By now, just about anyone with access to the internet has seen Kim Kardashian’s latest publicity stunt – coyly smiling over her shoulder as she bares her glistening and clearly Photoshopped posterior at the camera – the tagline #BreakTheInternet emblazoned across the bottom (pun intended!) of the photo encouraging her fans to re-Tweet, re-Gram or re-Post.
While I was not thrilled to be mooned on the interwebs by a narcissistic pseudo-celebrity’s latest PR campaign, I was intrigued by the comments on Twitter, Facebook, and any number of “news” outlets that had run the photo on their site – they ran the gamut from shaming to applauding, but one of the most frequent comments was, “She’s a mother!”
Now, I could discuss the feminist response to the photo, about how women are exploited, and are willing to exploit themselves for fame and fortune in our culture, but I’m not. Or the alternate version, where some believe she’s empowering women by not being ashamed of her body. I could mention that the photo that preceded the butt bearing – where she had a champagne glass perched on her rear, was a re-creation of a decades-old photograph representing stereotypes of black women, but that’s not what this post is about. It’s about the double standard – the fact that no one ever says, “But, he’s a DAD!” In very simple terms, our culture does not like to see mothers represented as sexual beings.
Why is it that women are held to a different moral standard than men when it comes to sexuality? Male musicians, for example, many of them fathers, have long strutted their stuff on stage, shirtless and grabbing at their padded crotches while unapologetically humping the microphone stand. We just write it off as “rock star” behavior. Women do the same thing and the shaming begins – and it’s worse if she’s a mother (Did you see the comments about Beyonce after she danced powerfully, yet suggestively, at the Superbowl? They also pointed out that she is a mom – and she was in a dance costume, not nude.). Is there something so frightening to our collective culture to see mothers as sexy women?
Admittedly, being a mom is not the sexiest job in the world. Half the time you’re covered in your kids’ spit-up or pee and the other half you’re just too tired to care, but, that doesn’t mean that we don’t think about sex, or want to be viewed as desirable, sexy women. The labels are everywhere – a short haircut is called a “mom haircut” and high-waisted utilitarian jeans are called “mom jeans.” I’ve never seen a lacy black bra named the “mom bra,” instead they’re named “bombshell” or “birthday suit bra.” The message is clear – mothers should be chaste and pure – obviously, we’re not, or you wouldn’t be here…but it seems that our culture doesn’t like to think about that.
I’m not suggesting that you have to Keep Up With The Kardashians and start posting butt shots on the internet, but I urge you not to succumb to the stereotype. You don’t have to pull out the lingerie or create a fire hazard with candles, just take a moment to think about the last time you felt like a beautiful, desirable, sexy woman and re-create that feeling in the present…because, in fact, you are.
New hashtag…#MomsAreSexy – let’s see if we really can break the internet.