How Comparing Qandeel Baloch to Kim Kardashian West Exposed a Crisis of Feminism in Pakistan

Hamna Zubair in Vogue:

ScreenHunter_2135 Aug. 03 06.25“Pakistan’s Kim Kardashian Murdered by Brother,” screamed headlines a few short hours after news broke that Pakistani social media sensation Qandeel Baloch had been killed on July 15 in her home by her brother, in what authorities have deemed a case of honor killing.

In their scramble to locate Baloch in contemporary discourse on Internet celebrities and women’s empowerment, newspapers in Pakistan and abroad latched onto the nearest comparison that came to mind: Kim Kardashian West. On the surface of it, the comparison seemed apt. Both Kardashian West and Baloch adopted highly sexualized personas on social media. Was it such a stretch to compare a West Coast fashionista who shot to stardom via a sex tape to a Pakistani woman who shook up society with daring selfies?

To many, it was. “She wasn’t rich. She was a working-class woman. Let’s not [compare] her to Kim Kardashian,” said a Pakistani journalist of Baloch soon after these headlines appeared.

And just like that, the floodgates opened for a larger debate about Baloch, one that called into question her feminist credentials. And though comparing Baloch to Kardashian West might in fact be unfair, the debate her persona stirred up is familiar, resembling heated discussions on Kardashian West’s nude selfies—which have everyone from Emily Ratajkowski to Chloë Grace Moretz taking sides—and calling her female empowerment “watered-down feminism.”

More here. [Thanks to Batool Raza.]