The Naked Selfie: Feminism or Overexposure?

By Mariana Suplicy Batista

Social media is part of our daily life. We wake up, do whatever we have to do, and by the time we are ready to have our first cup of coffee, we already know what is going on in the world. With social media, people started to have the need of knowing what is going on with others and also letting others know what they are up to. It became something so natural that it’s almost impossible to spend a few hours (in some cases, minutes) without checking your Instagram feed.

Nowadays, people share on social media absolutely everything, including the most talked about topic of the moment – nude selfies. On Instagram, over 2.4 million people share posts with the hashtag “nude” in it, making this type of post a cultural phenomenon.

Kim Kardashian, one of the most followed people on Instagram, and also the most talked about celebrity out there, recently shared a nude selfie that resulted in lots of backlash from other celebrities, including actress Chloe Grace Moretz, who tweeted “I truly hope you realize how important setting goals are for young women, teaching them we have so much more to offer than just our bodies.”

Kim and her family became famous for overexposing their lives to the world, and even though this exposure resulted in a 300-million-dollar empire that grows everyday, it also made the family have a huge number of haters, and of course that when Kim posted a nude selfie, feelings about it would be mixed. Other celebrities posted nude selfies before, but criticism was a lot smaller.

The real question behind this issue is, is posting a nude selfie bad because it portrays women as sexual objects or is it a way to promote women empowerment? A bit of both.

More than ever, feminism is trying to break the beauty standard imposed by society, that says you have to be tall, skinny and have straight hair. When Kim posted her nude selfie, intentionally or not, she was being feminist by breaking this standard, embracing her curves and promoting some self-love.

Kim’s post even inspired other people to do the same, including Australian Blogger Constance Hall, who started the body-positive campaign Like A Queen at the beginning of the month.

In high fashion magazines, we see nude photos of Victoria’s Secret models such as Alessandra Ambrosio, Miranda Kerr and Gigi Hadid all the time, and no one gets criticized for being “slutty”. This proves that there is a fake morality when it comes to nude photos.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that what Kim did was 100% right either, after all, every time she posts something, there is probably some PR advisement with a bigger intention behind. Chloe Grace Moretz has a great point. In a world in which women are constantly criticized and seen by men as “empty” and valorized only by their appearances, we have to prove that we have so much more to offer than just our bodies.

While Kim can post whatever she wants because she has an audience that will applaud her independently of what she does, average girls who do that can be easily labeled and not be ready for the harsh consequences that this type of post can have. Once a photo is on the internet, it will always be on the internet.

There is a bigger problem behind the photo itself. Women were always pressured to have a certain look and behave in a certain way, and even though it’s valid that celebrities post nude photos in a try to change that, it is still not very effective, after all, they are far from average, and at the end of the day, average women are the most affected ones by these issues.