I'm not the biggest Kim Kardashian fan. I can't say I like or dislike her, I can only say that I don't like to actively think about her. So I don't spend a worthwhile amount of energy bashing her for her choices, mostly because I don't spend a worthwhile amount of energy on her at all. I didn't gasp when she broke the Internet and I didn't shake my head when her second marriage lasted 72 days — that's her prerogative, and I don't particularly care about her life choices. But after reading what she said in response to the media attention her most recent naked selfie garnered, there's one reason why Kim Kardashian's open letter should matter to moms the world over. After seeing it (and the surrounding attention), I'm beginning to care about Kim and her decisions, one mother to another.
You are more pathetic than I originally thought, would you be alright with your daughter doing that posting nude selfies all the time?
Your mother obviously didn't show you what's right but now you have your own children you must be a role model to.
I cannot imagine how her children will feel when they get to school and people are making fun of their mother.
Those are just a few of the comments you can find on various social media platforms after Kim shared her latest nude selfie and wrote an open letter to defend it. Though it's no secret that plenty of people had problems with Kim before she became a mom, many felt the need to use that fact against her, as yet another means to shame her about not only her sexuality, but her choice to express it. Frankly, it's exactly the reason why every mom should read Kim Kardashian's open letter.
As soon as my son entered this world, I felt an instant, palpable expectation —perpetuated by our culture, and other mothers (unfortunately) — to "act like a mother."
Up until I had a son of my own, I didn't think twice about Kim Kardashian's selfies, naked or otherwise. She makes money off of her appearance, her body, and her sexuality. I respect that, and go about my business. In a culture that attempts to control women's appearances, bodies and sexualities — either with government legislation, which attempt to end reproductive rights or powerful advertising campaigns that profit off of women — I applaud a woman who can take back the reigns and make her own earnings off an image that, when controlled by men is sexy, but when controlled by a woman, is tasteless. It's her body, it's her choice, and honestly? It doesn't affect me in any way. But now that I'm a mother — a trait Kim and I both share — I very much care about Kim K.'s naked selfies, particularly the hateful responses she received because of them.
The moment I became a mom, and every milestone I've passed since, society has constantly attempted to strip me of my former identity, all in the name of parenthood. All in the name of control.
As soon as my son entered this world, I felt an instant, palpable expectation —perpetuated by our culture, and other mothers (unfortunately) — to "act like a mother." I had no idea what that meant, and still don't, but I do know that one of the characteristics that embody "acting like a mom" is the willingness to hide my sexuality, if not do away with it entirely. In fact, I'm not allowed to be sexual at all. I have a son now. What would he think? I'm someone's mother, so I should be nothing short of sexless, unless my partner and I plan on having another child. I need to dress conservatively, refrain from using sexual language, and most certainly never, under any circumstances, appear sexy to members of the opposite (or even same) sex. The moment I became a mom, and every milestone I've passed since, society has constantly attempted to strip me of my former identity, all in the name of parenthood. All in the name of control.
Kim posing for a naked selfie in no way affects her ability to parent, and a mother wearing a "provocative" outfit, choosing to be open about her sexual preferences, or taking a naked selfie of her own isn't a "bad mother" or incapable of providing, loving, and nurturing her kid.
Which is why I've grown painfully tried of the motherhood equals martyrdom conversation that our culture feels shamelessly comfortable promoting. You need to sacrifice everything for your children. Your needs no longer matter. As soon as you're pregnant, you drop to the bottom of the social totem pole, all for the sake of your kid. That's not only wrong, that's absolutely unhealthy.
There's power in loving, owning, and expressing your sexuality: a power that every mother deserves to harness and tap into. A power that, I would argue, every mother desperately needs, especially when she's not feeling attractive, covered in baby throw up, changing diapers, and feeling the very real, very confusing, sometimes depressing postpartum emotions that leave you feeling lost and unsure. Which is why every mom needs to hear what Kim K. wrote:
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.
Just because you've procreated doesn't mean that you've lost an essential part of your humanity. Just because you're someone's mother doesn't mean that you can't love and enjoy and (gasp!) even flaunt your body, proudly, publicly, and without hesitation or shame. Kim posing for a naked selfie in no way affects her ability to parent, and a mother wearing a "provocative" outfit, choosing to be open about her sexual preferences or taking a naked selfie of her own isn't a "bad mother" or incapable of providing, loving, and nurturing her kid.
She's reminded all mothers that our bodies can do incredible things, that we're worthy of praise and self-adoration, and most certainly, that we shouldn't be controlled by government legislation, a powerful advertisement company, or even public opinion.
Even though I can't say I've learned very much from Kim Kardashian, I can say that she has reminded me that just because I'm a mother doesn't mean I can't be a sexual woman as well. She's reminded all mothers that our bodies can do incredible things, that we're worthy of praise and self-adoration, and most certainly, that we shouldn't be controlled by government legislation, a powerful advertisement company, or even public opinion. Just because our culture thinks that a mother shouldn't be sexy, doesn't mean mothers can't (or shouldn't) be sexy anyway. Just because a powerful patriarchy has somehow convinced a vast majority that motherhood is an acceptable reason to shame a woman who owns and expresses her sexuality doesn't mean that mothers everywhere should deny themselves the pleasure of continuously exploring and celebrating a vital part of their existence.
Every mother deserves to look in the mirror, sans clothes, and say, "Damn, I look amazing." And if that mother wants to post a picture of that moment — while it may not affect me in any way — I'm going to take a minute to stop and applaud her, whether she's Kim Kardashian or anyone else.