While most of us would like to live in a world where sexism is a thing of the past, we have unfortunately still got a long way to go when it comes to achieving equality between the sexes – even in the Western world. Writing as a woman in my mid-twenties, I can tell you from personal experience that female promiscuity is condemned in a way that male promiscuity is not. In fact, even in 2018, it’s still rumored to lead to infertility.
Women are also subject to unrealistic societal expectations when it comes to their appearances, and in one of my first jobs, I was told off for turning up bleary-eyed and makeup-free because, in my boss’ eyes, I would be less endearing to look at. It’s also no secret that women are still restrained by their gender when it comes to pay and this caused them, on average, to earn 79.6 cents for every dollar men made in the US in 2015.
Society’s shocking attitude towards women has also been reflected in the barrage of abuse which Kim Kardashian has received over her latest selfie. While the reality TV queen is no stranger to controversy, and a lot of it is justified (take, for example, her frequent and shameless cultural appropriation), the most recent trolling the 37-year-old has been subject to is sexism, plain and simple.
To understand why Kim’s hairstyle in the picture above caused so much controversy, check out the video below:
So what exactly did Kim do to merit this abuse? Well, she did what she always does – she used her body to make money. Now, before you start thinking to yourself that this shouldn’t even be news, this particular social media post did not center on the businesswoman’s sizable bust or derriere, oh no, it involved her doing something which all of us are capable of: opening our legs.
While this sort of pose would be deemed unladylike from a female member of the Royal Family like the newlywed Meghan Markle, Kim’s business is centered around her ability to model and use her body to sell various products. She’s clearly proud of and in touch with her sexuality as every woman – no, every human – has the right to be. But that didn’t stop people on Instagram from going to town on the mom-of-three.
Despite being worth around $175 million, Kim is often branded as being famous for nothing – or, as would is more accurately the case, famous for exploiting her image and brand for her own benefit instead of allowing male-dominated brands and companies to do it on her behalf. Admittedly, although such dizzying levels of fame are out of the reach for most of us, you have to have more than a few brain cells to each them.
For Kim’s latest controversial snap, it appears that the 37-year-old has teamed up with a pineapple juice retailer of some sort, although it is not specifically branded as an ad on her Instagram. In it, the mom-of-three can be seen sitting on top of a stone ledge and opening a can of pineapple juice. The 37-year-old then suggestively captioned the picture: “Google the benefits of pineapple juice.”
This sparked a comment war among her 114 million-plus followers. While many of them discussed how pineapple juice can benefit a person (namely, their sex life), it appeared that around half of the 24,000 commenters had taken umbrage with Kim having her legs open.
On the off chance that you’re not familiar with Kim’s Instagram, let me make one thing very clear: she loves to show off her body because it’s her biggest asset and how she sells herself to brands. And let’s face it, if you could rack in millions from a selfie, you’d probably be doing it too, especially if you could use that money to benefit your family. But despite this, Kim was branded as being not “lady-like.”
What made this particularly ridiculous is the fact that in comparison to many of Kim’s other pictures, this one is relatively conservative.
A particularly cruel commentator implied that moms shouldn’t be allowed to use their bodies to make money, writing, “Damn you have two daughters. Smfh close your legs. You are beautiful. Don’t know why you would rage [sic] a picture w [sic] your legs cocked opened.”
Another implied that if a woman couldn’t abide by the outdated patriarchial standards which now govern Meghan Markle (who, prior to marrying Harry was no stranger to risqué snaps herself), she would be less than human, and described Kim as a “dog”.
It was then said that the 37-year-old was inspiring young children to improve their flexibility so that they too could open their legs. You have to laugh at this one – even people who are monstrously overweight wouldn’t need to exercise to recreate this snap of Kim.
“I am upset because my daughter is doing stretching so that she can sit with her legs gapped open like Kim to show the boys,” wrote gail4128.
Women have been using their bodies to make money since the dawn of time and putting prostitution to the side for a moment (but bearing in mind that sex work is still work), as long as the fashion and makeup industries exist, there will always be a demand for women like Kim.
However, despite her extreme popularity and status as an international sex symbol, people just couldn’t over the fact that she’d opened her legs.
“Life is funny… my [mom] always told me to close my legs as a girl,” wrote wifeofphilip. “These days opening ones Legs [sic] brings money. So sad.”
But arguably the most problematic of all the comments were those which implied that Kanye was at fault for allowing Kim to pose with her legs open, promoting the patriarchal belief that women in some way are the property of their husbands.
“I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t let my wife show herself like that. End of story. Can see you aren’t raised properly, no morals whatsoever,” wrote another social media user.
“Kanye how could you support your wife showing off your pineapple vault?” added gail4128. “What kind of image is this sending her young followers? A loving man wouldn’t allow his wife/baby mama to show off his vault to the world. At the White House doing a good thing one day and sliding back under the gutter with you the next day!!”
I’m pretty sure Kanye would wince if he read this. Unless you’re going to go Hannibal Lecter on your wife, you will never own her vagina.
Regardless of whether you love or loathe Kim, if you’ve got an ounce of decency in your body, then you’ll agree that these comments are extremely problematic. We might live in a world that’s advanced in a lot of ways, where women are encouraged to take ownership bodies just as much as men are, but that clearly hasn’t stopped small-minded people from promoting standards that should be as dead as the dinosaurs.