In spite of everything she’s done for women with her empowering nude selfies, Kim Kardashian West does not consider herself a feminist.
At least that’s what she told the audience assembled for her keynote speech at the BlogHer 16 conference in Los Angeles on Friday.
“Everyone always says, are you a feminist? And I don’t think that I am,” she said. “I don’t like labels. I do what makes me happy and I want women to be confident and I’m so supportive of women … But I’m not the ‘free the nipple’-type girl.”
One more time, for the people in the cheap seats: Kim Kardashian West supports women, but she doesn’t support feminism, which Merriam-Webster defines as “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”
She joins fellow sex-positive icon and symbol of female empowerment Sarah Jessica Parker, who also disavowed the word ‘feminism’ earlier this week immediately after explaining that she supports the exact ideology that feminism strives to make reality.
When given the choice between showing solidarity, staying silent and spreading misinformation about feminism, Kardashian chooses the third option. Her reduction of feminism to the “free the nipple” debate — reminiscent of the way some people tried to tarnish the reputation of the movement by associating it with bunk bra-burning myths in the 1960’s — isn’t just lazy, it’s disappointing.
If some of the most visible people in our culture openly refuse to associate themselves with the movement that hopes to achieve female equality, that’s bad. But it’s even worse if it turns out that the same people who are rejecting the label actually do align themselves with the cause itself, and just haven’t bothered to do their homework properly.
It’s a shame that both Kardashian West and Parker rely on such lazy observations about the meaning of feminism; in doing so, they squander the chance to say something big on behalf of the same generation of women they claim to support.