Monday, June 21, 2010

News Flash: Celebrities Say Stupid Things - In Defense of Kim Kardashian

Another day, another celebrity making stupid remarks.  This time it's Kim Kardashian backpedaling as fast as her thick thighs will carry her about a tweet she made regarding public breastfeeding.

Her exact tweet: on 6/18/10:

EWW Im at lunch,the woman at the table next 2 me is
breast feeding her baby w no cover up
then puts baby on table and changes her diaper

After receiving a storm of criticism, she followed by it with this tweet on 6/19/10:

My sister breast feeds!  Its a natural beautiful thing.
there's nothing wrong w it, but she covers herself, not w her boobs exposed

I'm fairly certain that tweet #2, which appears designed to appease some majorly pissed-off breastfeeding moms, only made her situation worse.  By explicitly saying what she implied in tweet #1, that moms should cover up when nursing in public, Kim became an instant hypocrite in the eyes of many.  The irony of a Playboy model who is famous for appearing scantily clad complaining about women showing their boobs is hard to miss. 

But . . .

I still don't quite think she deserved what she got.  I mean, she really made some people angry, and they made some really nasty comments, on Twitter and all over the Internet.  Lactivists in particular were fired up, and blog post after blog post rolled out on the subject.  References to the sex tape she's got floating around out there came up repeatedly.

Now, I'm a mom who has logged a lot of years breastfeeding.  I believe that babies need to eat, and that people in our culture do need to get over the notion that there should be any restrictions on when and where this can happen.  In other words, I'm all for women nursing in public, and I don't think that they should have to cover up just to make other people comfortable.  I also believe that anyone who has never actually nursed a baby has no concept of how difficult it can be to "cover up."  Most babies don't like blankets over their heads.  They may be small, but they're people, and they have opinions just like anybody else. 

Kim Kardashian obviously doesn't get all this. 

But is she supposed to?

What is she?  A model?  A playmate?  A woman who is famous for being famous?  She's not a rocket scientist people!!!  If all she has ever been exposed to is the idea that you're supposed to cover up when you nurse, has she ever given any thought to the idea that maybe you don't need to or that sometimes it isn't feasible?  I'm guessing that the irony of her telling women to cover their tits never even dawned on her, and I'm seriously wondering if she even understands the term irony.

I agree with most of what's been said, and particularly loved this post over at Code Name: Mama comparing pictures of Kim "fully dressed" with pictures of moms who are nursing.  You can probably guess who was showing more boob . . .

But celebrities aren't known for being the smartest of the bunch.  (I'm guessing that all those Hollywood publicists are really loving Twitter and all the stupid things that their celebrity clients tweet).

Is it really fair to blame Kim Kardashian or any other celebrity for making an ill-informed comment when it's really a problem that exists in society at large?

If anything, such comments present an opportunity to start conversations about the issue at hand -- for example, nursing in public and when and if women ever should cover up.  Yes, somebody needs to make sure that Kim understands why these comments are unnecessary, and why she in particular should not be making them. 

But is it fair to vilify her when she didn't know any better?  Is it really her fault?  Going off on a woman who is practically a porn star might feel good, but it isn't going to solve the greater problem of our culture's fear of lactating breasts. 

Don't get angry at Kim Kardashian.  Get angry at the culture that made her famous.  Get angry at the culture that rewards her for looking like a porn star.  Get angry at the culture that gave her the idea that what she does with her breasts is acceptable, but that feeding a hungry child with them is not.

She's a celebrity.  She said something stupid.  So what?  She's not the issue. 

I say we leave Kim Kardashian alone.  We have bigger battles to fight.   

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