Naked Selfie (Dis)Empowerment?

Since some of our recent class presentations, I had been thinking about the line between women feeling confident and unrestricted about their bodies, but also only having a small range of body types that we typically see on social media with this type of #empowerment.  Is it really empowered if only young women with small waists and large breasts/butts get to flaunt it?  And, does being celebrated for their bodies yet again direct attention to “appearance matters” as a more important sign of value than their actual capabilities and character?

The New York Post recently ran an editorial on the Kim Kardashian naked selfies that stated, “Whenever a woman suggests, explicitly or implicitly, that her worth or value or power comes from her appearance, she loses. Women everywhere lose. And feminism, the kind that taught that a woman’s life is not about her body, loses, too.”

On the other hand, if we had more men, women, and people who are intersexed of all ages, shapes, sizes, and gender identities posting, and those people were celebrated instead of shamed, then perhaps the whole idea of “appearance matters” would lose it power for women.  Because if everyone’s appearance was considered one of many interesting and unique parts of who they are, then we could celebrate the whole person.  

Check out this Tumblr #redefiningrealness that is trying to do exactly this!  I’d love to see that get as much attention as Kim Kardashian.  Related image

What do you think?

12 thoughts on “Naked Selfie (Dis)Empowerment?

  1. This is a hot topic and it definitely does pertain to what we have been learning. I am honestly conflicted when I think about nudity such as this part of me wants to be like “you go girl”. I’m happy that she feels empowered by her body. I don’t really blame her for enjoying nakedness clothes can be so constraining. The other part of me is really concerned for younger girls that are still learning and constructing their idea of femininity. The social learning theory tells us that we learn and grasp the concept by imitating others and then seeing what kind of feedback comes from that.If a young girl receives the message to embrace and do not be ashamed of your body then that is wonderful. However, we cannot be sure that is how she will take it. She could think that in order to be beautiful you have to be revealing.

    The tumblr account sends a great message. It has all sorts of people and most of them are just smiling. I do believe this promotes acceptance and does’t define it as being masculine or feminine. I feel like this is a great attitude to have towards the world. I would love to see the tumblr page get a lot of support as well so that the “embrace who you are” belief is encouraged and rewarded.

  2. This post was super inspiring and so relevant to all the topics we have been discussing in class. I follow Kim Kardashian on Instagram and the amount of nudity on her account does trump all other pictures. It is interesting to read over the comments to look at how many people are praising her for her “gorgeous” body, while others are shaming. It’s funny because some people feel the need to shame to make themselves feel bigger, when in reality, they are just coming off as if they are looking for attention. These celebrities aren’t showing what true beauty is, especially since most of their beauty is surgically created. I see and hear girls body shaming one another all the time over the smallest things. “Look at her butt, she should not be wearing those leggings” or “her chest looks so small, she needs a push up bra.” It is sad to watch our society shame one another just because we were all created in our own unique way.

    Short story, my childhood best friend got shamed all the time for having the smallest breast. People would make jokes about how she was tiny, and would use the excuse that it is a joke and to not take it seriously. It was hard for her not too. So, a year or so ago, she decided to get implants put it. She is 21 years old… and felt the need to alter her body for society’s acceptance. I think what Tumblr is doing with #redefiningrealness is amazing and everyone should be able to express the beauty that they have naturally. I think this was a great post, thanks for sharing!

  3. This post is so relevant during this point in time! I do not understand why showing off our naked bodies is even a thing in the first place. I believe women, men, and intersexed people can show empowerment, confidence, and self-love through so many other ways. You are correct though. It shouldn’t matter your body type at all. That should not determine someone’s worth or beauty. It is funny that Kim K is becoming an advocate of loving yourself and your body considering she has had HOW MANY plastic surgeries, and body modifications since becoming famous? If you truly loved your body, you would not pay millions to have work done on it. I would be confident in my own skin too if I changed a few things about myself with the help of a professional.

    There is so much more to show and bestow in order to get the message across that one is powerful and beautiful. That comes with actions, words, and what is inside a person. Not their naked selfies, even if it is to “prove a point”. I also agree with you when you stated that celebrities pay more attention to their looks rather than their character. Yet, somehow, this is seen more throughout the women of Hollywood. Why? Everyone already knows they are beautiful. Why can’t they prove that they are more beautiful by exemplifying characteristics that are really worth praising and looking up to? I do not think I will ever understand. These naked photos/selfies are just a way for these men and women to gain attention, stir up publicity (for all the wrong reasons) and receive compliments. Our society should accept all men and women no matter what they look like. I just wish it could be that simple, yet our society makes it extremely hard.

