In an interview for the cover story of Rolling Stone, Kim Kardashian said:
“I believe that I am so much smarter than I’m portrayed.”
But Tuesday night, the better half of Kimye said that despite the tendency to become objectified, women are able to control how they are perceived in the media. So why then did the self-proclaimed media-perception expert lament that she is ‘so much smarter’ than we credit her? If the media is her game, why doesn’t she play it to show her other strengths?
Kardashian, who hopes to be remembered as both a sex symbol and businesswoman, talked about the media’s objectification of women in between giving tips about pregnancy and cellulite at an event in San Francisco to promote her book ‘Selfish,’ a 400 page collection of selfies, Tuesday.
Women have the power to control the way they are perceived in the media, Kardashian said. She added that the photoshoot she did for cover of Paper magazine last year, which prominently displayed her backside, is an example of showing the media what you want them to see:
“I’ve chosen to put them in there. I’m proud of them. I think there is power of that… I feel proud of that. Even if it’s objectifying myself, I’m OK with that.”
Though Kardashian’s comments may seem contradictory — she laments about not being taken seriously, yet says she is being perceived exactly how she wants — they actually make sense. Women can control how they are perceived in the media, but only up to a point.
Remember this is the same Kim Kardashian who became famous after her sex tape with rapper Ray J was leaked in 2007. Granted, Kardashian wasn’t exactly a nun during the time her tape was released, but can a woman whose sexuality has gained such prominence ever be known for anything else?
Kardashian isn’t the only woman who came into the public eye after their sexual behavior was made public. No one had heard of Monica Lewinsky before what happened in that infamous blue dress became public knowledge. Though her time as a slutty pariah was nearly 20 years ago, Lewinsky hasn’t been able to shake that image. She has recently become an advocate against cyber bullying, using her story as an example of how damaging it is when one’s sexual affairs become public.
“I lost my reputation and my dignity. I lost almost everything. And I almost lost my life,” she said during a TED talk in March. This isn’t Lewinsky’s first attempt at reinventing herself, she tried to release a handbag line and had a short-lived reality TV show. After those endeavors both flopped, she has now switched to the advocacy side of sex and shame.
While Lewinsky has attempted to distance herself from her sexual shame, Kardashian has basked in it. She talks about how she won the day and #broketheinternet while promoting a book of selfies. Though she may lament that her brain gets ignored, she is smart at using her other assets.
Is it possible that we have have underestimated Kim? Perhaps.
But it certainly is hard to take someone seriously who has built their entire career around their sex-appeal, and a derrière which will probably sag sooner than she anticipates.