It is almost as popular to hate Kim Kardashian West as it to love her (and her show "Keeping Up with the Kardashians"). But, as Tyrese sang on Chingy’s hit single “Pullin’ Me Back,” when it comes to Kim, “Every time I try to leave something keeps pullin' me back, me back.”
Episode five, aptly titled “Have You Met Kim?,” of this latest season is a case in point. Kim — a character in her own televised life — is overwhelmed as she gears up for both the birth of her fourth child (via surrogacy) and her appearance at the Met Gala, which happened last May. The former was obviously more important on a deeper level, but the latter required wearing a very intimidating-looking corset that she can’t even urinate in and which required breathing lessons, so that captivated me more in terms of story, obviously. (I’ve eaten kale and air for the sake of fitting into some J. Crew tuxedo pants that I didn’t have time to get let out, so while it’s no Thierry Mugler-designed gown to stunt with Anna Wintour, I related.)
At her final fitting, trying on the corset was her moment! Unfortunately, her husband, Kanye West, ruined that moment and started to ramble about how her corset — the one she had to learn how to breathe in! — made him feel as a man. (This from the man who brag-rapped on "Clique" "My girl a superstar all from a home movie.")
After years of rapping about and generally commenting on how important it was that his wife’s body was sexy, it seemed that Kanye suddenly had an issue with Kim showing it off because it was affecting his “spirit” and “soul.”
Let him tell it, "The corset, underwear, all of that vibe, I just feel like I went through this transition from being a rapper, looking at all these girls, and then looking at my wife like, 'Oh, my girl needs to be just like these other girls, showing her body off, showing this, showing that.'"
Before you scream in both irony and agony related to male entitlement, he kept going: "I didn't realize that that was affecting my soul and my spirit as someone that's married and loved, the father of what's about to be four kids. A corset is a form of underwear. It's hot. It's like, it's hot for who though?"
Kanye, infamously, took over Kim's closet after they started dating, encouraging her to embrace minimalism, his fashion line and his favored designers and has even gone so far as to recommend various hair colors over the years. Now he takes issue with the image he had a hand in crafting.
In response to his newly puritanical wardrobe concerns, Kim — who, by the way, had been planning this look for nearly a year — told her husband that his negativity was worsening her anxiety over the Met Gala. “The night before the Met, you're gonna come in here and say that you're not into a corset vibe? You're giving me really bad anxiety — what are you talking about?"
Kim went on to remind her husband that, as we’ve seen in past seasons of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians," “You built me up to be this sexy person and have confidence and all this stuff, and just because you're on your journey and you're on a transformation, doesn't mean that I'm in the same spot with you."
"You are my wife, and it affects me when pictures are too sexy," Kanye said. It ended with Kanye storming off in a diva fit and Kim accurately observing “That’s absolutely ridiculous.”
And it is: Kim Kardashian West's brand and aesthetic is campy and sexy (like the Met Gala's 2019 theme), in part because Kanye encouraged that aesthetic; and trying to ruin her feelings about an outfit 24 hours before she was to appear wearing it because he didn't like the idea of other men seeing her in it is antediluvian.
But the scene did offer insight into Kanye’s purported turn as a born-again Christian, previewing the music everyone suspects will be on his forthcoming albums. We knew of his Sunday Service concert series, but it appears his ties to religion may have deepened further than previously known. Kanye's pastor, Adam Tyson, recently hinted at a new overall direction for the rapper — including Kanye forbidding the use of profanity in his presence.
"If somebody cusses in his presence, I've heard him say a couple of times, 'Hey, man, you can't cuss when you're with me. I'm a born-again Christian,'" Tyson revealed on the Pure Flix Podcast. "Who’s gonna say that if they’re not meaning that they want Christ to be exalted in all that they do? [He told me], 'From now on, all I want to do is serve Christ. I want every song that I sang, to have part of my testimony, to include the gospel, and to include the element of worship to our great God. That’s what I want to do.'"
One can’t help but assume Kanye’s recent on-air admonishment is tied to this new religious turn.
But a man who would make his wife’s red carpet moment about his feelings is not a secure or selfless man; he is an insecure man who probably has control issues. And as for the religious undertones likely fueling his newfound perspective, much like Kanye’s support of Trump, his ideology is fueled majorly by the pursuit of the perks that come courtesy of a specific strain of patriarchy rather than any real virtue.
It wasn’t lost on me, for instance, that when Kanye brought Sunday Service to the city of Atlanta, he did so at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. That church is led by Pastor Jamal Bryant, a notorious homophobe and sexist who has blasted “sanctified sissies” and quoted the Chris Brown lyric “These hoes ain’t loyal” in one of his sermons. Bryant replaced the late Bishop Eddie Long, another sexist homophobe who was also accused of sexually abusing young men and boys.
These men hold a perverse view of religion that allows them to weaponize it in order to subjugate those who don’t share the privileges of straight, cisgender malehood. Kanye can pretend that sexiness suddenly bothers him, but that’s not Jesus informing his thinking; it’s his pathetic notion that he should be able to control his wife.
Good on Kim for calling him on it and not allowing his temper tantrum to soil what she planned so long for.
Kanye can believe whatever he wants, but I speak for the people when I say that he needs to keep his new Gilead-like outlook on life away from Kim’s outfits. Not only did Kanye meet Kim uncovered, he went out of his way to flaunt her body and sexuality for the benefit of his career, as long as it benefited that stage of his career. Ultimately, that all was Kim’s choice; it's one she should get to keep making, if she wants.
And until Kim Kardashian West decides that she wants to dress like a nun on a future reboot of "Sister Act,", Kanye West should deal with his insecurities at his own fittings, not hers.