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Nude Selfies Reveal More Than You See

09/03/2016 3:25 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Kim Kardashian arrives at the inaugural InStyle Awards at The Getty Center on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

There were many things I did not understand about the law when I did my law degree 20 years ago, and not just because I rarely attended lectures and had to use my boyfriend's notes in open-book exams to actually pass anything. (Sorry, Dad -- this is the real reason why I was never going to be Attorney-General as you had hoped.)

One thing that I struggled with is how judgmental the law is, and how one religion's values underpinned so much legislation. It's almost as though a bunch of Anglo-Saxon, middle-aged, Christian men got together centuries ago and decreed what was acceptable behaviour and then made it the law of the land. Oh wait, that's exactly what happened.

Of course, I agree with many laws that control citizens' actions, such as those about drink driving, murder and child abuse. But what I've never understood are many of the rules about what a person can and cannot do with their own body. The illegality of gay marriage, the very debatable laws surrounding abortion, legislation of euthanasia, suicide and prostitution; these things never made sense to me, because I always believed every adult should have the right to do what they want with their body, as long as they do not harm another person.

Because of my belief in body self-autonomy, I find the drama over Kim Kardashian's most recent 'nude' selfie totally bemusing. I simply do not understand what the big deal is about an adult publishing a photo of their body.

When you're like I have nothing to wear LOL

A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

Have none of us ever seen a naked body? Not that Kardashian's photo is actually nudity. Most social media sites ban pictures of genitalia and female nipples (although men's bare chests seem to be considered not nude). So when someone like Kardashian posts a 'nude selfie' we (sadly) don't actually get to see the bits that would take the photo from a PG to an R 18+ rating.

I also suspect that, despite the public outcry, no one actually cares. Bette Midler might have tweeted "If Kim wants us to see a part of her we've never seen, she's gonna have to swallow the camera"; but only 50 percent of that tweet is Midler judging Kardashian's decision. The other 50 percent is Midler seeing an opportunity to say something funny that she thought a lot of people would agree with. The comment spoke more about what Midler wanted to gain from the situation, than it was a criticism. Kardashian herself noted that that is part of the motivation in people condemning her, as she pointed out in her response to Chloe Grace Moretz's tweet: "Let's all welcome @ChloeGMoretz to Twitter, since no one knows who she is."

I do not remotely agree that Kardashian's state of undress sends a message to young women, as Mortez claimed, that we do not "have so much more to offer than just our bodies." Why does seeing a naked Kardashian de-value her worth as a person? Why can't she post a picture that makes many people think of sex, whilst remaining a person worthy of respect? Is that not slut-shaming at its worst?

Most of us know that Kardashian recently had a baby -- so do you know what I thought when I saw that picture? I thought, here's a woman who has just had a baby and who is proud of the toned body she once had and would like to get back at some stage. What is wrong with that? I would think the same thing if I had actually ever had a toned body (sigh).

It's also worth considering the notion that, just as we do not all need to be "beautiful" according to society's standards, we also do not all need to contribute in the same way. This is simply how Kardashian makes a living -- and she is certainly making hay while the sun shines.

I'm a fairly smart woman who has done a lot of things, but a global audience of 60 million would not follow a photographic play-by-play of my life, nor could I command millions of dollars by influencing people about products they should buy. But Kim Kardashian can.

Kardashian is certainly not the only person in the world who has made money from what she wears -- or does not wear. Just take a look at Instagram. Many big celebrities -- Jessica Alba, Kate Husdson, David Beckham and Justin Beiber, to name a few -- have accounts filled with pictures of them scantily dressed and/or in provocative poses. These individuals, no matter how skilled they are in their professions, would not have the high-profile careers (with product endorsements etc) if they were not extremely attractive, and if they did not regularly publicise their attractiveness in some way.

Kardashian contributes to society in a way that she may not realise. I am a woman of colour who, (even though I'm comfortable with what I see in the mirror, albeit more so before stuffing my face during the Christmas holidays than now), is not a conventional beauty and is part of a minority. So in a world where the media is dominated by fair-skinned people of a particular size, I love seeing Kim's sumptuous body shape and darker features. She is helping to make her type of beauty more accepted, and that matters to millions of women around the world.

So, let's bring the debate back from the 1950s to 2016 and allow Kimmy K to make her own choices about her body -- and I'll go back to working on increasing my Instagram followers from three of my relatives including my Mum, to 60 million.

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