An Analysis of Feminism: The Kim Kardashian Dispute

What is feminism and what does it mean to be a feminist? This is a question that causes a lot of controversy. The dictionary's definition of feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” If you were ask individual women, most would likely give a similar definition. However, it is when the idea of feminism is applied and when women define themselves as feminists that the issues arise.

When addressing the topic of feminism, it is important to take into account your identity. Therefore, before I begin this analysis I would like to identify myself as a cis gender white female. With this said, I do understand the privilege I have in such a position. Within the feminist movement there are many people with intersectional identities; therefore, there are special concerns expressed by groups depending on their identity (third world origin, transgender, women of color, etc.) So, although I may not ever know the unique experience of a feminist with a different identity, it is important that I acknowledge the existence and needs of people with such identities. With this disclosure, I begin my analysis of feminism.

The honest truth is that we live in a sexist society. America boasts that it is the land of the free, but women are not free from the patriarchy. The inequalities between men and women have just been shrunk down enough to the point that less people question the injustice. But the fact that the pay gap still exists and that there are double standards out of this world between men and women, proves that women are not equal to men.

However, with the growth of social media, a new trend of hashtagism has arisen. As the idea of feminism and being a feminist has gained popularity, women have begun rallying around ideas through platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. The Internet has become a space to discuss injustice and attempt to right wrongs. However, with such a diverse place like the Internet comes a horde of different opinions.

People have different morals and ideals that influence the way they see the world, and specific to this case, how they view acts of “feminism.” Recently, a topic that sparked controversy amongst feminists was Kim Kardashian’s decision to post a nude photo of herself on Instagram.

 

It is when things such as this occur that the question of who is a feminist and what feminism is exactly are called into play. In the context of the situation, I think part of the issue surrounding this controversy is that Kim Kardashian is not necessarily viewed in high standing in the whole of society. Many people, although they may wish to be her, to not respect her and her life decisions. In my opinion, this was an act of sexual autonomy. Women are constantly objectified for the pleasure of men, and if a women is sexual in any way it is assumed that she is not being sexy just for herself. However, this is a double standard and therefore an inequality.

Although I do not necessarily agree with the idolization of Kim Kardashian, I do think that she has the right to bare skin in such a way without being slut shamed for doing so. In terms of the world of feminists, many women weighed in the subject. Pink, Bette Midler, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ariel Winter, and Amber Rose are just to name a few of the women who spoke out.

Some did not show support for Kim:

 

And others stood up for Kim:

 

But what came out of this situation was people questioning what it means to be a feminist. And not just any feminist, but the “right kind of feminist.” This issue here is that you cannot necessarily tell someone that their morals are wrong. With this situation with Kim, it is not necessarily that some of the women are better feminists than the others, it is just that they have differing values and have different tactics for attacking equality.

This brings me back to my original topic, what is feminism and what does it mean to be a feminist? I think feminism is exactly how it is defined: “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” But the term “advocacy” is a broad one; it leaves room for interpretation. Therefore it is up to the feminists themselves to interpret the meaning, and act in a way they see fitting. As long as they are advocating for equality, it should be permissable. And in terms of the definition of a feminist, I think it is someone who actively seeks equality to men. However, a mistake all these women made in this debate is that in the process of defending their opinion, they tore down other women. This is the key to being a feminist: support other women. If men see women tearing each other down it perpetuates the inequality; what is stopping them from being just as hateful as we are toward each other.

So in order to be a feminist, one must be supportive and actively advocating for women’s rights, without hurting other women in the process. And with that, I leave you with a true feminist response to the Kim Kardashian picture.