ROLE MODEL? Kim Kardashian has 66.3 million followers on Instagram, but questions have been raised about whether she is a good role model for young women.
ROLE MODEL? Kim Kardashian has 66.3 million followers on Instagram, but questions have been raised about whether she is a good role model for young women.

OPINION: More to female self worth than Kim K’s naked selfie

OPINION

A RECENT count showed Kim Kardashian had 66.3 million followers on Instagram.

Presumably a portion of that - possibly a large portion - are young, impressionable women who follow her because they consider her a good role model.

Role models, particularly for young women, are extremely important.

They're like public points of reference to set a compass to and re-calibre if needed.

But what happens when that orientation arrow is telling young women that baring their bodies in social media pictures for the whole world to see is the best way to be publicly "empowered"?

So-called role models like Kim Kardashian have been both publicly praised and shamed for their prolific nude selfies, posted under the banner of female empowerment.

Her justification for such posts has been that women shouldn't feel ashamed of their bodies and should be proud of their sexuality.

And I absolutely agree. With that part at least.

But putting your birthday suit at the top of your list of things that makes you an empowered woman - well, I do have a problem with that.

To me, it's saying boobs beat brains.

It's saying women's most important assets are not their intellect, their wit, their kindness, their humour, their selflessness or their desire to help others.

It's saying their biggest and most valuable asset is their booty.

And I think that's a big cause for concern.

Although undeniably beautiful with a wicked fashion sense, Hollywood golden age actress Audrey Hepburn used her ballet to raise money for the Dutch resistance during the Second World War, spoke five languages and dedicated her post-screen life to humanitarian work for UNICEF.

The top Instagram sites dedicated to her have about 55,000 followers.

Paris Hilton made her fame from a porno. She has 5.7 million followers.

More recently, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate for her human rights advocacy and activism work towards female education, particularly in her native Swat Valley, where the local Taliban had banned girls from school. Malala has 392,000 followers.

Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian made a porno.

There is certainly no shortage of incredible and courageous women to admire. Women who would make excellent role models.

So while Kim K should be free to post as many nude selfies as her heart desires, I just don't feel it should be done under the banner of female "empowerment" and being a good role model.

What Kim had to say to comments following her nude Instagram selfie:

"Happy International Women's Day.

"Hey, guys. I wanted to write a post elaborating on my tweets last night. In all seriousness, I never understand why people get so bothered by what other people choose to do with their lives. I don't do drugs, I hardly drink, I've never committed a crime - and yet I'm a bad role model for being proud of my body?

"I am empowered by my body. I am empowered by my sexuality. I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my skin. I am empowered by showing the world my flaws and not being afraid of what anyone is going to say about me. And I hope that through this platform I have been given, I can encourage the same empowerment for girls and women all over the world.

"It's 2016. The body-shaming and slut-shaming - it's like, enough is enough. I will not live my life dictated by the issues you have with my sexuality. You be you and let me be me.

"I am a mother. I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, an entrepreneur and I am allowed to be sexy."



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