The rights and wrongs of Kim Kardashian’s Paper Magazine cover

Kim Kardashian Nude Paper Magazine Cover

Apparently Paper Magazine has broken the Internet. Putting aside my belief that it was already in a pretty bad way (hi Dapper Laughs!), I was nonetheless rather caught on the hop on Wednesday to find my feeds bumbarded by Kim Kardashian’s bare bottom splashed across the mag’s winter cover.

For anyone with an Internet connection and knows how to turn safe search off or has seen October’s issue of GQ, the sight of Kim’s behind will be far from unfamiliar, but for some reason Paper’s shoot has got a lot of people hot under the collar. A naked woman? On the cover of a magazine? Showing off the very asset she is most famous for and has profited hugely from? For shame! Obviously I’m being glib, but you can’t fault the size of Paper’s cojones with its bare-faced and really quite bare cover. Even if her hair is a bit dodgy and it has all the sexiness of John Major eating a tofu sandwich on a wet Wednesday in Rhyl, it’s bold, it’s of a very famous person who also happens to be naked and, for a moment at least, it severely clogged if not quite broke the Internet.

I’d rather see a brave cover such as this (or those of Colors of old for example) than another generally bland, generally mega-airbrushed, generally white actress with a movie to plug surrounded by equally prosaic coverlines. So if you’d asked me on Tuesday night my opinion of Paper, I’d likely have described the campaign and the way it was “leaked” as clever. It was a genuine moment: it was everywhere and it got everyone talking as much about the publication as the plump posterior. So far, so disruptive.

But then in one fell swoop they managed to bugger the whole thing up. While Interweb wags were frantically trying to come up with yet another Photoshop LOL, Paper were busy releasing more pics from the shoot. Sounds like a good idea right? Build on the momentum, continue the campaign. But then we saw the way the shoot developed: from the if-you-squint-a-bit kinda coquettish cover whereby Kim’s krack emerges from a draped dress, we proceeded to be privy to Saturday night Chez Kanye, as Ms Kardashian performs a rather awkward, rather clumsy and rather unsexy striptease which ends with her on plinth, exposed chest thrust out and her entire bare and naked form on show.

Twitter took a collective gasp and shook its head disapprovingly while the lurking lads scuttled off to their bedrooms, iPhones in hand. But I can’t figure why so many found the shots so shocking. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, after all, it was her sex tape that really brought her to prominence, so what gives?

More importantly (for the purposes of this piece anyway) what I also can’t understand is why shoot Kim like this? What promised to be a cheeky (sorry) cover that gave way to a no holds barred exposé only turned out to be a cheap and flimsy way to flog mags. Yes, print publishing is in a bit of a bad way and I’m sure Paper got a gazillion hits for Kim’s gluteus maximus, but having whipped everyone up into a frenzy with the cover, Paper missed a real opportunity to make a statement with the article itself. In allowing the “star” to get all her kit off, it instantly went from intriguing to obvious in the drop of a dress and a turn of a plinth. As is the way with the rapid fire nature of social media, the moment had passed, and was quickly replaced by rolled eyes, apathy, boredom.

If it was more discreet or even more artfully shot (I get the references but have you seen the state of the Colorama?), this wouldn’t have concluded quite so unsatisfactorily now the initial hoo-ha over her hoo hoo has died down. This might have seemed like a good idea on Paper, but the way the temporary titillation gave way to a tacky crudeness might end up doing the magazine more harm than good.

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