Kim Kardashian's 'Skims Nipple Push-Up Bra': Empowerment or Objectification?
I have been debating for a few days whether to write a blog post on this controversial campaign by Kim Kardashian's company, Skims. Being a proud feminist, I went on quite the emotional rollercoaster in the first 10 minutes of seeing her launch campaign. Which side of the argument did I land on in the end? Well, read on.
And if you're not quite sure what I'm referring to, let me fill you in.
A Quick Background
Photo Credit: Kim Kardashian - X
Kim Kardashian is a well-known American celebrity, socialite, and businesswoman. She gained fame primarily through her reality TV series "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," which followed the lives of the Kardashian-Jenner family.
She is also a successful entrepreneur, with various business ventures, including her own fashion and beauty brands. She is known for her strong presence on social media and her influence on fashion and beauty trends. While she has faced both admiration and criticism, she has become a prominent figure in popular culture.
The Nipple Push-Up Bra
Photo Credit: Skims
Her company, Skims, announced in late October that they will be releasing a bra that has built-in artificial nipples, that purposefully protrude through you tight top when worn.
Now, being a founder of a sports bra company and often having conversations with others about the incorporating of padding into such garments to purposefully hide the appearance of nipples, I was naturally intrigued.
My First Thoughts
Initially I was amazed that she felt there was a need for the product in the market. Especially since considering I have never, not once, had a conversation with someone where they have requested more nipple display. I've never heard of anyone being self-conscious that their nipples don't show enough. My more common discussions are around how annoying removable pads are in bras! Which I wholeheartedly agree with and it's why we never include any in MAAREE Sports Bras. I could go on about pads, but that's a discussion for another day.
However, with Kim K being such a big influence and Skims now such a successful brand, I quickly realised that of course this doesn't really matter to her. She is the trend-setter and people look to her for the next thing in fashion. So this feeling quickly dissolved.
However, my thoughts on nipple visibility continued to conflict
Why do I so often get requests from women around padding? Although it's something that's occasionally crossed my mind when getting dressed or after catching a glimpse of myself in a mirror, I can't say it's ever been on the front of my mind, or when I shop for a bra. But why not? And why is it on the forefront of other people's minds?
Photo Credit: BCAM - The Fragrance Shop
Why do we feel the need to hide our nipples? It's literally one of the things that men and women both have on their bodies. The vast majority of the population have them or have had them. Why are they such a secret?
Women's nipples serve a bigger purpose
Our nipples literally feed the young if and when it gets to that stage of our lives. Yet women's nipple are the ones sexualised and that apparently need hiding and restrictions put upon them. Why? Waw, okay another topic I could really go into in much more depth as I can feel it making me angry. Again, I'll dig deeper in a future post.
Potential for 'Free the Nipple'?
So there's a part of me that thought that does this product have the potential to assisting women to being able to 'free the nipple' just that little bit more. That could be a really exciting and liberating prospect and a positive step forward for women.
However, we must remember that this nipple effect is still artificial. It provides you with the ability to have consistently uniform, level, perfectly-placed nipples at all time. Which, of course, is not realistic. Yet could be a wonderful relief for those possibly without them.
Nevertheless, on the surface of it, we yet again appear to be facing the ever-present unrealistic beauty standards, the pressure to perfect yet another new part of our bodies and the possible further sexualisation by further pleasing the male gaze.
The Launch Video
If you haven't yet seen the viral launch video for this bra, in my opinion, the product isn't being obviously marketed from a particularly feminist angle. It's certainly leaning, quite heavily, towards a more sexual one. Not that women should suppress or ignore their sexual side, you could argue.
However, the more confusing messaging in this video is actually the frequent references to the global climate crisis, coming across as very tasteless humour, or even offensive. Especially since they are also donating to One Percent for the Planet. So the whole thing left me confused, to say the least. Mid-way through watching it for the first time, I'm not proud to say that genuinely checked the date to check it wasn't April Fool's Day.
What Did Anger Me
Strangely enough, the thing that did not divide my own opinion and made me firmly angry was the statement of what size Kim K was wearing in the video. Which was claimed as a 34C. I can confidently say that this is not her correct size. Not only from a quick visual scan but by the way the bra fits her in the video.
If you want to know how to find your bra size, please head to our helpful guide.
The fact that the biggest influencer in the world and the owner of an underwear brand is wearing such an incorrect size is alarming and disappointing. It's been proven that over 80% of women wear the wrong size bra and, for a reason I cannot think of, she also hasn't been sized or fitted correctly.
I have never personally worn or tried a garment from Skims, so this is as far as my knowledge goes at this point. I cannot comment any further on their sizing or how they fit.
So this is the conclusion I have currently reached. I don't have my feet firmly in one camp. As most things are in life, it's not black and white for me, there are shades of grey.
It has the potential opportunity for progressive changes, I suppose. However, I'm fairly certain that they won't be realised. Being a founder myself, albeit on an incredibly insignificant scale in comparison, I love that more innovation and attention is coming to women's undergarments and that the norms are been challenged. It could open up the possibility for someone else to take it into more positive, less sexual arena.
Do I feel like the new Nipple Push-up Bra will be worn by feminists who are looking to advocates for women's rights? or will her products be bought by the millions of avid watchers of 'Keeping up with the Kardashians' who just want to emulate her? I have a feeling it will likely be the latter.
What are your thoughts?