’t providing nourishment for infants.
Speaking of black bars, Kim said something interesting to Laura Brown about that nude selfie she posted on Instagram (with black bars to keep it appropriate for the platform) when in conversation for her cover of Harper’s Bazaar this fall:
“I don’t do things to be like, “This is powerful. I’m going to show you guys that this is my ‘message.’” I’m not that type of person. I’m empowered by it, but I’m not doing it specifically to show power.”
The real point we’re taking away is that she is empowered by it. And her empowerment is our empowerment. Her normalization of the nipple means normalization for everyone watching—and that’s a lot of eyes
Kim is really all of us. She’s a Woman—one doesn’t have to look past her body shape, amplified specifically in those archetypically female curves to know she represents us. Her visibility and the subsequent social progress of normalization is empowering to us all. Kim Kardashian is doing more for the Free the Nipple movement than any other one woman could do individually, even if she won’t say so. She deserves our respect and empathy—just think of what she’s done already for women’s equality.
prev link: https://crfashionbook.com/celebrity/a9539192/kim-kardashian-women/
createdAt:Fri, 21 Apr 2017 14:36:23 +0000