The search for authenticity: Does it matter if Kim Kardashian’s butt is real or not?
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
― C.G. Jung
Lately there has been a lot of discussion in the media and popular culture circles as to whether Kim Kardashian’s butt is real. Chelsea Handler, a comedian, took on the debate by posting a photo of her own rear-end noting hers was real while Kim’s is not. Throughout all these comments and Instagram photos, there is the theme of authenticity. In the past I have noted it’s OK to be a phony as long as one is authentic. In this day in age, where people are getting plastic surgery so that their social media presence looks better (literally) do we have a true persona anymore? Celebrity magazines have included numerous photos of people looking at Kim Kardashian’s greatest asset. People are intrigued and wonder. Now, while we as a collective wonder about her authenticity do we question that of the people around us in day to day life? To what degree do those around hold true to their own self despite external pressures? I am going to tell you there are a lot of people who do not. The question is does that even matter anymore?
People everywhere are walking with masks on. Not only are people walking around with masks but they are multi-layered. We are one thing in the workplace and another on Facebook and another at home. We are one thing on twitter and another with our parents. In psychology, there is the idea that we do have a true self but we adjust those ourselves according to the situation. We are not just one personality trait, right? We are many things and we allow those certain parts to flourish depending on who is around and where we are at.
Right now in the news, there is the scandal surrounding Bill Cosby and the sexual assault allegations against him. Indeed, if true this is quite horrific. What also distresses many of the masses, is that he was Mr. Father. He was Bill Huxatable-the doctor with a loving family that got into goofy yet pithy (insightful) situations that provided the public with valuable life lessons. That was one of his masks. He was also the Bill Cosby that chastised his fellow Black community members and noted they should be more like him. Mr. Cosby, indeed has numerous, masks that he showed according to his audience –at times, quite literally –depending on whether it was a comedy venue, a television show or a party at the Playboy mansion. Notably, Cosby has been quoted as stating “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone”. It appears that such a statement on his part is quite disingenuous and indeed has come to catch up with and trip him up in the public sphere (and perhaps now legal). Those that worked with him on the set of his television show have come out to say this current public perception of Cosby is not the person that they knew. Now many are asking who the real Bill Cosby is. It seems to me these are all parts of the Bill Cosby persona. He showed different parts to different people.
Many people, in not such extreme or possibly illegal (harmful) ways, have different parts that we show to different people. When we see through the mask, at times, we feel grand disappointment. I went through that these past years with someone I used to admire. I caught that person in small lies that started building up. These lies slowly started unmasking who that person was. To the grand public, this person was a hero that spoke a big game. The unmasking showed a scared untrusting individual. I was disappointed by what I felt was now this person’s true self. I have come to realize, however, that this person’s true self is made up of all these masks. These layered masks are part of who that individual is.
The masks are part of the authenticity. When we are in a situation and trying to project a certain part of us, it does not take away from the other parts. How we layer defines us. It’s just like a summer in San Francisco. We layer our clothing in different ways to counter the surprising cold summer. How we layer says something about how we perceive the cold and thus the world.
Now, back to Kim Kardashian. Does it matter whether her assets are real or not? Does her emphasis on it not say something about her regardless of its authenticity? At the end of the day, Kim seems to follow the advice of Mandy Hale in the book The Single Woman “Dance as though everybody is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And stubbornly refuse to fit in.”
I recently read the Velveteen Rabbit to my son and it touched me greatly.
“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” The Velveteen Rabbit