Kim Kardashian posted a nude selfie this week. Cue: outrage, Twitter beef, body-shamers, memes, and one open letter from Kim herself. Who'd have thought, that in 2016, we’re still stimulated, outraged, excited and divided over a nude image of Kim Kardashian on the internet? Post Bette Midler’s somewhat ill-thought through tweet about Kim having to swallow her iPhone in order for us to see the only un-photographed parts of her body, people clamoured to be in either the #sendnude camp or the Bette Midler appreciation society. My indifference was only nudged into an upright position by the publication of another nude. I am, of course, talking about Sharon Osbourne’s lavatory homage to Kim’s naked selfie. The 63-year-old Talk co-host posted an almost identical image; front on and stark nude, bar the rather comical black-out censorship rectangles that also decorate Kim’s selfie. While the internet stopped and gave a sort of passing wave to Sharon’s selfie, at best a kind of ‘u k hun?’ nod toward the middle-aged ex TV star and continued blindly into the “feminist or not” furore shrouding Kim’s latest upload, we stopped and looked a little longer at Sharon’s self-portrait and were struck by a few things. Firstly; how wonderful that at 63, Sharon posted a picture of her near-nude form on the internet to, at the very least, her 402k Instagram followers. How fabulous, that at 63, she feels #liberated by shooting her own nude, in her own bathroom, with her own iPhone. How often do we really see older, nude, bodies in everyday life? Not often enough. Secondly, I was struck by the marvellous similarities that Sharon and Kim share. Kim will surely age into a Sharon Osbourne herself (if a little more famous.) They both claim fame via marriages to world-famous musicians. Both have starred in reality TV shows that have centred on their personal lives; their families, their roles as friends, mothers and as spouses. They became famous for their refusal to be quiet, demure or anything other than themselves. Sharon cursed and fought her way through a house full of bratty, tattted children, weak-bladdered dogs and mumbling husbands. Kim struggled to form sentences through her tears, lay on her back with her feet in the air to increase her chances of getting pregnant and tricked her family into thinking they’d eaten her placenta for dinner – and we fell in love. Their respective addictions to plastic surgery have been well documented. Kim had botox on TV and Sharon has admitted to having a facelift, tummy tuck and breast lift, as well as several other procedures.
For as many people as either of them offend, they double the amount of people they ingratiate with their humanity and honesty. As humans, I’m convinced that their popularity is in part down to their shared characteristics of unpretentiousness and pride. I am inspired by their pride. They are undeniably proud women. They are not famous for their talents, but rather their relatable humours, struggles and desires. Of course, both women have sat for magazine covers, subject to endless mood lighting, Photoshop retouches and makeup artists and they’ve been shot near-naked before. Kim’s monochrome nude shot, that she posted two days ago, by male photographer Brian Bowen Smith came under considerably less fire than her self-portrait. Is it because it’s a professional, read subtext: more fashion – caveat – classier nude? Do we, in fact, have more issue with women using their own mobile devices to frame themselves than we do with the Terry Richardsons of this world? Maybe. No matter how demonised, sexualised, trivialised or idolised both Sharon and Kim's bodies become online, it is their grip on their own individualities, values and bodies that make them applaudable. As Kim wrote in her open letter: “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.”