I caught myself staring at a naked picture of Kim Kardashian. Ok, maybe hard to avoid but, even worse, I got tangled into reading celebrities’ and commoners’ tweets in response to the picture (that old fox of Bette Midler was the funniest: “Kim Kardashian tweeted a nude selfie today. If Kim wants us to see a part of her we’ve never seen, she’s gonna have to swallow the camera).
Kim, who can’t take a joke – or two – proceeded to fight back and there I was, sopping it all up. But, before I gave in to my basest instincts, I took a moment to study Kim’s naked body, a year old bathroom selfie, maybe released to fill a slow publicity week: it is an extremely personal ideal of beauty, achieved thanks to money and more than one cosmetic surgeon.
Not that I am surprised. Wasn’t it Pamela Anderson who moved this trend out of the porn industry into the mainstream, back in the 1980s? A pretty girl hailing from Canada remade herself into a bikini sex-symbol, cashing in under the pretense of acting.
My point is not to criticize women who, of their own free will, monetize their attributes, fake or otherwise; nor to condemn cosmetic surgery. Live and let live right? If one body part erodes your self-esteem, why not change it? But, looking at Kim Kardashian’s unnatural physique, I thought we might be standing at a cultural and ethical crossroad.
With the recent and galloping advances in the genetic field, parents can already choose the sex of their unborn, as well as eye color and height. Techniques that were pioneered to remove or tinker with faulty genes that lead to terrible diseases, can be applied to alter physical traits too. Given the chance, what parent wouldn’t want their offsprings to be the smartest, healthiest…and prettiest?
Will we end up a society of homologated and similar-looking humans, with straight noses, long legs and perfect teeth? Or will this culture of reality tv and instant stardom spawning a desire to look like someone else, someone famous finally implode, paving the way for a return to nature doing its work?