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11.13.14 5:46 AM ET

A Respectable, Non-Exploitative Story About Kim Kardashian’s Bare-Naked, Greased-Up Ass

A guide to black exploitation, poems about slut-shaming, and full-frontal photos.

Tuesday night, Paper Magazine teamed up with Kim Kardashian’s butt in an attempt to “break the Internet.” The resulting cover shot, which looks like a NSFW Pam commercial gone horribly right, sought to succeed where the Red Wedding, Alex from Target, and whatever adorable kitten piece Buzzfeed is currently peddling failed. And while the Internet is still (as of publication) working, there’s no doubt that the World Wide Web will never be quite the same.

Of course, the boastful baring of the world’s most famous backside naturally elicited a backlash—and the subsequent release of full-frontal stills from the same photoshoot certainly didn’t help matters. It now appears that we have an all out Internet scandal on our hands; cue the think pieces, the thoughtless declarations, the bloodthirsty tweets, the blood sucking trolls, and the increasingly panicked and confused emails from your grandmother.

Luckily, we’re here to help you out with an extensive guide to living in this brave new, post butt pic world. We’ve surveyed the issue from every angle so you don’t have to—and if that came out sounding way pervier than intended, why don’t you try writing a respectable, non-exploitative article all about a famous woman’s bare-naked, greased-up ass?

The Race Factor:

Kim Kardashian may have “never really gave racism or discrimination a lot of thought” before giving birth to her daughter North, but that doesn’t mean that her public image isn’t intrinsically tied up in issues of racism and racialized fetishization. In fact, while Kim was busy breaking the Internet on Tuesday, her sister Khloe was using it to Instagram a meme of the three Kardashian sisters, captioned “The only KKK to ever let black men in.” Khloe’s questionable Instagram certainly strikes a discordant note, especially in light of the history of black exploitation that Kim’s Paper shoot blatantly feeds into.

While the shot of Kim’s derriere is already being called iconic, it’s actually just recycled iconography: in this case, a throwback to a previous work by the same photographer, Jean-Paul Goude. Goude is a renowned artist, whose photographs of then-girlfriend Grace Jones in the ‘70s and ‘80s catapulted him to legend status. He’s also a man who’s self-diagnosed himself with “jungle fever”; in a 1979 People Magazine interview, Goude insisted that, “Blacks are the premise of my work.”

This obsession (read: creepy, offensive, over-sexualizing fetish) is clearly evident in 1976’s “Carolina Beaumont,” the photo that Goude recreated for the safe for work version of the Kim Kardashian cover. The 1976 piece, which features a smiling, naked black woman with a highly exaggerated form (yes, the Kim shoot is not Goude’s first foray into the magical world of Photoshop), elicits an immediate and visceral sense of shock and repulsion. The image blatantly and gleefully trades in the stereotypes of the sexually available exotic woman, providing a near-pornographic high for the implicit white male gaze (subtweet @ Jean-Paul Goude).

Any thorough dissection of the new Kim Kardashian cover ought to take into account the insertion of Kardashian, an Armenian-American woman who has managed to commoditize her own sex-symbol status, into the imagined role of the compliant, comically exaggerated, sexually servile other.

Paper Magazine

Butt stuff:

One of the more infuriating responses to this photo shoot has been to read it as further evidence that 2014 is the year of the butt. The natural counterargument to this declaration is, naturally, that the butt has always been around, and large butts in particular have always been sexy and awesome—it’s just taken a couple of centuries and a lot of Jennifer Lopez for the white-washed, #thinspo loving standard of beauty to finally come to its senses and recognize the ass as an asset. Still, like cultural appropriation and loving Conan O’Brien, declaring 2014 the peak of the “booty movement” is now official a white national pastime. Discuss!

Gender:

In a patriarchal society—our society—a naked woman is a dangerous thing. The only thing stronger than our nation’s demand for naked female bodies is our critical, superior attitude towards the very ladies who dare to bare it all. Naturally Kim Kardashian, who has always been criticized and mocked for her sexual availability (because the right response when a woman’s boyfriend leaks a sex tape of her is always, always, to publicly label her as a whore), is getting a considerable amount of flack for her most recent explicit exploit. Glee actress Naya Rivera allegedly commented on Kardashian’s Instagram of the cover, “I normally don’t…but you’re someone’s mother.” Because we all know that mothers aren’t sexual creatures; obviously, all babies are conceived through two storks hugging each other really hard.

Now if you’re really jonesing to blow away your pals with a feminist angle on the Kim K scandal, look no further than this poem that’s been making the Interweb rounds. We’re not quite sure what it means, but it’s definitely about slut shaming, the commodification of the female form, and the uninhabitable position of being a sexually autonomous woman, as opposed to merely a sexualized one. It also features full tweets in addition to the lines “If only all of us stood in our Louboutin heels / on the backs of the men who betray us, /surveying the world we created for ourselves.” So while Kim Kardashian might have broken the Internet, I think she’s permanently fixed poetry for the better.

Chelsea Handler:

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While you will still trying to explain to your grandmother that North West is more than just the product of the union between two cardinal directions, Chelsea Handler had already conjured up a unique response to Paper-gate. The comedian, who isn’t quiet about her Kardashian kontempt, posted her own mooning moment to Instagram side by side with Kim’s on Wednesday morning, captioned “Can you believe more than 2 ass can fit on the same screen guess which one’s real. Your move, Instagram.” Surprisingly enough, this isn’t Handler’s first risqué pic stitch—but for whatever reason, her previous poke at Vladimir Putin garnered far less publicity. 

Epilogue:

Whatever you think about these Paper pictures, it’s clear that Kim Kardashian has once again come out on top. Even if you’re calling her a shameless, untalented, skanky C-lister, you’re still fueling the celebrity that’s made Kim richer (and arguably more famous) than God. So relish that sense of superiority you get when you blast Kardashian’s latest exploit as a transparent, attention-grabbing ploy—Kim Kardashian doesn’t even know your name.