Girl power or publicity stunt?
Netizens and celebs divided over Kim Kardashian's latest nude selfie
For the umpteenth time, US reality TV star Kim Kardashian has decided against keeping her clothes on.
On Monday, she posted on Instagram a nude selfie that was reportedly taken around March last year, about the same time she became pregnant with her second child, Saint West.
In it, she bares it all. Well, nearly. She did use two black strips to cover her naughty bits.
It was accompanied by a cheeky caption: "When you're like I have nothing to wear LOL".
The photo, which has raked in 1.4 million likes, did not leave a lot to the imagination, but is not ground-breaking by Kardashian's standards.
Yet, somehow, her post has ignited a social media storm, with a string of celebrities chastising her for her actions.
In response to the backlash, the 35-year-old mother of two, who has 62.9 million followers on Instagram,defended herself in a lengthy note posted on her website yesterday.
Titled #StraightUp Happy International Women's Day, referring to the event that took place on Tuesday, she wrote: "In all seriousness, I never understand why people get so bothered by what other people choose to do with their lives.
"I don't do drugs, I hardly drink, I've never committed a crime - and yet I'm a bad role model for being proud of my body?
"I am empowered by my body. I am empowered by my sexuality. I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my skin.
"I am empowered by showing the world my flaws and not being afraid of what anyone is going to say about me.
"And I hope that through this platform I have been given, I can encourage the same empowerment for girls and women all over the world."
RISQUE: Kim Kardashian bares it all in the selfie, except for two strategically placed black strips, which we have made thicker in this picture. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/KIMKARDASHIAN
Kardashian then asked that critics allow her to be herself, writing: "It's 2016. The body-shaming and slut-shaming - it's like, enough is enough.
"I will not live my life dictated by the issues you have with my sexuality. You be you and let me be me."
Undaunted, she went on to post yet another nude photo of herself, this time with her hands protecting her modesty and with the caption "#liberated".
As netizens continue to take sides over this debacle, it raises the question of whether nude selfies are the right way to promote female empowerment.
Ms Jolene Tan, programmes and communications senior manager at the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware), told The New Paper: "We hope for a world in which society does not invest so much energy into judging or worrying about what individual women wear or don't wear, which is a matter for them to decide for themselves."
Local celebrities were divided over Kardashian's latest antics.
Actress Oon Shu An, 30, felt that how Kardashian uses and portrays her body is her prerogative.
She said: "At the end of the day, it's her body. Empowerment is a very personal thing and if that's what empowerment means to her, then that's her call.
"I think the naked body is beautiful but the question is - naked in what context? Some use nudity to glorify, others to objectify."
Singer Maia Lee, 33, felt that Kardashian's intention in posting the nude selfie is important.
The mother of three said: "If her aim was to draw attention towards her body and portray herself as a sex bomb, then I'm not for that.
"But if it's about feeling positive about your body, even after pregnancy, then that's cool with me.
"I'm on her side because she embraces her body and how she looks. Then again, it's easier when you're that hot."
But radio personality and host Jamie Yeo, 38, believes that Kardashian's photo is not all she makes it out to be.
Yeo, who has a five-year-old daughter, said: "She should just call her photo what it is - a publicity stunt.
"To call this female empowerment is wrong because she's been said to have had work done to her body, so it means she doesn't accept her body for what it is.
"Flaunt her body all she wants because I respect that's her way of making a living as a celebrity, but don't pass it off as a call for empowerment because it's not her original intention in the first place."
Yeo added: "I don't want to judge. I would never do a photo like that.
"But then again, someone would not have posed in a bikini like I have in the past. People have different standards. "
CHLOE GRACE MORETZ
On Twitter, the 19-year-old US actress addressed Kim Kardashian: "I truly hope you realize how important setting goals are for young women, teaching them we have so much more to offer than just our bodies."
The veteran actress and singer said in a tongue-in-cheek Twitter post: "Kim Kardashian tweeted a nude selfie today. If Kim wants us to see a part of her we've never seen, she's gonna have to swallow the camera."
Kardashian responded by jokingly asking her to "send nudes" even though "it's past (her) bedtime".
Midler, 70, hit back at her for being able to take a selfie but not a joke.
No names were mentioned, but it seemed like the 36-year-old US singer was throwing shade at Kardashian by posting a "shout-out" on Twitter to women who use their "brains, strength, work ethic, talent, 'magic' they were born with and only they possess" in light of International Women's Day.
"It may not ever bring you as much 'attention' or bank notes as using your body, your sex, your tits and asses but women like you don't need that kind of 'attention'. In the quiet moments, you will feel something deeper than the fleeting excitement resulting from the attention, you will feel something called pride and self-respect."
The caustic British TV personality tweeted: "I know the old man's (referring to Kardashian's US rapper-hubby, Kanye West) $50 million in debt, Kim - but this is absurd. Want me to buy you some clothes?"
In a scathing column for Daily Mail Online, Morgan, 50, also voiced his suspicion that Kardashian was trying hard to outdo her younger half-sisters, Kylie and Kendall Jenner, who have been "grabbing all the scantily-clad attention recently".
The 19-year-old US actress defended Kardashian, saying in a series of tweets: "Anybody who tries to say how a woman chooses to display their OWN body is wrong, is severely misinformed and misguided. If a guy posts a shirtless picture, people say how 'steamy' and 'hot' it is. But if a woman chooses to do that, it's setting a bad example?"
The US actress also pointed out society's double standards - that nobody was body-shaming Canadian pop star Justin Bieber when a photo of him standing naked behind his guitar was published by TMZ in 2013.
Winter, 18, tweeted: "I think everyone, men and women, should have the right to choose what they do with their bodies - and not be criticized."
The 14-year-old US actress said in a Twitter post: "I think that it is an awesome thing to teach girls: to be accepting of yourself and use the selfie to choose how you want to be viewed and to try and gain control of your own image."
AND SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN...
PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS
MILEY CYRUS, 23
Enough is enough for the equally provocative and frequently nude 23-year-old US pop star who voiced her disgust at everyone.
She posted on Instagram: "Dear women, you ALL are acting tacky! Why don't we overly (myself included) fortunate women come together and try to create and bring jobs to other women in desperate need of them so they can support not only THEMSELVES but their families! #happyinternationalwomensday can we all put the (expletive) aside for one (expletive) day and love / celebrate one another!"
I don't do drugs, I hardly drink, I've never committed a crime - and yet I'm a bad role model for being proud of my body?
- Kim Kardashian responding to the backlash on her website