Stop showing your titties and calling it “empowering.”

downloadThank you, Glenda, for this essay from Jacqueline Lunn, which asks the age-old question: If you’re Kim Kardashian and prone to posting naked or near-naked photos of yourself, are you moving the feminist ball down the court at all? Lunn thinks not. She writes:

Have a think for a second. Please. Kim K in another nude selfie is not empowering for women. Stop using the word empowering when you really mean marketing. They are not interchangeable words just as burgundy does not mean the same thing as table.

I’m on board with Lunn. Dress for what you’re most proud of, and if you’re showing skin, don’t call it “empowering.” I know I part paths with some feminists on this, but oh well.

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9 responses to “Stop showing your titties and calling it “empowering.”

  1. Empowerment?

    I’m all for letting women express their sexuality and share their bodies.
    I just don’t like getting slapped upside the head for staring and smiling.

    • It’s a thin line, isn’t it? Be proud of your body. Absolutely. But don’t feel you can disrobe and then expect our sexualized culture to not act, well, sexualized.

      • Sex sells. It’s a commodity that’s readily available at low cost that has potential to yield very high returns.

        • True, true, true. But damn.

          • The commodification of sexuality, especially female sexuality, has become so ingrained in our culture that even those decrying that feel compelled to exploit it for effect. Lunn’s piece is a perfect example. (Couldn’t just write the article? Had to reproduce the offensive material?) It is, indeed, all about marketing.

            The same could be said for the…well let’s be honest…self-absorbed high schoolers where I live. (They could have made, actually, a stronger argument without the nudity, but then the piece would have lacked the sensationalism (exploitation) they felt was required to boost circulation. Want some attention? Create a controversy. Get pictures. Put them on the front page. American journalism 101.

  2. I do agree with you.
    Kim K , I think, just wants to show off.
    She needs to take care of her family and STOP showing so much skin.
    It is degrading to women of all sizes. Just my opinion.

  3. It is true that a person should be able to present themselves any way they want. If a woman wants to wear a burka or go naked or anything in between, that is her choice and nobody should be able to dictate that to her.

    However, and I think this is very important, to a significant degree how a person presents themselves sends a message to others and that message matters. On the one hand consider Kim K naked. On the other hand consider two other women who I believe are rather attractive but who dress conservatively without hiding their femininity – Savannah Guthrie and Natalie Morales. All three are public figures.

    The message I gleen from Kim is that she is intentionally flaunting her sex, as if that is all that matters, as if she is saying something like “hey, you want some this?;” as if she has a clear-cut single-purpose agenda. I don’t get the “empowerment” thing at all. Self-promotion is about the only message I can get from her, the “being famous for being famous” thing. Kim’s message, such as it is, appears to me to be very narrow and limiting; for example, I would not expect her to be all that interesting to talk with. And, yeah, as has been mentioned, sex sells – aways has, always will.

    The other two don’t seem to be sending messages other than that they are attractive people who might be interesting to talk with on a lot of levels about a a lot of topics. Personally, I think that is a lot more powerful than simply going naked. Maybe that is just me……

    • …and me. I always come off as Church Lady in these discussions. I’m all for freedom of expression, but one realistically has to factor in the reaction of one’s free expression.

      • Yes, one really should factor in others’ reactions to that free expression. That is why I think that school and work dress codes can have some real validity. I’m sick of older girls and young women trumpeting the “I should be able to wear what I want and boys and men simply have to control themselves” line. I certainly agree with the “control themselves” part, but that whole response completely ignores the effects that dress (or lack of it) can (and does) have on others based on the message being sent.

        Looks are largely an accident of genetics, so a very pretty woman can’t help looking pretty even if conservatively dressed; that can be distracting to males nearby, but such distraction fades even if it doesn’t disappear entirely, because the message is neutral. The message being sent is not sexual. But if the message being sent is blatantly sexual it is much more difficult to ignore.

        Imagine two co-ed environments (e.g., offices or classrooms) where in one the women were attractively dressed like Guthrie or Morales and in the other the women were naked like Kim K. From a male point of view I dare say that one would be much more productive than the other based on the messages being sent by the women.

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