In case you'd not noticed we live in a deranged society in which women's bodies are public exhibits, Us Weekly is now letting you "zoom in" on Kim Kardashian's "stunning post-baby curves!". Because picking apart celebrity thighs was getting ho-hum. We needed to super-size the pics and the body shaming before we all noticed the great gaping emptiness of it all.
Of course, the magazine employs up-beat, pseudo-complimentary language like "tip-top, super-sexy bikini shape". But that's only because it can't actually write what it's really saying: "This woman is confident and you feel shit about yourself, so let's dismantle the former to exacerbate the latter".
Or: "ACCEPTABLE HUMAN SHELL: Y/N? USE MICROSCOPE."
As Jessica Grose at Slate points out, the zoom function is only offered on certain images.
Amazingly enough, those images are Jessica Simpson's "slim, sexy legs" and various snaps of Victoria's Secret Angels (an institution built on female despair).
Kim Kardashian has made her money from the tabloids and the attention they pay her. There's no denying that sauntering around in a bikini for the paps is part of that fame game - or that it's her right. However, that doesn't mean it's an act of empowerment - she's still working well within the confines set out for her by mainstream media. In other words, hers is a "choice", but it's still one shaped by external dictates.
Ironically, the party with the most choice - US Weekly - doesn't exercise any at all. There are numerous (slight exaggeration?) angles the story could have taken: Kim's holiday schedule; what she thinks about motherhood; her plans for the show; some fluff about the impending wedding and its sick-in-the-mouth-inducing excess.
But no. Instead we get a barely concealed invite to scan another woman's flesh. At some point, some idiot actually suggested they create a zoom function to better do this, and some other idiot said 'GREAT IDEA!', and so it was.
Oh - and in case you've now had a look and feel extra crap because Kim Kardashian has managed to somehow grow into a full-figured woman AND have a child with not a single stretchmark or pucker to ruin the party, the images are airbrushed.
And that is what you call cold comfort.
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