  4. You know whats the worst is how confusing it is for men and women to think it’s either empowering to post naked pictures of yourself on social media or it dis-empowering. You take Kim Kardashian’s naked selfie and people assume she’s conceited, self-interest, and body shaming other women. But then you look at Amy Schumer who posed naked for a calendar shoot and we praise her for embracing her body. I have seen so many different celebrities post naked pictures or half naked at least throughout their social media accounts. But the question becomes so what now, can we embrace our bodies and post them on social media, or are we going to be body shammed on our social media? I think the bottom line is consistency as whole, either we embrace everyone and accept that this is who they are, or we reject everyone and continue to put social expectations and norms on them to be perfect. Dr. Naomi, I think you brought up a topic that has sparked a lot of great discussion because this affects not only women but men as well and the future generations. I think it’s time people have more discussions about this and how we can create a more open minded mindset on body image and body image postings on social media.

  5. Love the thought this brings about. Thanks for the post. I have also been thinking about this a lot, too. Something that has always been impressed on me is that I will never be a “real woman” as long as I have small breasts. I cannot tell you how many times i’ve been upset over how skinny or how little, in any aspect, I am. Whenever I get body shamed, it is real… And people will say “you’re skinny, don’t worry about what people say,” to even downplay how I feel. Turn on TV or a movie and many women of all sorts of desire and importance have large chests! It’s amazing the subliminal messages in every ad, movie, everything! There’s a point when we need to understand that the larger issue is what we convey as important to society. Like you quoted, ““Whenever a woman suggests, explicitly or implicitly, that her worth or value or power comes from her appearance, she loses,” and I couldn’t agree more. Our society holds young women down by requiring them to measure up based on their appearance!

  6. I think that you bring up very good points here. I’ve never thought that it was okay to shame people if they don’t have the body type and shape that is “acceptable” by society. However, I don’t necessarily think that someone loses for showing off their body and appearance. It is important to love yourself and the way you look. If you are proud of how you look and love it, then you have every right to show it off no matter what shape and type you are. With that being said, I think that it is an accomplishment for those who show off their body for how healthy they are. People should be praised for being healthy and taking care of themselves. One thing I don’t like is when I see people trying to prove that skinny isn’t the only acceptable by showing off obese and unhealthy lifestyles only to try to prove a point when it is clearly not healthy. No one should be praised (not saying they should be shamed) for being unhealthy and not taking care of themselves. They should be encouraged to better themselves.

  7. This post was really interesting for me to read! It is most definitely relevant and something that is being talked about a lot recently. I think this battle with feminism, body image, and self-empowerment is extremely frustrating and never ending. I did actually like Kim post and her stance on showing her body and not caring who is trying to tear her down. I think that sends a great message for other girls and women. However, I do agree with Katie and think that if Kim also included other women of all different backgrounds and shapes it would be a good idea.

    I hate the fact that all the media does it talk about women, their bodies, and what they look like, but that will never change. I think we all just need to embrace the fact that we all need to lift up and empower women to be and do anything they want to do.

  8. I think you bring up a very relevant topic that touched on societies current values of the perception of woman and/or man. When I first caught a glimpse of Kim’s naked photo I thought it was a bit inappropriate. For someone who is such an influence on young girls/women’s lives, I think she is showing it is okay to be naked on social media. She is a married women with two kids. As a mother, why would you present yourself in a that does not reflect your character but your body image as a whole. I would not want my children to grow up and see that there mother naked for everyone to so. That is something only meant for you private life.

    Secondly, society has made it clear that you have to be a certain shape and size to be considered beautiful. I think that it is very unfortunate that people look to social media as a way to build themselves and there own personal image. You do not have to get surgery or breast implants or a lip job to be beautiful. Beauty is from within but the media does not teach you that.

