Khloe Kardashian wore a short leather skirt to the finale of The X-Factor last night and told US Weekly: ”If you’ve got it, flaunt it, and that’s why I’m in a little whore of a skirt today!” Ugh. We’re glad you feel good about your body, Khloe, but your unnecessary use of the word whore is not-so-good. Not so good at all.
I get what Khloe was trying to say: that she felt sexy in a sexy short skirt. And I’m sure this was an offhand comment, not something she thought would get dissected by a blogger. BUT. As a feminist who is committed to analyzing and discussing the way women are represented in the popular media, I felt like this was worth commenting on.
Because words have real, serious impact. You may not think anything of her saying her skirt was a “whore” but there’s someone out there who, hearing this use of the word, will think (or continue to think) it’s an ok word to use. Derogatory, defamatory words like whore (and slut and bitch and other words) contribute to the oppressive and misogynistic world we live in, no matter the context in which the words was used or the intended meaning of the speaker (or writer, for that matter).
Clearly, Khloe meant this in a humorous way, and I’m sure people could argue that her using the word in a positive/funny way is a reclamation. Khloe’s use of whore to describe a skirt certainly isn’t a reclamation in the way that women have tried to reclaim “bitch” or in the way that SlutWalks critique the use of the word “slut” in relation to rape apologia.
Khloe was discussing her outfit, but she was also discussing her body:
“My weight has always fluctuated. but no matter what size I am, I have pretty good legs,” she boasted. “Thank the lord because I’m like, if I’m fat today, I can put a shift dress on and show these babies off!”
She’s been open about her weight struggles and her struggles with body confidence as well, something I definitely appreciate and think is important for public figures (I hesitate to say “celebrity” in her case) to do. But using the word whore, one with persistent negative connotations about women, women’s lives and women’s bodies, certainly isn’t the best way to promote body confidence. It only reinforces negative perceptions about women, their bodies, and what they do with them.
I’m not a fan of any of the Kardashians, but if I had to pick one as a favorite, I’d choose Khloe. I like her candor and the fact that she just seems more “real” and down-to-earth than the other plasticized, glamorized, publicity hungry members of her family. And let’s be real: it’s not like I expect ANY Kardashian to be a careful cultural critic, worried about how they or their actions will be perceived by the public. Khloe looks great and I’m glad that she feels great. But I’m still proud to be the nitpicky, oversensitive feminist who calls her out for saying she’s wearing a “little whore” of a skirt.
Photo: Nikki Nelson/WENN.com