We’re all a bit fatigued on the media’s coverage of the Kardashian family, and anyone remotely associated with them. The headlines regarding them have gotten bigger and crazier, and the youngest members Kendall and Kylie Jenner are surely becoming the latest walking billboards of life in Young Hollywood. When one of their sisters Kim Kardashian posted her now infamous selfie of posing in a crisp white swimsuit, it was originally meant for fiance Kanye West’s eyes only, but on Instagram, the comments were abound with either admiration for looking great post-pregnancy, or criticism that such a photo was inappropriate now that she’s a mother. Was it gratuitous? Yes. To the fullest extent. But was Kim sending a bigger message with such a calculated yet noticeable view of her posterior?
When she made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno with past week, Leno asked her how about the photo that had everyone talking. With no hesitation she answered calmly and confidently as to why she did it.
This was like my big middle finger to the world for everyone that called me.
This answer arrived minutes after she had explained to Leno how the commentary about her weight gain really affected her feelings and perception of how malicious people can be. Their animosity was served cold when really they had nothing to gain in return except an even bigger cloud of hate and negativity above their own heads. Kim has almost always received harsh words from the media despite the same agenda not getting enough of her, and her massive appeal has ranked in millions thanks to a strong fanbase. While the Kardashians were at one point a guilty pleasure of mine as well, when the extreme analysis of her weight gain while pregnant with North West was written about everywher, I did feel sympathy for her. It was one of those public situations in which you take the celebrity factor out of it and it really was an example of the dark side of human nature and the return of playground behavior. There were endless words about how she dressed, which some called trashy and improper because Kardashian did not entirely give up on wearing at times restricting high end couture, including baby doll Lanvin dresses and strappy Giuseppes. She even made the cover of The New York Post one day, which signalized nothing more than a slow news day, clearly.
The criticism hit a fever pitch when she attended the 2013 Met Ball in a custom-made muted colored floral gown by Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, with matching gloves. The next day, she was compared to old fashioned carpets, rugs, and couches and even Robin Williams placed her next to an image of his character from his comedy Mrs. Doubtfire. The memes were kind of funny, but it was all unfair from the start, and this issue of how pregnant women are treated, especially when they are clearly eating for two, is a problem that are compliments of both chauvinistic men and un-sisterly women. The fat-shaming was officially out of hand, as fellow female celebrities that probably don’t even list Kim as a friend came to her defense, such as model Helena Christensen and actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who are also mothers.
A woman’s body miraculously changes during her three trimesters and the last thing she needs affecting her is criticism of necessary weight gain. Kim Kardashian was the scapegoat for a bigger problem which is the pressure of women on how to be when pregnant. The choice words on her outfit picks? OK. Maybe high-priced habits (aka Chanel, Balenciaga everything) do die hard, but the attacks on her weight gain as a mother to be…really? As Christensen said in a statement, it edges on “sacrilegious” when a child is in the belly. And any woman that’s given birth before will tell you, when your body changes during pregnancy, it’s wonderful, crazy, and bizarre, especially the first time. You know what’s happening because you are with child, but you also don’t know what’s happening because the female body is machined to do powerful things we only read about it.
On Jay Leno, Kim recalled how the mean words made her more of an introvert and less of a believer that all press is good press, essentially:
It really hurt my soul. It changed how I am in public a bit. I was gaining weight because I was pregnant.
While gossip rags and sites are always unfortunate reminders that some people think living vicariously through the lives of the rich and famous are more worthy of discussion than the reformation of health care and foreign affairs, Kim Kardashian may be a lot of annoying things, but her turmoil with the media about her weight gain showed another case of what it feels like for a girl in world that wants you to be everything at once that’s alluring and docile, but not yourself. Her take-a-second-look selfie said all of that and then some. Despite having been running to the bank with a grin on her face for many years now, her most public guffaw yet was courtesy of her own confidence and happy ending.