It’s time to come clean with something I’ve been keeping secret for a long time: one of my guilty pleasures is keeping tabs on the Kardashians.
Yes, I’m serious.
It started innocently enough with a E! channel marathon shared with a good friend and some ice cream, and now I’m a total sucker for any sort of krazy Kardashian tabloid fodder. And who could blame me? What with all the partying, designer label obsessions, cheesy misspellings to make everything start with the letter “K”, and melodrama, the Kardashians are a natural escapism method of choice when I feel like getting away from the glamorous and wild lifestyle of a Campus Minister. (Catch the sarcasm there? Good.) Now, I can ignore the antics. And I can gloss over Kim’s 72-day marriage by comforting myself that she and I just have extremely opposite views on what that commitment entails. But what I can’t take–and what has likely ruined this guilty pleasure of mine forever–is this:
…and this was the cleanest picture I could find.
I can’t even….I just…..ugh. I’m disappointed and offended on behalf of women everywhere. Not because Kim’s yet again flaunting her curves; a woman authentically celebrating her unique shape is always a good thing. Not because she deigns to try to have a sense of fashion while with child; on the contrary, I wish I could have upped it in the style department when I was waiting for my own little bundle of joy instead of settling for frumpy jeans and empire waist shirts.
It’s because she doesn’t seem to quite grasp the concept yet that motherhood necessarily changes the mother, that her body is not her own anymore, that her beauty is at its peak right now because she is in her full glory as a woman and NOT because she painted on a see-through dress that shows off her breasts.
What I wish I could tell Ms. Kardashian, as one mother to another, is this: you are beautiful on your own. Your skin is glowing, your body is thriving. You are enough. Do you realize that those breasts have grown bigger to start producing the milk that will nourish your baby when it’s born? That if you somehow ended up stranded in the middle of nowhere with your baby, those bodacious ta-tas would be enough to allow your baby to thrive? Do you realize that those hips have grown even more bootylicious to accommodate for the life you are nurturing within? That your body will rearrange its internal organs over the next six months so that your baby can grow strong enough to endure labor and live outside of the protection of your womb?
Are these things not empowering enough to you that you have to find your value in the amount of attention you get from the way that you dress?
By all evidence, her answer to these questions would be: “No. These things have happened so that I can use my body to be even more scandalous and shocking than before. Enjoy me.”
All discussions of self-centeredness aside, it is sad to me that Kim Kardashian feels the need to cheapen the beauty of her pregnancy by binding it in too-tight, see-through clothing. It’s like putting the Mona Lisa in a plastic, glittery frame from Target; it’s unnecessary. It’s tacky. It’s offensive to the true beauty that’s very much present there, and that has been all along, pregnancy or not. What’s potentially worse: it is continuing a precedent that she has long set up for the legions of girls who look up to her. If Kim can’t respect and rejoice in the natural beauty of her most feminine form at what is arguably the most sacred time of her life, then what are her “dolls” supposed to think about themselves–pregnant or not? Pregnancy is almost universally considered to be the time in a woman’s life when she is most stunning in her own skin, so what does Kim’s treatment of it say about how women should treat their beauty on a daily basis? Dressing with such radical immodesty even during her pregnancy has just highlighted something Kim Kardashian has been trying to teach women all along: that the only way to celebrate our form is to indiscriminately show it off in tight clothes with mesh cutouts and plunging necklines, no matter what the occasion or audience. She’s telling us that access to a woman’s bodily beauty is not something to be discovered, but something to be flung at the masses–even when the source of that extra beauty is another, innocent being growing inside of her.
See? Not attractive.
It’s crossed a line from “Oh, those krazy Kardashians” to “Wow, is nothing sacred?” and I’m through with it.
Do I own a few dresses that fit closer to my body? Of course. Do I even have a few past baby belly shots within the annals of my Facebook page? Sure. But I made sure that, even when wearing those dresses or taking those pictures, I still kept a few secrets. That only my husband has enjoyed seeing my feminine form in all of its glory, no one else. Perhaps I’m just a crazy traditionalist, but that’s a thrilling thought to me; that the world might find me charming and attractive but there would still be a few secrets between me and my Beloved. I’d like to think that I’m not alone in being excited about that idea, and I think I found some proof:
So, ladies (especially my young ladies here at the Newman Center), I may not be a millionaire or a reality TV star. I may not walk red carpets or wear designer labels. I may even escape into trashy TV every once in awhile, and I am certainly no princess, but I want to tell you right now (because people like Kim Kardashian refuse to): you do not have to cheapen your beauty–during pregnancy or any day–by revealing it all in one shot. You do not need to squeeze yourself into a too-tight party dress to find fulfillment or affirmation. You do not need to show off your cleavage to find love. I dare you to keep a few secrets about your body. I dare you to feel beautiful in a t-shirt. I dare you to discover where your true beauty lies.