The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences’ annual ceremony honoring excellent work on the internet has, fittingly, created an entirely new category for Kim Kardashian West.
This might seem like just a smart PR move to get the reality TV star to publicize the awards show to her combined audience of 116 million on Twitter and Instagram—but that’s also exactly the point. Kardashian has defined what it means to be a celebrity in the age of online oversharing. For that, the Webby Awards, as they’re known, honored her with the first ever ”Break the Internet Award.”
At the Webbys, acceptance speeches are limited to five words. Here were Kardashian’s:
“Nude selfies until I die.”
Kardashian made this promise, no doubt, to both her fans and her haters. In March, after she tweeted a nude selfie that attracted some criticism, she went after slut-shamers on Twitter, setting off a debate about whether her many naked pictures are empowering or exploitative. Of course, the answer is a deeply personal one, and one that depends on who’s in front of the camera.
Just yesterday (May 16), Mostafa Alizadeh, the spokesman for Iran’s Organized Cyberspace Crimes Unit, blamed Kim Kardashian for infiltrating the country’s internet culture as part of a “foreign operation” that promotes “un-Islamic acts” online. Iranian police arrested eight people as part of a crackdown on social media permissiveness, including models who posted photos of themselves on Instagram without headscarfs (though otherwise clothed).
It’s tough to say whether Kardashian was aware of the political implications of last night’s speech, but there’s no denying those nude selfies have power.
After her acceptance, she went straight to Cannes.