  9. I find this post to be very relevant because it touches on an issue that has been at the fore front of western culture for centuries. Women were only typically perceived as being attractive in their birthday suits if they conformed to the ideal conventions set by men. Unfortunately this stigma exists today where men and women are programmed to perceive feminine beauty as solely depending on how sexual stimulating her naked body is.
    This, I believe is largely derived from the media culture that we have spent a great deal of time discussing. Many of the messages that are consistently being relayed to both men and women, are ones that portray men as being dominant, power hungry, entities who rely on women for the sole purpose of sexual pleasure. However, I am pleased to see that this dynamic is evolving into a more egalitarian perspective, with specific emphasis on the free the nipple campaign that can be found here This movement is a step in the right direction because it pushes for equality in its purest form; then end of sexualizing a body part that is biologically designed to feed infants. This sends a message to men that women do not just exist to cater to their sexual desires, rather they serve a pivotal role in our society as being bearers and sustainers of human life, and the treatment of them in any other way will no longer be tolerated.

  10. The quote from CNN does an excellent job pinpointing the issue. If a woman believes she is only as valuable as her appearance, then she loses. Yet, feminism that attempts to teach women that they are worth more than their body also loses. It’s this never-ending cycle of body empowerment versus assigning too much importance on one’s appearance. Both have solid arguments and there is no right answer. Whenever Kim Kardashian posts an image half-naked, she claims that she is proud of her body and feels confident and comfortable in her own skin. Of course if someone were to come up to you and tell you they feel comfortable in their own skin, then you are going to applause them on their confidence. On the other hand, you have to ask why they receive their confidence from their appearance alone. Believing that we can only feel empowered from our appearance frustrates me. What about mind empowerment? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Kim post a blog about her outlook on life or on a particular issue or concept? I honestly would be more curious so read her thoughts then to see another picture of her practically naked.

    I am exhausted of conversations of women in the media, celebrities showing their bodies, images women make for themselves, body empowerment, etc. because it is talked about way too frequently. If we stop obsessing over people’s bodies and the message they send for what they post, what they wear, their weight, etc. then it will eventually become insignificant. I truly think that if Kim did not receive the attention and controversy from her naked posts, then she would eventually stop. People who give her backlash are still giving her attention and that’s why she posts what she posts. I wish as a culture we would celebrate and discuss things that actually mattered because I am so tired of people caring about what Kim Kardashian posts on social media, what Taylor Swift wears to the red carpet, how much weight Christina Aguilera has gained, and so on. It truly reflects how shallow and low culture we are as a nation.

  11. While I agree with Kim that we should not be telling women not to love their bodies, I wholeheartedly believe that she could and should use her platform to express that every body is beautiful and not just bodies that look like hers. The tumblr you linked is a great way to make people of all sizes, genders, and ages feel good in their skin. I hope that this is the beginning of this kind of body positivity in the media, but I think we have a long way to go.

    I can’t help but think about Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and the criticism she received when the new Star Wars movie came out. She was publicly shamed for aging, because people apparently expected her to look as she did when she appeared in the original movie at age 19, over 40 years ago. Not only is it expected for people to be skinny with certain assets, they are expected to also be young. She reiterated your point that there are many interesting parts of a person saying, “My body is a brain bag, it hauls me around to those places & in front of faces where theres something to say or see.”

    Kim is on the right track in that body shaming a woman for expressing herself is wrong, but I think she is not including all kinds of people in her beliefs. In a way that can be just as damaging to body positivity as shaming Kim’s selfies.

  12. When I first saw the Kim Kardashian picture, I honestly wasn’t shocked. I follower her on Instagram and the majority of her pictures are similar to this one. This post was a little more scandalous than others, but it didn’t catch my attention from the get-go. After thinking about it more, it does rub me the wrong way because she has two children and is married. Personally, I wouldn’t want my children growing up one day to see that photo of me, but then again, the Kardashians and other celebrities live in a different culture where they grow up thinking that they should be sexual in order to move up in the spotlight.

    Let’s think about how society teaches girls to look and act. This is where I am torn on the subject. We create these ideal figures that girls and men should have, yet when people want to post their achievements, they get hate for it. You never know someones story. Kim Kardashian could have struggled with her weight and now she might be at that ideal goal she set for her body. Why shouldn’t she be able to celebrate that? We need to stop shaming people for loving their bodies or even wanting to look a different way. What we need to focus on is uplifting others for their confidence and not tearing them down. This sort of behavior will only lead people into depression or something more extreme. Tumblr is doing a great thing by starting this new hashtag. It’s time to stop judging others by their looks and start viewing their looks as another special part about them!

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