The first time I watched Kanye West’s “Bound 2” music video, I was shocked, confused, appalled, you name it. For those of you who haven’t watched the video, it consists of Kanye West riding a motorcycle with his topless fiancé Kim Kardashian straddling and caressing him. While watching the video, questions were franticly running through my mind. “Why did he make this video? What do the almost-sex scenes mean? Why is Kim so naked?”
In an interview with Power 105‘s The Breakfast Club, Kanye explained that his video is a piece of satire. It is meant to expose the artificiality of America. “[Kanye] wanted to take white trash t-shirts and make it into a video [and] wanted it to look as phony as possible”. If that’s the case, then at its best, Kim’s risqué performance is meant to criticize one of the most artificial things of all: America’s sexualization of women, especially in popular culture.
With this in mind, my next question is, is it okay to objectify women if the objectification is done as a satirization of itself? I don’t think so. At least, not the way Kanye went about it. In his music video, Kim’s sole role is to be looked at in a sexual manner. Kim is being sexualized from the way her topless body is sprawled out on the motorcycle to the way her breasts are revealed as she embraces and kisses Kanye. As often happens to women when they are objectified, Kim is degraded to being nothing more than her physical appearance.
A woman shouldn’t have to objectify herself in order to make a statement. If that were the case, then a woman’s value would really only be in her body. There is a way to empower women without having to simultaneously disempower them, and Kanye West’s “Bound 2” video isn’t it.