Monday, April 15, 2013

The Real Reason Gloria Cares

It's easy to sit back and pen a note about Kim Kardashian's weight gain. It's just baby weight gain. In a matter of months, she will be back to her lovely old self and we will be talking about something new.

For some though, there will not be something new. 

For Rehtaeh Parsons and Audrie Pott, there will be no new days, new feelings and new stories because they both committed suicide after being raped, cyber-bullied and cyber-raped shamed. Like Kim Kardashian, their bodies and their sexuality were the heart of the story. Unlike Kim, they wanted no part in it and ultimately could not handle it all. As unfair as it sounds to compare these stories, the issue is the same; we remain an image-obsessed culture that undervalues women as a group and a woman's body as her own.

In a horrific new trend being called "Viral Rape Shame," alleged victims of sexual assault are hassled and bullied via social media when images and videos of their attack are shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels.

The real reason Gloria Steinem defended Kim Kardashian's pregnancy weight gain debacle is not because Gloria is a fan of Kim's tabloid trash ways, but because Gloria is an ambassador for change for women across the globe. Gloria is indeed, a woman like no other, who among many things has fought for the world to recognize that a women's body is off-limits until she decides otherwise.

So sure, Kim can decide when and wear to bare it all and how to flaunt it and shake it and whatever else she wants to do. But the minute someone else decides for her is the minute something has gone horribly wrong.

It's all relative, of course, because not one single thing in Kim Kardashian's life has really gone all that terribly wrong.

The rest of us, or at least the majority of women that Gloria fights daily for, have endured our fair share of shame, doubt, harassment and more. And some of us will pay the ultimate price. So that's why Gloria defends Kim. Because she is a pillar for change, no matter the circumstance. Rape as a tool in war? She fights that. Pregnancy fat-shaming? She hates that. Unequal pay in corporate America? She has lived that. Suicide rates among depressed teenage girls? It breaks her heart. And it all stems from the same place; a place where women's bodies are being manipulated against us to keep us from the greatness that we should aspire as a group. It's all about intimidation and sometimes it turns deadly.