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Kim Kardashian Mural Graffiti Puts The Slut in Slut-Shaming

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Just a day after it appeared, a Kim Kardashian mural was defaced with the word "slut" right over her perfectly perky butt cheeks. So much for empowerment, right? The mural was done by Lush Sux in Melbourne, Australia after Kardashian posted a semi-censored nude of herself on Instagram. It was a 30 ft. recreation of the now famous selfie and totally in line with the artist's body of work. Recently, he's also done murals of presidential candidate Donald Trump and claimed that he is a "social media activist," although it’s not totally clear what causes he’s an activist for.

Kardashian got a lot of hate for posting her almost nude (she was nude, but she blocked out any bits Instagram might have deemed "pornographic). She explained her thinking around the photo in a post on her blog for International Women's day:

The fact that there are people out there ready to deface that image isn't surprising, but it’s a sad reminder of how Western culture continues to view women who refuse to be ashamed of their bodies. Let’s be clear: "slut" is a derogatory term used against a woman who just so happens to appreciate her body and maybe even like sex.

You would think that the mural artist would be upset, right? Not so much. "I’m bummed that people didn’t get more of a chance to interact with it and that someone felt the dire need to spray 'SLUT' across it," Lush Sux told Buzzfeed News. But he also said that "it was a given," in light of the original photo’s subject matter, according to Buzzfeed.

There are a lot of layers to unpack here. For one, the mural artist didn’t seem to care nearly as much about the impact of his mural as Kardashian did. He told Buzzfeed, "I’m not trying to stop global warming single handedly or fight our ‘evil corporate overlords’ or something, it’s just some fun." Furthermore, given his statements, it doesn't seem to offend him that someone wrote "slut" over her body.

It would be a lot cooler if Lush Sux had an opinion on the matter, specifically one that had anything to do with the statement that Kardashian’s photo made. Contemporary art is a lot about reproducing and transforming the culture we consume everyday, and Sux’ lack of message seems like a missed opportunity to engage with the intention behind Kardashian’s selfie to feel good about her body and talk about how hard our culture makes it for women to like and respect their own. In celebrating that image and plastering it on a wall, Lush Sux apparently paid no attention to her intent. Apparently, because she was Kim Kardashian and naked, that didn't matter.

But about the defacing. To be honest, I kind of like this version a little more. With the word crudely sprayed across Kardashian’s backend, there is no better (or more literal) symbol of slut-shaming than this mural somewhere in Melbourne. Kim Kardashian is so many things — to write her off as a "slut" because she happens to use social media to call out her haters, and call up her fans, is not just offensive. It's lazy.

Both street artists — the muralists and the graffiti artist who defaced his work — should take more of a stand, rather than no stand in the case of Sux and the most obvious possible slur in the case of the anonymous spray painter. Kim took her stand when she posted the original. It's a shame these two men couldn’t keep up with her.