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Why Do We Get Mad When Certain Women Get Naked?

November 13, 2014 in Blogs

By Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy, The Guardian

Why are we OK with topless Kiera Knightly but decry nude Kim Kardashian?

Despite its promises, Kim Kardashian’s naked rear end – and the subsequent reveal of her fully nude photos – in this month’s issue of Paper magazine did not #BreakTheInternet. (After all, you’re reading this, aren’t you?)

How could it? It’s not Kardashian’s first nude photo shoot – that was for Playboy, in 2007, and last year she appeared topless in a music video for her now-husband Kanye West … and of course there’s the sex tape. The willingness of wilfully famous people like Kim Kardashian to be naked is not new, and neither are the inevitable reactions – have you seen anything but reactions to this on your Facebook feed today? – that her willingness to be so publicly nude is somehow “tacky”.

But not every woman who bares it all is necessarily looked down upon. The women whose bodies are in the spotlight navigate a constant negotiation between their ability to act as a means of empowerment and degradation – and only certain women are deemed empowered.

When women reveal their naked bodies to the public, we celebrate … but only under the right circumstances. They have to do it for art or politics, but never be so crass as to do it for commerce. They are supposed to be “real”, but only when that “realness” falls within a certain spectrum of normative acceptableness, as we wouldn’t want to bear witness to body hair, flaky skin or cellulite. And if certain women’s bodies don’t meet our standards for acceptability, heaven forbid they modify their butts or their boobs in anyway or we will declare them “fake”, as though these women are but figments of our imagination deserving of …read more


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