An Open Letter To Kim Kardashian On Why She Needs To Call Herself A Feminist Even If She Hates The Label
Dear Kim Kardashian West: We need to talk. Recently, I've seen a lot of articles claiming that "Kim Kardashian doesn't label herself as a feminist," and at first, I didn't want to believe it was true. I mean, I've always felt like I've known you — as much as you can know someone you only know from your TV and your Instagram feed — and everything I know tells me that you support the equality of men and women, period. But even though you do, it seems like you really, really hate that "feminist" label, and it's kind of bumming me out... especially since you recently took to your website to explain why. And even though after reading your explanation in your own words, I kind of get where you're coming from, that label is actually so important, and I want to tell you why.
First, though, I have to open this with a disclaimer. I love everything you do and everything you stand for. I am the first to defend you when a friend (or a Twitter stranger...) makes fun of you for "being famous for nothing" or "having no talent," which you and I both know isn't true. I have rearranged my social calendar around your televised weddings on more than one occasion, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. And after reading your essay on KimKardashianWest.com, this is the first time you and I have disagreed.
In your post, you said that you're not so much into the "feminist" label because you're not into using labels at all, and I get that. After all, we're all just people, right? You wrote:
I feel that being grouped or labeled can create separation between people who do (or don't) fall into certain categories, when they may actually share many of the same beliefs and goals. It's not about he, she, gay, straight, black, white. The fight for equality is about ALL human beings being treated equally—regardless of gender, sexuality or ethnicity.
Here's the thing, though: We need the label "feminist" because it's so much more than that, but it all starts with the name. So many people hear that word and think negative things for ridiculous reasons, so if you believe men and women should be equal, the label becomes necessary to help change their minds so they'll join the fight. There are so many types of equality that need to be achieved in our world, and feminism is just one part of it. And even though that word can be polarizing, if there's someone who doesn't believe in equality for all people like I do, then please separate that person from those of us who are fighting for it.
But calling yourself a feminist is different than saying you're a democrat or republican; it just is. There are things that women have had to fight for that came as a right to men, like the right to vote. That is still a relatively new thing for us, you know. And it wouldn't be possible if not for women who weren't afraid of a label.
It's not easy being an out and proud feminist. People — sometimes people you're close to — will make fun of you. Because what's easier to mock than someone who knows what they stand for, right? And even though you understand it, so many other people just don't get that what we're searching for here is equality, case closed, full stop. But when a celebrity like you stands up and says she's a feminist, people listen, and they begin to understand. And maybe, just maybe, if you were willing to identify as a feminist, other women would realize that they believe in the same kind of equality that you and I do. Maybe the girls who look up to you would be able to find strength in that title.
You have a daughter, a gorgeous little girl who's lucky to have such a strong woman as her mother. Don't you want her to feel empowered to take over the world like you have done? Isn't it important that no matter what job she chooses — and let's face it, she's going to do something cool — she gets paid the same as her male coworkers do? That all starts with feminism, by name. Labels do suck, but sometimes, it's the only way to get this stuff done. It's not even the label that matters; it's the movement. And you being a part of that movement could mean a lot to so many people who need you to use the incredible gift of power that you have to make the rest of us heard.
And if you're still lost, just call up Beyoncé. I know she has my back on this.
Since you admitted in your essay that you do agree with what feminists stand for, I would really appreciate it if you'd consider that label one more time. I get that it's a person choice, and you're right. But changing your mind on this personal choice could also change the world — not just for us, but for all the little girls who deserve to walk a more evenly paved road in the future.
P.S. For the record, I was totally on your side when you lost that earring in the ocean. Can't you just do this one thing for me?
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