I’m going to kick this off completely honest here. I’ve seen some of Kim Kardashian‘s infamous sex tape, was never too fond of her rise to fame and admittedly, turned up my nose at her “reputation in Hollywood” as a woman who couldn’t keep her ass still and always needed a significant other on her arm. I am far from a fan. I also don’t think there should be thousands of think-pieces dedicated to her if people are as annoyed as they proclaim to be, but here I am, a woman who always feels the need to change the channel when I spot her face on my television, sort of… defending her.
Do you know what was more surprising than seeing Kim Kardashian’s bare ass on the front of Paper’s magazine? Naya Rivera’s response to it all. I didn’t let out the biggest gasp when I saw Kim’s cover, nor her full frontal shot, but I did do a double take when Rivera felt the need to slut-shame Kim simply because she’s a mother.
A mother myself, I sympathized with Kim on several occasions during her pregnancy with North as she was on the front page of my morning’s paper being slammed for her style and “not dressing appropriately for her weight.” While many of us take that, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” mentality in stride, the emotional and psychological effects of words scars many, especially during pregnancy. Just four years ago, I delivered another child into the world, and immediately fell into a depression when I realized my body didn’t just “snap back” the second time around. I couldn’t just throw my size 7/8 jeans back on. I was now a curvy, size 12 woman who like Kim, had to change her wardrobe and maybe even hold on to the dresses of yesteryear, in hopes that my body would go back to what it once was – a hope that I’m still holding on to four years later.
It’s not easy for some of us to just up and lose the weight. While I’m highly active in my life, participating in roles outside of that of a mother, I still cannot seem to find time to head to a gym and work out. I tried to workout from home but sometimes, after an eight-hour shift at work and then mother/wife duties afterwards, I prefer a glass of wine over crunches. When Kim Kardashian uploaded a photo of herself in a simple white one piece swimsuit back in October of 2013, I couldn’t even be mad – she looked great. While I was downing Chinese food for lunch at work, Kim was afforded the opportunity to hire a personal trainer who would oversee her strict carb-free diet. I commended her for letting her body do the talking to hush the people who degraded and dehumanized her during her pregnancy, and showed us mothers can be sexy too. And that’s how I took her Paper Magazine spread.
Although I personally couldn’t follow suit if I went back down to or exceeded my ideal weight, Kim’s liberation in showing off her body to naysayers post-Nori deserves at least, a slow clap. Kanye’s “HEADING HOME NOW” tweet after the swimsuit selfie and his constant admiration (and affirmation) towards his wife’s beauty works for Kim’s ego. When my partner takes it upon himself to massage my lady lumps and muffin top, I won’t lie and say it doesn’t make me feel good. While I’m confident with my image, his approval through touch is the icing on the cake. I celebrate my body for the sole fact that I can bare children, and regardless of what I do wear or don’t, I should be able to do whatever I want with my body that I feel comfortable doing.
Mothers are sexy for that very reason – we give life. We bounce back or we hold on to the weight of the beings that lived and grew within us for forty weeks. If Kim tweets her disapproval in how she looks and how her perception of her body makes her feel, she has that right. Kim Kardashian was called every animal and overweight person in the book during her pregnancy. She tweeted her woes on body image after pregnancy. She lost weight and is celebrating her body how she (always) sees fit and we still find something wrong. When are we going to stop policing women’s bodies? When are we going to stop holding celebrities up to these standards of perfection as if they’re some mystical creatures instead of human beings? Beyoncé, the queen of the bounce-back-after-baby brigade, photoshops her own Tumblr photos. She is just another woman, another mother, who gives us sex in her work but clearly, also goes through those moments of uncertainty with her body. It isn’t easy.
We have to be everything to everyone. We have to be this and that and we have to bring it down several notches when we have children since we’re their first role models. We need to keep our legs closed and we should dress appropriately, whatever that means. Only single women can “bust it open” and be sexy, apparently, women are revoked of that right when they get married (sorry, Bey). Only those without children can bare their asses on covers because there isn’t someone who came from their womb looking up to them to monitor their every move. This is how y’all feeling?
Look, I shouldn’t have to pack away my see-through boy shorts, Chantilly lace corsets and garter belts because there are two toddlers calling me mommy, outside of my bedroom. Being super wo-Mom and super sexual can coexist, and in the wise words of Sophia Loren, “nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.” So as I said once, I’ll say again, mothers can be sexy too. Kim Kardashian being a mother should have nothing to do with why you disliked the photo. Dislike it because her waist-to-hip ratio was altered (thanks to photoshop or a surgeon). Dislike it because she looked like she was stepping out of a sequined garbage bag. You finding the cover distasteful simply because “she’s a mom who should know better” is antiquated belief towards women. North West is taken care of; isn’t that all that matters?