Culture Vultures: Kim Kardashian’s #BreakTheInternet Photographer Evokes Black Images For Paper Mag Spread

- By Bossip Staff
1 of 5

Kim’s latest pics aren’t even original!

Kim Kardashian’s Paper Mag Photographer Evokes Black Images For Spread

Social media has been flooded with images of Paper Magazine’s Winter 2014 cover featuring Kim Kardashian’s glistening posterior. The response was both explosive and polarizing. Some rolled their eyes and complained “I’m so tired of seeing her naked.

Via The Grio reports:

Regardless of how you felt about the spread or the Kardashians in general, one thing was very clear: Paper Magazine set out to break the internet, a fact they proudly declared from the jump. And they may have very well succeeded, but at what cost?

First off, those of you declaring that these pictures are “history-making” need to chill out. There is nothing new or even original about this spread. Renowned French photographer Jean-Paul Goude just dug into his archives, pulled out some of his old favorites and recreated them with reality TV’s reigning It Girl.

That’s it.

At best, these pictures are recycled art, and at worst, they are lazy sensationalism — but innovative they are not.

On the flip side – those of you saying that Kim Kardashian needs to put on some clothes simply because she is a mother also need to sip a big champagne glass of “Girl, Bye!” Because this antiquated idea that mothers are not allowed to celebrate their sexuality is ridiculous and naive. How exactly do you think women become mothers? Immaculate conception? I’ve never been a fan of policing other women’s bodies, and I’m not about to start now. Ya’ll can have that.

So last night while everyone else was arguing over Kim’s K’s right to show her butt, my focus was on something else entirely. When I looked at the spread all I saw was a not so subtle reincarnation of Saartjie Baartman – imagery that is steeped in centuries of racism, oppression and misogyny. For those who don’t know who she is, here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:

Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman (before 1790 – 29 December 1815 (also spelled Bartman, Bartmann, Baartmen) was the most famous of at least two Khoikhoi women who were exhibited as freak show attractions in 19th-century Europe under the name Hottentot Venus—”Hottentot” as the then-current name for the Khoi people, now considered an offensive term, and “Venus” in reference to the Roman goddess of love.

Saartjie was a woman whose large buttocks brought her questionable fame and caused her to spend much of her life being poked and prodded as a sexual object in a freak show.

Sound familiar?

But something tells me Kim probably has no clue about the cultural and historic significance of what she’s done. Instead, she probably just thought it would be cool to do an edgy photo shoot with famous photographer. And many of you have fallen for that oversimplified stance as well.

I’m the first to admit that some of the work that Jean-Paul Goude has done over the past 30 years has become iconic, particularly his work with his (then-girlfriend) Grace Jones. But the one he chose to recreate for Paper Magazine is problematic for several reasons.

The original shot is of a black woman standing in front of a blue wall while she pops champagne into a glass placed on her rear end. And it’s from a book entitled: Jungle Fever.

Well, look at that! Kim’s photographer uses images from the archives where he used Black women as his models and just evoked those themes with White models. Can you say cultural appropriation??

Check out the trailer for “Bleaching Black Culture,” which is available on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon. Tell us what you think…

More Stories From Bossip

Comments

Bossip Comment Policy
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.