Kim Kardashian vs Matt Taylor

This image was shared by a Facebook friend.

what-i-learned-this-week

If you assume that all women’s bodies are either clothed or exploited, then I suppose this makes sense. I strongly disagree with that sentiment.

What initially caught my attention concerning the Kardashian photos was the vitriol, from both men and women, I’ve witnessed on Facebook, especially since I didn’t think there was much very startling or surprising or outlandish about the photos when taken out of historical context (which, frankly, is the way most people are viewing them. It’s how I view them). They really aren’t that daring, especially since the photographer reused the setting and pose. Besides, wasn’t she some sort of cultural darling at one point? Not so long ago, people would have been more excited than scandalized about the photos. I mean, her sex tapes made the rounds.

What has changed?

Oh, yeah–she had a kid.

In our society, that’s when you stop being sexy. Women are supposed to wear “mom clothes” and “let themselves go” in order to provide the best care for their children. After birth “woman” is not important, “child” is. Women’s appearance no longer matters. Their health no longer matters, their careers no longer matter. They no longer matter. Women are supposed to sacrifice everything in order to raise a healthy, well-adjusted kid. They’re supposed to end up as the bored housewives with cheating husbands, dreaming of Twilight abusive romances because they believe that’s better than what they have, but it’s something they can never achieve.

They aren’t supposed to pose nude for photographs that are targeted for public consumption. They’re really not supposed to pose for nude photographs for anyone–their husbands are supposed to get sexual gratification from mistresses.

Kardashian made a decision to pose. Did she have publicity in mind? Likely. So what? It’s her life, and she can choose to pose nude if she wants. I have no problem with what Kardashian does as a consenting adult.

The objectification of women on Matt Taylor’s shirt is a completely different story. We aren’t talking about a consenting adult showing off her ass. We’re talking about a man who thought that, as a professional astronomer giving interviews about an absolutely awesome scientific achievement that millions, including men, women and children, watched, a shirt with bikini babes staring provocatively at the viewer was appropriate attire. To accompany that, he made a comment about the probe his team landed skillfully on a comet as not being “easy”. It’s kinda hard not to come away with the idea that Taylor views women as sex objects, there for the butt of jokes, there for his pleasure.

This isn’t being picky. This isn’t being bitchy. Imagine, if you will, a woman doing the same interview with hunky, thong-clad men on her shirt and voicing quips about an easy lay. That hypothetical woman would have been fired. Public outcry would have demanded no less. Taken with the fact that, no matter what women wear as a professional scientist, they still get criticized for wearing it, seeing a man in that shirt during a very important interview is a slap in the face. It is a reminder men are held to vastly different standards than women.

Consensual pictures versus objectified women on a shirt–there are very real differences the picture above ignores.

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