Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sexy Time: Why PAPER and Kim Should Reconsider Their Collaboration

I cannot believe there is a need to comment on this, but there appears to be debate over whether backlash against Kim Kardashian is because she is now a mom and moms are not supposed to pose nude or be sexy. Honestly, this is one of those things where internet media runs with something out of context or fails to request clarification and I feel a pressing to offer some fleshed out points. 

I do not like Kim Kardashian's cover photo for PAPER. 
I do not like that her clothes, as a rule, leave almost nothing to the imagination. 
I do not like that I do not even follow her, watch her show, know or want anything having to do with her reality-television saturated celebrity presence, and yet, my newsfeed is full of her bearing all because everyone else thinks it is worth talking about while her desire was to "break the Internet." 

The irony of my response is not lost on me as it becomes one of the thousands of pieces of grist that will get eschewed by the pop culture mill.

This is what I say:

Let her break the internet if she wants, just have the decency to give me forewarning so I do not share the fracture in conjunction with an inanimate entity's psyche. I am not saying she does not have the right to pose nude. Celebrity and public citizens, alike, possess the right to photograph their disrobed bodies. Each unto their own. Just warn me before you share it because that is the last thing I want to see, whether I know you, and especially more so if I do not. 

This is not me saying that being a mom means you cannot do those things and you are forbidden from feeling sexy. While I question how sharing a nude photo, with literally the entire world, fulfills the definition of what it means to "feel sexy," I am all for you wanting to feel sexy. I am not yet a mother. I have yet to be married. I have yet, even, to be kissed. So why do I get an opinion in anything having to do with this, right? 

I am in my mid-twenties. I know that I have the desire to "feel sexy" for myself, as a woman. I understand how subversive and objectifying our culture is about that on both sides of the gender line. However, I do feel there is a more appropriate way to achieve that. I love dressing up. I love doing my hair. I love experimenting with make-up because I do not wear it often or minimally for work. I love pulling out those treacherous black heels that make me six feet tall -- something that is not my genetic inheritance -- and are the remains of maid-of-honor wear.

As a mother, do I think Kim should being posing nude on the cover of a magazine? Absolutely not. The questions to be examined, though, are more intricate because is there really any good reason for her to be posing nude on the cover of a magazine at all? Feeling sexy? I am not sure that is a valid reason. To me, it seems she possesses an extroverted sense of self confidence about who she is and how she feels about the way she looks. She chose to share it. With everybody. That is my point. 

In just a few short years, her tech savvy child will have the mental consciousness to Google her mother's name and that is one of the pictures that will show up. How does that teach her about modesty and respecting herself when her mother has flagrantly shared her sexuality with the world, both online and in print? When man or woman shares that over the one medium where such images can never be erased. Mothers that declare such is your right because it makes you feel sexy are correct. It is your right. And it may make you feel sexy, but I would encourage you to consider two separate, but unequal exclusivities: feeling sexy and sexy time. 

Sexy, to me, is man or woman that bespeaks intelligence, respect for themselves and the world around them, thinks through their answers when posed a question, are generous where they can be with their time and attention, has voracious passion for life and the things of it, and someone who understands who they are, even if that is only a sliver of who they become. By no means perfect, we are only human, but we are always growing, changing, stretching.

And I know, virgin girl here, but I am not going to besmirch sexy time. I am not a prude nor a product of a painfully strict, conservative, and sexually repressive upbringing. My married girlfriends tell me often, oh how they love their sexy time with their husbands. That is where those conversations end. I do not need to know more. They rarely proffer more. That is their private, intimate relationship. That should only be between the two of them. I hope that is the discussion that comes about from this. That is what I am worried about. Mrs. Kanye West will carry on as she determines, but I hope that she comes to realize that she has more to offer the world than a provocative angle of her body, nude or clothed. She deserves to be known and remembered for more.

What ever happened to less is more? What happened to making people wonder? When did it become okay to treat yourself like a piece of meat to be consumed, carrion vultures lurking on the periphery? I have grown up convinced of the mysterious allure of modesty. I understand that men, and women, are both visual. Women can stop trying to shove it off on men. You know it is as true as men do, but no one talks about it out of fear or shame or something else bewildering. And I believe exposing people and children willingly to it is not okay. I believe that there are still things about you that belong to your significant other, what you look like sans dress being a primary example. I think it is about time that men and women demonstrated a little more respect for the distinction from feeling sexy and the sacredness of sexy time. When it comes down to the line, I do not want to know. Nor should I have the right to know.