The Kardashian klan have been on a mission to break the internet pretty much since social media began. If they aren't finding new and innovative ways to be naked, they're starting high-profile Twitter spats. Whether this is because they are naturally contrary or simply great at PR is a matter of opinion.

The latest saga involves Kim posting a recording on Snapchat of Taylor Swift allegedly consenting to the inclusion of derogatory lyrics about her in Kanye's track Famous.

Except, according to Taylor, he only told her half of the lyric, omitting to mention the part where he calls her a 'bitch' and takes responsibility for catapulting her to fame.

Parking any considerations about invasion of privacy for a moment, Kanye appears to have taken the tack we used when we were kids, by trying to fool our parents into letting us do something that was forbidden, i.e. omitting the information we knew would get us into trouble.

Cue much social media discussion, dissection and outrage until 19-year-old actress Chloe Grace Moretz waded into the fray and told everyone to...calm down a bit.

In an increasingly rabid, racist, economically troubled, nuclear weapon-debating, Brexiting, Trump-supporting global climate, Chloe had a valid point (although not one I'd necessarily subscribe wholesale to. But more on that later).

Enter Khloe Kardashian, stage left, who leaped to the defence of the perceived slight on her sister by posting a picture of Chloe in a red bikini, next to a picture of another, very similar looking woman, also in a red bikini, having her nether regions exposed by the man she is embracing. "Is this the hole you're referring to?' she quipped, tagging Chloe.

That Chloe, like every human being, has an anus does not invalidate her ability to engage in cultural and political debate.

Actress Chloe Grace Moretz
Actress Chloe Grace MoretzGetty Images

There are many points which have and should be made here, namely about the right to privacy/consent of the anonymous girl whose wardrobe malfunction has just been exposed to the internet-using universe, not to mention the attempt to win an argument through body shaming (something Khloe claims to vehemently oppose in numerous press interviews).

Yet what struck me most was the irony that a Kardashian was attempting to perpetrate a long-standing toxic narrative involving women being naked underneath their clothes and therefore not entitled to an opinion. That Chloe, like every human being, has an anus does not invalidate her ability to engage in cultural and political debate.

Kim Kardashian, who history is likely to remember as the inventor of the naked selfie, has regularly made the connection between nudity and empowerment. Kim enjoys a huge number of supporters for her outlook, perhaps most surprisingly Harriet Harman (long-time proponent of the No More Page Three campaign) who recently claimed Kim's nude selfies are 'brave' and 'pioneering', and therefore representative of something altogether more positive and feminist.

Which brings me back to Chloe's point: a couple of musicians quibbling over lyrics might not seem like the biggest concern society has at the moment. However, there are bigger issues at play in the Swift/West dispute. These tune into the widespread use of misogynist language in popular rap, and the constant attempts by industry to demean empowered and successful women in ways which seemingly don't apply to men.

More than that, it represents how binary social media makes things. The public still do not, I believe, know the full story. Each camp has chosen to divulge carefully selected snippets and Twitterers and Snapchatters have been quick to pick a camp and snarl at one another from opposite sides of the No-Man's land known as 'nuance'.

This is so often the case, not just with celebrity stories. And it's this type of binary thinking that puts women into boxes – boxes in which they are either capable of having an informed opinion, or being seen naked publicly; and never the twain shall meet. While fans of Khloe might have thought her repost witty, it was in reality a Pyrrhic victory.


Natasha Devon MBE is a writer and campaigner. She is founder of the multi award-winning Self Esteem Team and creator of the Body Gossip Education Programme, working in schools to help teenagers, their parents and teachers with mental health and body image issues.