When Kim Kardashian’s nude selfie hit the internet this week, it wasn’t the result of yet another hack or nude celebrity photo leak. The photo, with the especially NSFW bits blocked out, was instead intended as a symbol of empowerment—Kardashian wanted to share with the world her trademark hot bod.
It wasn’t the first time that Kardashian has appeared in the buff on Instagram, but the intimacy of the image—taken alone in the privacy of her bathroom, instead of at a commercial photoshoot—seemed to upset the internet. Celebrities including Bette Middler, Pink and Piers Morgan responded by throwing Kardashian some serious shade.
Kardashian fired back, tweeting, “sorry I’m late to the party guys I was busy cashing my 80 million video game check & transferring 53 million into our joint account.”
Then she posted another nude to her Instagram account, captioned with the hashtag #liberated.
Celebrities and fans quickly followed suit, flooding the internet with images affirming Kardashian’s right to show off her body on the internet however she chooses.
Others copied the form to slam Kardashian for her risqué ‘gramming.
Kim Kardashian is FAR from the first person to take a nude selfie. Nude selfies have been trending ever since the advent of the Polaroid camera, but they’ve been spurred more recently by celebrities’ naughty bits winding up online after hacks like The Fappening, in which iCloud hackers leaked nudes of Jennifer Lawrence and others onto the internet.
Most people intend for their nude selfies to stay private. That’s why when nude photos of celebrities like Scarlett Johansson wind up online they spread like a virus—there is something inherently titillating about peering into people’s private lives, especially when that person is famous.
But by inciting people to flood the internet with nudes, Kardashian has turned the nude selfie into something distinctly public. In doing so, she liberated her own body image not just from her critics, but from the control of the male gaze. Perhaps next time there’s a celebrity nude photo leak, we’ll all be a little less interested. After all, we’ve all now seen a redacted photo of Sharon Osbourne’s boobs.