Kim Kardashian West's feminist makeover is reason to cheer
All right, all right. Imma let you finish. But hear me out first.
I get it. Most feminists might not get super excited about unpacking Kim Kardashian West's girl power street cred. But I think she's starting to come over to the cause. And that's a huge win for feminists everywhere. Bringing a sex goddess over to the "feminist" column, who just happens to wield enormous influence over millions of little girls, is exactly what we should be encouraging.
Kim K's got a profile coming out in Rolling Stone this month, which includes this choice quote that’s sure to have plenty of serious-minded feminists snorting.
"I've never really been one on labels, and I don’t like to push my view," she says. "If I feel something, it's how I feel. I never say, 'I feel this way, so you should feel that way.' Not that there's anything wrong with it, but I just am who I am. But, yeah." She smiles. "I think you would call me a feminist."
OK, now get all of the eye rolls out of the way.
But wouldn't it be nice to see our girls getting messages beyond tips to be the best darn geisha for the patriarch they can be? Lately we've seen Kim Kardashian West changing a whole lot more than her clothes, and comments like this might just be the tip of the feminist stiletto nail. I sure hope so.
My working theory is that Kim is experiencing something mothers of daughters across the world know — that they want better for their baby girl. I think maybe bringing her own precious girl into the world has made her think twice about the example she wants to set. And from the cheap seats, Kim Kardashian West looks like a hot, well-heeled woman in charge.
"I believe that I am so much smarter than I’m portrayed," she says in the upcoming Rolling Stone interview. And you know, I’m starting to think she might be right.
Take her bajillion-dollar-generating video game, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, which, regardless of how you feel about the game’s content, is proving to both big-name brands as well as the notoriously sexist video game industry that girls can earn in the space too. And that's a big deal.
Image: Kim Kardashian Hollywood
"It helps with great opportunities for brands, hair care lines or makeup lines that want some involvement, because that's something the player really enjoys learning about," she said at a recent speaking engagement at Cannes Lions about her business strategy.
Her "Break the Internet" cover also had more to it than its obvious sex appeal. In those powerful images, she's celebrating her womanhood. This isn't a subject participating in something beyond her control or against her will. She's got her oiled-up assets on a pedestal. She looks happy and celebratory in that image showing off that beautiful booty.
Her image is her art. And in working with famous artists like photographer Jean-Paul Goude, who shot the iconic Paper Magazine photos, and even her very famous, very talented husband, Kanye West, her image is evolving far beyond the spoiled mall rat we all sniffed at just a few years ago and into something far more original and empowered.
Image: Paper Magazine
We also have to stop slut shaming Kim. Feminism and sexuality aren't mutually exclusive.
Sure, her career was launched like so many Ray J bodily fluids, with the help of her hugely profitable sex tape. But the fact that Kim's been able to grab our attention and hold it rapt for more than a decade now has to be a sign that there’s more to this woman than an ass that won't quit. And let's not forget, women get to have shame-free sex for fun and enjoy it, so there should be no shade coming from feminists when Kim embraces her sexuality. It's 2015. Chicks are allowed to do that now, so drop the pearls, ladies.
A feminist can also be famous for bikini selfies. Feminists are able to celebrate their beauty while being empowered too. That’s the deal. Anyone who tries to argue otherwise is missing the point. And her selfies are big-ass business, if you’ll forgive the pun. Kim admits that maybe her Instagram photo stream has too many bikini selfies, but she’s unapologetic.
"But it's what I want and what I put out," Kim K said during her talk last week at the Cannes.
Most important, Kim and the gaggle of women around her that she has made famous millionaires, including Kris, Khloé, Kourtney, Kylie and Kendall, make no apologies about being feminine. They put on tons of makeup and tight clothes and high heels, and then they go to work. They have their babies, love their imperfect men and earn millions. They have messy love lives that play out like tabloids, and manage to muddle through. Kim and her sisters represent a new generation of feminists out there, who want to perfect their contouring and run an empire — all with a man at home and a baby on each hip.
If that’s not a feminist, then I just don’t know what is.
Girl power, Kim K. Girl power.