Thursday, November 27, 2014

Keira Knightly and Kim Kardashian Kontroversy

With the current state of digital media, news is old after not even a few days. College apps and homework take up a lot of time, so many of the issues I want to blog about have come and gone too fast for me to write on while they're still in the public eye. A lot of the time, even if I have a post done, I might already have a whole bunch of posts scheduled, and I don't want to post multiple posts in one day. With unimportant things, I'll do something I call "unscheduling," where I schedule it to be posted in the past, so it only appears in the blog archive, and not on the main posts stream. That way, I have it as a record/diary entry, but it's not up where everyone can see (because quite frankly, a lot of the things that happen in my life are pretty boring). However, for certain issues that I think are more important, I still want to post them where they can be seen, even if it's a bit behind the times.

This post is about the perception of the female body – specifically the naked female body – in society, an issue that is critiqued quite hypocritically in general by the established media and social media. It bothers me that there are all these problems in the world, and lately it's been something that has really been weighing on my conscience. On one hand, the world's problems are so large and complex that an individual's opinion simply doesn't have much of an effect at all, but on the other hand, silence means acceptance, and I can't stay quiet accepting the things I don't agree with. I can't change the world, but things must constantly be spoken about, or else no further change can take place.

Warning: "NSFW" images.

In August, Keira Knightley did a photoshoot for Interview magazine. It didn't reach mainstream media until November, when Glamour magazine commented on the "raunchy" (the definition of which is "earthy, vulgar, and often sexually explicit") shots with an explanation of why she chose to do it. Her explanation was "'That [shoot] was one of the ones where I said: 'OK, I'm fine doing the topless shot so long as you don't make them any bigger or retouch.' Because it does feel important to say it really doesn't matter what shape you are.'" She won plenty of support for her position, but people still commented at her to "go eat some meat" or accused her of just "trying to gain exposure."

In November, Kim Kardashian did a photoshoot for Paper magazine. It immediately was splashed onto news sites everywhere, as the intention of the article was the "Break the Internet". I'm not sure what that is supposed to mean, as the internet is clearly still working quite fine, but it sure did get people talking. Opinions flew and feminists clashed, unsure of what to make of it. People thought she should be allowed to celebrate her body, but most attacked her as a "slut."

Pretty soon social media noticed, and accusations about thin and thick flew everywhere. The main concern was that Keira's photo was seen as "art," while Kim's was seen as "trash." Both women have comments about being a slut or being beautiful, but the thing that is often overlooked is the fact that the ones saying nasty things on Keira's picture are also the ones saying nasty things on Kim's picture, and the people with nice comments on Keira's are also nice people on Kim's. However, Tumblr social justice and the media chooses to focus on the nice ones for Keira and the mean ones for Kim, creating a false dichotomy that one is better than the other because of body size.

I do believe there is a difference between the two. Keira is protesting the unrealistic body standards on small women – that all women should have a blooming hourglass figure, skinny with a voluptuous chest and behind – and is in a way protesting against all body type criticism. Kim is flaunting her figure (as she should be allowed to!) but it is photoshopped to the point where it almost looks distorted. Nevertheless, neither deserve the vitriolic remarks about their bodies (though both probably couldn't care less, the attention is earning them money.)

The issue is the female body is so taboo, which is sad, especially when such unpleasant (to put it lightly) comments are directed at real people. The nasty comments are worse towards larger people, but it goes both ways. Just because someone is skinny doesn't mean they don't face body confidence pressures. Even Taylor Swift has been attacked for not having a "booty". It's really not an issue of "big girls" vs. "skinny girls" as most people are trying to make it be, but "females" vs. "the world and themselves." All girls people should support each other regardless of size, because it's never pleasant have low self esteem. ◊

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