You know it’s a Friday when you find yourself in the position to have to defend Kim Kardashian’s parenting, but here we go. Everyone is freaking out Kim Kardashian’s latest topless pic, mostly because it was taken by her four-year-old daughter, North West. Between this and everyone still trying to figure out the backstory behind Kylie Jenner’s daughter’s name, Stormi, I’m just sitting here wondering why these are the issues that everyone is consumed about when it comes to the Kardashian/Jenner school of parenting.
Firstly, while I understand the squick factor about North taking a “sexy” picture of her mother, I also feel like we need to remember that North doesn’t see her mother as “sexy.” It’s just her mom. Plus, this entire stage of wealth that the Kardashians have entered revolved around Kim’s body. Kim Kardashian’s nude pictures have been made public through her “book,” Instagram, magazine covers, etc.
Which is fine, because Kim owns that. If she wants to turn what could have been her exploitation (the leaking of her sex tape) into an empire that has made millions not just for her, but every member of her family, then more power to her. Is it weird that Kim is having North take this picture? Sure. Is it a sign of some sort of sexual abuse? No. Not when the mother in question has a legitimate book full of nude selfies.
That being said, if we are gonna spend all this time critiquing the Kardashian/Jenner motherhood situation, then let’s do it from a place that actually matters, rather than spending time getting flustered about nudity. Both Kim and Kylie are raising mixed-race black children, who are going to be growing up in the seat of privilege provided to them by their parents.
Kim has been criticized again and again for racial insensitivity, her own fetishizing of black bodies, and had to be told by Scott Disick of all human beings, that her kid will be black when Kim wanted a stroller to match North’s skin tone. Before the baby was born.
In an interview with Janet Mock for Interview magazine, in which Kim was criticized for her almost black-face level of bronzer, Kim spoke about raising a mixed-race daughter:
“I’m very conscious of it. Kanye always has his family around and people who look like my daughter ― that’s important to me,” Kardashian said. “She’s obsessed with her curly hair, and if she finds someone who has the same hair, she runs to them and is like, ‘You have curly hair like me?’ And we get to talk about it.”
“We want to raise our kids to be really aware. I think that’s all you can do. The more you talk about things and keep them out in the open, the more they won’t be taboo. Kids are already so open. They say anything. So if you educate them, they feel like they have this knowledge and then they feel empowered.”
This same level of cultural awareness isn’t just important for Kim, but also will be an issue with Kylie, whose daughter with rapper Travis Scott will also be mixed race. Unlike Kim who is half-Armenian, and it can be debated how “othered” she is ethnicity wise, Kylie is white as the day is long, no matter how dark her foundation is.
Lara Witt from Teen Vogue wrote a fantastic article about Kylie Jenner’s wealth allowed her to escape the usual shame that usually surrounds young mothers. It is easy to forget with all the money and glamour that Kylie Jenner is only 20 years old. She can’t even legally drink, yet she is now responsible for a whole human being. Yes, she has the money to provide for her daughter, but money is not the only thing needed to raise a child. Especially a child of color.
Black children already exist in a world where they are considered lesser and even with their wealth and privilege, it will not erase their racial identity playing a factor in how society sees him. With North, she doesn’t even have a true ally in her black parent Kanye West. He has gone a long way from the man who once said: “Even when you in a Benz/You still a n— in a coop” and “George Bush hates black people” to being someone who poses with Donald Trump in Trump Tower and creates a clothing palate that looks like something out of the movie Dune.
I get it the Kardashian/Jenners are annoying, a blight on civilization, blah, blah, blah, but regardless it doesn’t mean that every criticism is valid. In fact, all it does it blur actual legitimate criticism about them and the culture shift they created as “hating.” We should be able to focus on the actual damaging mindsets these women might be creating for their children, rather than having strange hangups about how much kissing between parent and child is okay or taking a picture of your mother’s boobs.
Parenting is difficult, there is no book on how to do it right and everyone thinks they have the right idea of what familial affection should look like. Between this and the Tom Brady kissing his son issue, I feel the need to ask why people are so quick to be weirded out by this but are quick to come up with a million and one defenses for men who touch women inappropriately?
(via CNN, image: Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com)
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