Kim Kardashian West broke the hearts and hopes of many on Friday (okay, mostly just mine) when she told a crowd of women at the BlogHer 2016 conference that she is not a feminist.
“I don’t think that I am,” the 35-year-old said, explaining, “I don’t like labels. I just think I do what makes me happy and I want women to be confident and I’m so supportive of women.”
Given how many celebrities shy away from calling themselves feminists, Kardashian West’s admission isn’t exactly surprising, but it a downright lie. Because if we use Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s definition of “the label” (made famous by its inclusion in Beyonce’s song ‘Flawless’) as a benchmark, a feminist is simply a “person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.”
The mother of feminisim Gloria Steinem talks to Mia Freedman about Kim Kardashian
And when applied to the life and times of reality television superstar Kim Kardashian West, it’s evident that she not only engages in feminist acts on the regular, but also does so unapologetically.
Here’s the proof.
1. Every time she posts a nude selfie.
Making the statement that your body is your own is basically lifted straight from the Feminism 101 handbook.
And while nudity (especially in selfie form) may now seem tired and even a little contrived, women daring to be in the buff in ye olden times would have been deemed mentally unstable, seen them socially outcast and their careers disappear before their eyes.
But thanks to feminism, Kim’s nudity is one of the many reasons for her stratospheric success.
Kim Kardashian with Emily Ratajkowski. Source: Instagram.
2. Every time she promotes body positivity in all shapes and sizes.
Kim and her sisters are largely responsible for shattering the thin, white, blonde beauty stereotype when they showed up on the scene with curves and confidence aplenty. And you know what? The world is a far better place for it.
Having someone with close to 80 million Instagram followers tell women "when it comes to how you feel about your body, remember to be kind to yourself and enjoy how you look now," is not only refreshing, but also helps reset the standard of beauty women around the world aspire to. It's also about as feminist as one can get.
Khloe, Kourtney and Kim. Source: Getty.
Watch: Gloria Steinem and Mia Freedman discuss Kim Kardashian and feminism. (Post continues after video.)
3. Every day she unapologetically goes to work and leaves her two young children at home.
Working mums may be the social norm these days, but they certainly weren't 50 years ago. Especially not ones who worked by choice rather than necessity, as Kardashian West does.
With two young children and a vast fortune to her name, Kim doesn't need to work any more if she doesn't want to. But it's evident that like many other women, the reality superstar finds hard work and the financial freedom that comes along with it rewarding. And that freedom is one that we can all thank the social movement known as feminism for.
We've also got that same group to thank for the fact that Kardashian West can leave her children in the care of others and not be judged or labelled as bad mum for doing so.
Kim Kardashian West and daughter North West. Source: Snapchat.
4. When she conquered the tech world with just two apps.
The tech industry is still notoriously sexist towards women, but breaking down the barriers is Kim Kardashian West, whose reality-based app has been downloaded 45 million times and earned the social media mogul a cool $212 million in the process.
Her Kimoji app also crashed the Apple store on the morning of its release and has since gone on to be downloaded millions of times also.
The "girl with no talent" landed a Forbes magazine cover in acknowledgement of her digital acumen, and has helped make a male-dominated industry open to more and more females, especially young that play games on their phones and dream about one day working in the field. (Post continues after gallery.)
5. Every time she spends her income on what she wants, when she wants.
You know who used to control a woman and her finances, Kim? Men.
Hell, up until the 80s it was difficult for a woman to even get a credit card without approval from her husband.
But you know who turned all of that around? The people who tirelessly fought for the economic equality of women, a.k.a. feminists.
And you know what pairs perfectly with the label of feminism? The labels of French fashion houses like Balenciaga, Balmain, Givenchy and Celine!
Hey look, it's Kim snuggling into the $2,700 coat that feminism bought. Source: KUWTK/Youtube.
6. Those two times she was able to get divorced.
The freedom to leave a marriage without having to provide proof of fault wasn't made legal in California until 1969. Before then, for better or worse, women were forced to remain in often unhappy and unequal marriages. And that's a point that can't be stressed enough.
To engage in the act of leaving a partner, and being free to do so without being stripped of all personal wealth is to engage in the hard work of others. Hard work that was undertaken so that women would be recognised and protected equally by the law.
Without the right to leave Damon Thomas in 2004 or Kris Humphries in 2011, Kim wouldn't carry the surname West, be a mother to North and Saint, or have the career she does today.
Kim and Kanye on their wedding day. Source: Instagram.
7. When she spoke out about the Armenian genocide and people listened.
Like almost everything listed here, the right for women to voice political opinions and be heard is a relatively new luxury.
But earlier this year Kardashian West exercised her god given right to share her views and spoke out about the Wall Street Journal running an advertisement of Armenian genocide deniers, Turkic Platform.
"Advocating the denial of a genocide by the country responsible for it—that's not publishing a "provocative viewpoint," that's spreading lies," Kardashian West said at the time, adding, "It's totally morally irresponsible and, most of all, it's dangerous."
The points raised in Kim's heartfelt response to the issue were powerful and succinct, and most importantly they were heard around the world. Social media reach aside, nobody was listening to the views of a woman from California when the genocide took place 100 years ago. So thanks for allowing our voices to count, feminists!
Kim and Khloe marking the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Source: Instagram.
8. When she encouraged people to be politically active on numerous occasions.
In 2014, Kim encouraged people to head out and vote in the midterm elections. Something women couldn't actually do in America until 1920 (two years after World War I ended and a full 144 years after presidential elections first began in America).
In 2015, she endorsed Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate, posting a photo with the former Secretary of State alongside the caption, "I really loved hearing her speak and hearing her goals for our country."
Then just two weeks ago while writing about the Black Lives Matter movement and gun violence in the US on her website, Kardashian West directed readers to a link that would help them find their nearest legislator, writing "hashtags are not enough. This must end now."
Encouraging more women to vote and participate in politics is essential. And making it look cool to millions of people is a truly great (and feminist) thing to do.
Kim, Hillary Clinton and Kanye. Source: Twitter.
9. That time she went to a gun violence campaign immediately after saying she wasn't a feminist.
Following her appearance at the HerBlog conference, Kim and her sisters attended a luncheon with Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety - organisations that are working to end gun violence in the US.
On the Everytown website, however, it is pointed out that "Women in the United States are eleven times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries... Domestic violence in America is to a significant degree a problem of gun violence."
And when all's said and done, fighting for women to simply be alive is fundamentally a feminist issue. It's also a race issue and a humanist issue and a host of others, but my point is that just because its more than one doesn't mean you should stand for none.
Kim at the gun safety luncheon on Friday. Source: Facebook.
Kim's voice is a powerful one that resonates with millions of people around the world. And she's someone who has made millions of dollars from putting her name to things.
So why not this? God knows we need it more than another fragrance.
Featured image: Getty