Sometimes help comes from the most unexpected of places. As Kim Kardashian fights back against critics who call her fat, stars including Gwyneth Paltrow, Helena Christensen, and Jenna Dewan-Tatum have rushed to her defense, saying it's "despicable" to bully a pregnant woman for her weight. And now the reality star can add another name to her list of unlikely allies: Gloria Steinem.
Us Weekly caught up with the famed feminist on April 5 at the 4th Annual Diane Von Furstenberg Awards in New York City, where she voiced her opinion about the recent scrutiny over Kardashian's ever-evolving curves, and about society's attitude toward pregnant women in general.
"Our bodies are never public property under any circumstance," the 79-year-old activist told Us. "It's wrong, and people in the street who feel the right to touch a pregnant woman's belly ought to be arrested for harassment. Our bodies belong to us, and if we don't invite touching, we shouldn't tolerate it."
Steinem added that the mistreatment of any woman for her appearance, Kardashian included, doesn't just hurt the victim -- it hurts society as a whole. Criticizing people's bodies, she said, devalues both their brains and ours.
"If our bodies are treated as ornaments instead of instruments, that's because we are rebelling because it's an effort to distract us," she explained. "So don't be distracted. Why bother getting caught up in that?"
Easier said than done, of course, especially for Kardashian. The 32-year-old mom-to-be has faced a near-constant barrage of disparaging remarks since announcing in December that she and boyfriend Kanye West are expecting their first child together.
"It's funny because Kourtney warned me that when I get pregnant, people's opinions will be on an all-time high and everyone will chime in!" she wrote on her blog last month. "So I now see what she means."
To find out how the pregnant reality star is fighting back against her critics -- and how fellow mom-to-be Kate Middleton is dealing with comments that she's "too thin" -- pick up the new issue of Us Weekly, on stands Friday!