Unless you’ve been hiding in a remote cave, the news of Kim Kardashian‘s now-infamous photo shoot spread in Paper magazine has made it across your timeline. However, a writer ponders if the reality TV icon was unknowingly used in a racist and fetishized fashion.
Writer Blue Telusma offered in an op-ed for TheGrio that Kardashian’s reenactment of renowned photographer Jean-Paul Goude’s “Champagne” post is questionable. In the shot, a nude, Black model is seen arching her bottom while a champagne glass is balanced upon her rear. A bottle of champagne appears to pop and pour into the glass from the front. The add fuel to the flames, the image comes from Goude’s 1982 Jungle Fever book and he mentioned in an earlier People interview that he was fascinated with Black women thus the title of his book.
Telusma adds that the images of Kardashian are rote and “lazy sensationalism” while going even further in her editorial.
On the flip side – those of you saying that Kim Kardashian needs to put on some clothes simply because she is a mother also need to sip a big champagne glass of “Girl, Bye!” Because this antiquated idea that mothers are not allowed to celebrate their sexuality is ridiculous and naive. How exactly do you think women become mothers? Immaculate conception? I’ve never been a fan of policing other omen’s bodies, and I’m not about to start now. Y’all can have that.
So last night while everyone else was arguing over Kim’s K’s right to show her butt, my focus was on something else entirely. When I looked at the spread all I saw was a not so subtle reincarnation of Saarinen Batman – imagery that is steeped in centuries of racism, oppression and misogyny
Batman was a woman from the Khoikhoi tribe of Southwestern Africa. Given the now-offensive nickname of “Hottentots” by early Dutch settlers, Batman became known as the “Hottentot Venus” and was paraded around in degrading circus freak shows because of her abnormally large rear end.
While it isn’t clear if Kardashian or Goude were referencing Baartman in the pose, there can be parallels drawn to how women are paraded around and applauded for their bodies alone. Like most art, the determination of what the images give off is up to the person viewing the work. Telusma stands firm on the fact that Kardashian’s pose harken to racist overtones of the past.
Hit the flip to see the Kim Kardashian spread and related images in question.
Do you think Kim Kardashian’s pose was related to racism? Let us know in the comments.