If you were paying attention to Twitter's trending terms Thursday, you may have noticed the name Ayesha Curry ticking up the list. Curry — a lifestyle blogger, mother of two adorable kiddos, and wife of basketball player Stephen Curry — is fairly active on the platform, and mostly posts on the subject of food and what's happening with the Golden State Warriors. But this week, tweets that she fired off in December were plucked from internet history and used to make a point about Kim Kardashian's naked selfies. What do Kardashian's selfies have to do with Ayesha Curry? Absolutely nothing. Curry hasn't commented on them at all. But on December 5, 2015, she did tweet "Everyone's barely wearing clothes these days huh? Not my style. I like to keep the good stuff covered up for the one who matters." Minutes later, she added on to thought train. "Just looking at the latest fashion trends. I'll take classy over trendy any day of the week."
Notice that she didn't say anything about selfies, nudes, or Kim Kardashian. While her comments could be interpreted as a little on the judge-y side, they aren't directed at particular person. Furthermore: These tweets are four months old. They clearly don't have anything to do with the nude feud from this week. But these facts haven't stopped the internet from whipping up a Madonna-whore debate, pitting Curry and Kardashian against one another in opposite corners. Practically overnight, Curry was co-opted online: Her name suddenly became a symbol of a certain type of lady-in-the-streets purity, one who reserves whatever freakiness that lies beneath for her man. As of this morning, Twitter was flooded with people posting their preference for Curry's stance on covering up over Kardashian's for sharing body-baring self-portraits.
"I want to be an Ayesha Curry type of mom, not a Kim Kardashian type of mom," one Twitter user wrote — as though something about who these two women are as mothers has anything to do with disparate, unrelated tweets posted across two calendar years. "Ayesha Curry represents the women that are lowkey, not reachin for attention, yet fine as hell and supportive of their man. Thats rare 2day," wrote another — as though the highest praise a woman can receive is that she's modest, gorgeous, and deferent toward the man in her life. Curry is being painted as everything Kim Kardashian — a woman who puts her naked body out there online, and in doing so becomes a bad mother and a bad partner who doesn't reserve her sexuality for one man — is not. It's a depressingly flat characterization of what it means to be female, one that's been pervasive for far too long. We still live in a world of sluts and virgins, Betty and Veronica, Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. Whittling all women down into these binary categories — saying we're either an Ayesha Curry type or a Kim Kardashian — is a gross simplification of gendered sexuality. Which is also to say: It's deeply demeaning and sexist. Curry clearly gets that: "I don't even know what to say," she tweeted in response to Chrissy Teigen today regarding the commentary. "I guess I can't say anything actually because I'm an adjective of some sort." Frankly, we're not sure what to say either — except that it's a deeply disappointing week for the way that women are represented on the internet.