Gloria Steinem Defends Kim Kardashian

Schadnfreude

Gloria is a veteran of culture wars from Congress to the supermarket tabloid rack. Journalist, social critic and pioneer of the second wave of American feminism. For that matter, it’s kind of cool to see Gloria Steinem in US Magazine.

Sometimes help comes from the most unexpected of places. As Kim Kardashian fights back against critics who call her fat, stars including Gwyneth Paltrow, Helena Christensen, and Jenna Dewan-Tatum have rushed to her defense, saying it’s “despicable” to bully a pregnant woman for her weight. And now the reality star can add another name to her list of unlikely allies: Gloria Steinem.

Us Weekly caught up with the famed feminist on April 5 at the 4th Annual Diane Von Furstenberg Awards in New York City, where she voiced her opinion about the recent scrutiny over Kardashian’s ever-evolving curves, and about society’s attitude toward pregnant women in general.

“Our bodies are never public property under any circumstance,” the 79-year-old activist told Us. “It’s wrong, and people in the street who feel the right to touch a pregnant woman’s belly ought to be arrested for harassment. Our bodies belong to us, and if we don’t invite touching, we shouldn’t tolerate it.”

I’m younger than Gloria Steinem but not in the demographic that follows the Kardashians. They’re a huge family that is famous for being on TV, right? Like the Duggars? And the Osbournes? Or maybe the offspring of a Duggar and an Osbourne? It’s hard to keep them straight.

But even I notice when I go to the Stop and Shop that a pregnant woman is being held up to ridicule for looking pregnant. How dare she?

I remember growing up in the early sixties, when pregnant women were expected to be demure, mostly stay at home. If they had to go out, they wore concealing smocks. The details of their gestation were not expected to be shared with everyone they knew. I kind of miss that.

And the mean attack on Kim Kardashian seems to be aimed at all women, who always fail to be perfect, and are invited to throw stones at a celeb who turns out to be as human as them.

It’s no accident that you find the tabloids at the checkout counter in the supermarket where tired working women stand in line to haul groceries for their families. In a woman-hating world it’s a relief to see the bully beat on someone else, and a little shadenfreude thrown in when you get to take a celebrity down a peg or two. I used to buy the tabs to be ironic, but after the Jon Benet Ramsey case I stopped. Profiting off a dead child was too much for me. Now I just read them and put them back without paying. The pages look well-worn. I wonder if anyone actually buys them?

Thanks Gloria, for reminding me that that battle against prejudice is fought in the junk culture of the tabloids as well as in the universities. And more people see the tabs than go to Yale.

And more fascinating than anything the tabs ever published was Gloria Steinem’s guerrilla journalism that undressed Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Club– I was a Playboy Bunny.

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