The release of the FX-Hulu documentary Framing Britney Spears, has prompted a collective reckoning on some of the damaging ways the public and media have treated women celebrities in the past.
This has prompted an outpouring of outrage and even some apologies; for Kim Kardashian, it has elicited some deep-seated empathy.
On her Instagram stories on March 5, Kardashian shared that she had watched the documentary and felt that she related to the experience of being the target of media misogyny. “The way the media played a big role in her life the way it did can be very traumatising and it can really break even the strongest person,” she wrote. “No matter how public someone’s life may seem, no one deserves to be treated with such cruelty or judgement for entertainment.”
Kardashian pointed to her own experience during first pregnancy with her daughter North West. She struggled with a pregnancy condition called preeclampsia, which causes body swelling and weight gain. Kardashian wrote that as a result of this condition she gained 60 pounds and delivered almost six weeks early.
“I cried every single day over what was happening to my body mainly from the pressure of being constantly compared to what society considered a healthy pregnant person should look like — as well as being compared to Shamu the Whale,” she continued. “Looking at all of the photos of myself online and in magazine made me so insecure and I had this fear of wondering if I would ever get my pre baby body back. I was shamed on a weekly basis with cover stories that made my insecurities so painful I couldn’t leave the house for months after. It really broke me.”
WHO COULD’VE SEEN THIS COMING: Kim Kardashian shares numerous tabloid covers body shaming her for being pregnant. Kim says “So I finally watched the Britney Spears documentary … and it made me feel a lot of empathy for her.” pic.twitter.com/XbyJbNzbZu
Kardashian then proceeded to share 19 screenshots of alleged tabloid covers, as well as Internet memes that mocked her weight gain during her pregnancy, despite being a time that “was supposed to be one of the happiest times in my life.”
One headline on a screenshot of an alleged cover of inTouch reads, “I’ll Never Be Sexy Again” with the caption “Kim sobs: even my armpits are fat!”; one from the National Enquirer reads, “Fat Kim’s Pregnancy: A Fake?” One meme compares Kardashian to Danny Devito’s Penguin character from Batman Returns.
The reason Kardashian posted the headlines, she claimed, was to shed a harsh light on the pervasive issue of sexism when it comes to talking about women in the public sphere, with the hope that the culture will try to change.
“I’m sharing this just to say I really hope everyone involved in the business of shaming and bullying someone to the point of breaking them down might reconsider and instead try to show some understanding and compassion,” she concluded. “You just never fully know what someone is going through behind the scenes and I’ve learned through my own experiences that it’s always better to lead with kindness.”