Over the years, Kim Kardashian's outfits have been the subject of much debate, and the reality TV star has probably drawn just as much criticism as she has praise for her fashion choices. However, ever since Kardashian gave birth to North West in 2013, the public backlash against Kardashian's outfits have taken on a harsher tone, and Wednesday was no different: her critics came out in full mom-shaming force when pictures emerged of Kardashian shopping in a sheer top. But here's the thing: Kardashian's sheer top doesn't make her a bad mom. In fact, it has absolutely nothing to do with her parenting — and we harm all women when we shame moms for their sexuality.
The thing is, when people shame mothers for expressing their sexuality (or, you know, simply wearing a sheer top), they reduce them to a single role in life: being a mom. A woman can't be a mother who is also proud of her body. She cannot be sexual and a responsible mom. Once women become mothers, in many people's view, they're supposed to transform their entire lives in order to meet this pre-conceived, stereotypical view that society has of moms. They're supposed to be child-centric, responsible, and concerned with everyone but themselves.
But this harms moms in the exact same way that guilting working mothers does. Implying that moms are somehow failing their children by continuing to live lives outside of their parenting roles robs women of full, multi-faceted lives. And that's something men simply aren't subjected to.
Think of it this way: when David Beckham starred in H&M's underwear ads, nobody told him to put some pants on, for goodness' sake, because he's a father and what will people think? No, instead they praised his fathering skills and enjoyed his fantastic underwear ads. He was allowed to exist as both an attractive man in little clothing and a great dad. People didn't question his ability to be a good parent because he posed nearly nude. And it's the same story for dads who work — they don't get shamed for spending time at the office and away from their kids.
Make no mistake, however: Kardashian is very aware of the double standard she faces, and she's spoken out against slut-shaming in the past. "I never understand why people get so bothered by what other people choose to do with their lives," she wrote on her website last year, according to HuffPost. "I don't do drugs, I hardly drink, I've never committed a crime — and yet I'm a bad role model for being proud of my body?"
I am empowered by my body. I am empowered by my sexuality. I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my skin. I am empowered by showing the world my flaws and not being afraid of what anyone is going to say about me. And I hope that through this platform I have been given, I can encourage the same empowerment for girls and women all over the world.
The fact that Kardashian wore a sheer top doesn't make her a bad mom. It makes her someone who likes to wear sheer tops. She's also a mother who clearly loves her children. Both of those traits can co-exist just fine in the same person. And with any luck, her children will grow up to be just as confident in who they are as their mom is, no matter what society tells them.