We see slut shaming so often in the media it’s almost old hat.
But today, when Mia Freedman published a piece on her website, Mama Mia, titled ‘Are you a Mother or a Porn Star?’ I got angry.
Mia’s premise was that Kim Kardashian shouldn’t be posting pictures of herself in a swimsuit because she’s a mother now. She said she got ‘whiplash’ from seeing Kim first post a picture of her baby, then one of her in swimmers.
There are major problems with Mia’s article.
Firstly the implication that women who do a certain kind of job, or post certain kinds of pictures, can’t be mothers. That to be a mother you have to fit into a certain type or mould. Slut shaming of women who consensually do work where they show their bodies, or perform sex acts, is huge. They are made to feel like less of a person because of their job, are often questioned about their morality, and violence against them is ignored. This only adds to that shame and discrimination.
But presuming that someone is either a mother or a porn star, you are also saying that women change when they give birth. Once a woman becomes a mother, it doesn’t make her any less of what she was before. Her interests and qualities remain; they don’t magically disappear with a child. And yes, some women are both mothers and work in the sex industry. Imagine that!
Mia wrote in her article, “Are you really that desperate to reclaim your hotness that you’re happy to discard your dignity and that of your daughter?”
I simply don’t see the connection that Mia is trying to make between the dignity of a person and a photo they post.
Kim taking a photo of herself doesn’t make her any less of a mother, or a bad mother. It makes her human- we all post pictures of ourselves, and what that picture is doesn’t say anything about our dignity, or how many people we have slept with, or if we are mothers or not.
There are major issues with the media making women feel like they need to look a certain way, and the tabloid media went after Kim especially hard during her pregnancy. Pictures of her were splashed over magazines and blogs, pointing out her weight gain and speculating how she would loose it. This would be difficult for anyone, let alone someone who makes money from her brand and image. It also makes women who are not in the public eye feel ashamed of their own bodies, because of the way the magazines treat Kim for any fluctuation in her weight, any change in her appearance.
But attacking Kim for posting a picture showing her body after being subjected to this is not the solution. Ultimately we do not know why Kim posted the picture. Maybe she was pressured by the media to loose weight quickly and show it off, maybe she just liked how she looked and wanted to share it. Even if the reason was media pressure, further body shaming of Kim will not help the situation- only worsen it.
The ultimate hypocrisy is Mama Mia posting a gallery of pictures of the Kardashians ‘through the years’. A gallery of pictures that puts the focus solely on they appearance of Kim- something that will only make her more likely to feel like her only worth in the eyes of the media is her looks.
Mia needs to stop shaming women’s individual choices and do more to stop the harmful culture at large that makes women feel like that have to make those choices.