24 Hours Later: Did Kim Kardashian Break the Internet?
This week, Kim Kardashian brought a very important issue to light: millions of people have never seen a butt. A butt so impressive in size, it’s considered its owners best asset.
I mean, that’s the only logical reason as to why everybody’s been so up in arms about Kim Kardashian’s. Forget Kate Winslet’s 2012 nude shoot for Vogue, the 2006 Vanity Fair cover that saw Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley nude alongside a clothed Tom Ford, and every Sports Illustrated Cover ever—this week, via Paper Magazine, Kim Kardashian was the first person in the world to show strangers her butt.
Understandably, Kardashian and Paper predicated a backlash. Across the entrepreneur’s derriere was the simple line: “Break the Internet.” And she did – right?
Well, that’s what we’re going to find out. We didn’t see too many think pieces, and there was certainly a lack of controversy and outrage compared to Kardashian’s divorce from 72-day husband Kris Humphries back in 2011, but there were still a lot of . . . responses. Here are some of the biggest that came out over the last 24 hours (which we consider the perfect amount of time to determine whether or not a celebrity or not has indeed broken anything). Let’s break them down.
1. Reaction: Complete indifference
Last night, Twitter lit up and exploded over the image of Kim Kardashian’s very shiny behind (and yes: I will stand by my Christmas card joke until the day I die), but outside of Twitter, there was an explosion of . . . well, indifference. Vanity Fair reported the facts, E! gave us some behind-the-scenes material, and even Perez Hilton just kept it simple. In the words of Huffington Post, “All we can say is…WOW.”
Yeah, them, and everybody else, it seems. Does efficient and sensationalist-free news reporting break the Internet?
Internet broken? No. (Not even the Daily Mail really reacted.)
2. Reaction: Twitter commentary
Okay, now we’re talking. Considering Kardashian and Paper’s M.O. was to break the very entity that allows you to read this piece, you should hope to whatever higher power you believe in that Twitter (the Internet’s life partner) gives a shit. Surprise! It did. As “Kim Kardashian” continues to trend, the cover became fodder last night for anyone with an account and knowledge of computer keypads. Sites like People and Time used Twitter to gauge Kardashian’s impact, while the Daily Mail embraced the Naya Rivera angle that saw the Glee actress blast in 140 characters with the phrase, “You’re someone’s mother.”
There isn’t a big enough hand job gesture in the world. (FYI: Moms have butts.) But hey: this is the kind of Internet-breaking we’re looking for. So…
Internet broken? Yes.
3. Reaction: Memes
You’re nothing if nobody loves making a meme about you. And according to the Photoshopping and use of the Emoji peach, Kim is officially something. Since late Tuesday night, every item in the world has now appeared as part of Kim Kardashian’s derriere. The Cut covered this, while Buzzfeed played the comparison game. Strutting Leo has nothing on this.
Internet broken? Yes.
4. Reaction: Misc. comedy
Internet broken? Yes.
Consensus: Kim Kardashian’s butt broke the Internet. But (ah, damn it) that’s it.
Blame it on how enamored with the cover everybody was, but the focus wasn’t on Kardashian’s interview, the behind-the-scenes footage, or the fact that Kim was photographed totally nude in the actual magazine—the focus was on her backside. And that being said, a lot of us saw Kardashian’s magazine cover for what it was: a magazine cover. Considering we see more skin in rap videos, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, and on a walk home from a bar, gazing upon a grown-ass woman’s ass shouldn’t break the Internet in terms of anything other than allowing us to quote Sir-Mix-A-Lot. It’s not really a big deal.
But again, it was her butt – Kim Kardashian’s butt. Which, arguably, does prove an important point: sometimes we care a lot about Kim Kardashian. Considering how abundant nudity is in TV and movies, it takes a lot to shake us from being desensitized willing participants in an objectifying culture so we can notice a woman not wearing clothes. Which is why our lack of commentary on the photographs inside the piece is puzzling.
Our choice to focus on the obvious image—the cover we were spoon-fed—proves a point: we care about the quick joke and the snap judgments, but we don’t care as much about the person they’re about. If we did care, we’d be quoting Kardashian’s interview the way we did Kanye West’s earlier this year (when he called himself a blowfish), and there would certainly be more of a buzz about KK’s nude photo inside. Unless, within a 24-hour period, everybody finally realized that a grown person consenting to a tastefully done photo shoot isn’t really worthy of controversy. (She’s 34 years old, so look: if she wants to pose nude in a magazine, we don’t get a say.)
But we know that isn’t the case.
We’re a culture of cheap laughs and memes and a 24-hour turnaround. (See: “How Many Cooks” and how you will now be left in a desert if you start singing the theme song around people with ears.) (Minus me – always sing it around me.) We’re obviously not totally a culture of leisure; of taking time to do more than just click and comment on a photo of a butt.
So no, Kim Kardashian didn’t break the Internet. Her butt did. Or, a cover of a magazine on which her butt appears did. And that’s a bummer: the interview revealed the narrative of a very focused, smart, and self-aware person, paired alongside very artistically done nudes. The Internet deserved to be broken – the interview (and Kim) deserves to be more than joke fodder.