Why, Kim Kardashian? On race, class and sex

Kim Kardashian is pretty. And thanks to that picture she posted the other day, we all know that she has her pre-baby body back.  I gave her a mental high five for her figure, but wished that she had, for once, not placed her body on display.

As a woman, I understand the deep desire to look and feel attractive, and to know that others, particularly men, find you sexy. So I understand Kim’s picture. I even understand the fact that she needs to post things like that to stay relevant.

What I’m worried about are the Kim K. wannabes–the women who have the body, the looks, but not the cultural capital to post a picture like that without a lot of criticism.  Kim Kardashian and her family have a great deal of class and racial privilege which allows her to release a sex tape, have a brief marriage, get pregnant by a paparazzi hating, self-proclaimed genius, and then post a picture best suited for the cover of Swimsuit Illustrated. Kim Kardashian can do all of that and still successfully run multiple businesses. She is after all, a shrewd businesswoman.

But regular women, and even some famous black women, can’t get away with that amount of public promiscuity. Women like Buffie the Body and Karinne Steffans (once known as Superhead) have book deals and may make money off of appearances, but they haven’t been given a perfume or clothing line (at least, not to my knowledge).

Karinne Steffans

Black, Latino and other women of color who have Kim Kardashian’s figure have to (once again) do so much more to be given the same amount of power, financial responsibility and opportunities.

Kim K. can post all the pictures she wants to, and her net worth will go up.  But for regular (and even famous) women of color, posting a near naked picture, and/or releasing a sex tape will not necessarily give us the same amount of financial power, and certainly not any respect. I worry for teenagers (and even grown women) who will pose with the same leg slightly up, hair down, pout, and send that picture to their latest crush, who certainly doesn’t deserve it.  I worry for girls who will think that they have to look that beautiful and be that naked in order to be loved or appreciated.  I worry about a culture that tells girls that they ought to send these pictures out into the world, and boys that they should expect to receive them.

What I want is for everybody to be thoughtful about the potential fall out of sending and receiving half naked photographs. On the surface, it looks like Kim Kardashian has taken a quick pic and sent it without a thought; I know, however, that she is really intelligent, and considers how she is perceived by others. She calculated the responses.  If a person sends a picture like that into the world, I want her to take the same amount of time thinking about the potential repercussions of it.

So before you release a sex tape or send a half naked picture to your boo or to the world, think about how it might benefit you in the long run.

And if you think sex tapes are a guaranteed ticket to fame, ask Montana Fishburne about whether or not she ever made it as the next Kim Kardashian.

RJD

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