The Truth about Empowerment

Over the past month or so Kim Kardashian posted an old, nude photo to her Instagram account (this isn’t news, she markets her body like I market my motherhood, successfully).

Photo courtesy Kim K IG
  Photo by Kim K IG

It’s lead to a slew of think and opinion pieces. Everyone from bloggers to my manicurist want to go out of their way to shred her sense of decency. Blaming her for everything from corrupting the minds of young girls to setting the women’s movement back decades. Spoiler alert: our government is doing that in spades all on their own.

I use to be on the “I hate Kim” bandwagon cos, “fuck that bitch, she has no substance.” I changed my mind. Upon some honest reflection, I decided, I have no reason to hate her. A fellow mother and a successful woman (regardless how she won that fame) she is doing what we all do and have done in order to know ourselves better. She’s just living her life.

Her and I are about as far apart as two women can get and I’m ok with that. She’s not my cup of tea. The truth is, nudity isn’t for me, I’ll probably never post pics of my battle-scarred body, riddled with stretch marks, as a means of feeling empowered, though other women do and should if it suits them. That’s just not my brand. I don’t have Kardashian’s lighting or cosmetics budget. It doesn’t mean I have the right to bash and begrudge anyone else for that brand of empowerment.

Society makes it so that there is always an “us v. them” situation with a shit ton of internalized misogyny thrown in for good measure. One only has to tune into morning television or scroll through social media feeds to get a daily dose of shame. There is always someone, somewhere making my womanhood a competition. Shaming someone in order to pick themselves up, like it’s their job and in some cases it is. You can’t be Modest or sexy. If you’re a working mom you are selfish and we all know *presses sarcasm button* stay at home moms are lazy. Oh and if you don’t want to be a mom you’re an evil wench who hates kids. We take a side and we work hard to disparage and shame the “opposition” but really who am I or any of you to fucking judge?

My empowerment is rooted in my selfish need to feel wholly good about me.

I ate this cupcake for breakfast and it felt good
Like, I ate this cupcake for breakfast and it made me feel good about myself

My empowerment comes from being able to define, without shame, my own ideas about feminism in the modern world. I don’t need an advanced degree in women’s studies or to be an expert in women’s history, either. Though I’m sure there will be a slew of people looking to shame me for being an ignorant, embarrassment to my fore-mothers.

I believe feminism is about equality for both men and women, of all races, orientations, abilities, and spiritual beliefs. That’s the only damn requirement necessary for being a feminist.

My point is, I need women to stop putting their personal brand standard on others in order for them to meet some individual criteria of womanhood. I need us to be ok with being empowered however we see fit without being expected to be some sort of monolith for women’s rights.

The truth about empowerment is we are allowed to feel it through any means necessary. Unless you find empowerment through the oppression of others, than you can jump right off a freakin cliff.

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