Why do we hate Kim Kardashian?
Shelley Cheng, 29 May 2016
It’s no secret that Kim Kardashian became widely known after her sex-tape with Ray J was leaked. If it wasn’t emphasised enough here, the sex-tape was released without her consent. I watched a video where Kris and Kim discuss it:
Kim: “Tyra Banks has asked me to go on her show next week, and I’m so excited.
Kris: “There’s just one little catch, you’d have to talk about the tape”
Kim: “I dont wanna talk about it”
Kris: “I know, but you can just be honest and say how you feel”
Kim: “that was with my boyfriend of three years that i was very much in love with, and whatever we did in our private time, was our private time, and never once did we think it would get out.” (x)
Her privacy was invaded, her personal life exposed, and did she have any support from the damage to her emotional health, to her reputation? Instead of allowing it to ruin her life, she used her circumstantial existence in a voyeuristic, sex-crazed society to turn a massive profit on it.
Yet she is still insulted, shamed, reduced to labels like “whore” and “slut” despite all her successes as a businesswoman, model, TV personality, media sensation…etc. Invalidating all of her success simply because people decide to judge her from a morally absolute positon is not only narrow-minded but extremely misogynistic. As soon as she posts a nude selfie or poses naked for a shoot, the attacks fly in from every direction:
The fact that she gets so much attention and that she is able to “break the internet” is telling of how hypocritical society is – without a demand or a twisted thirst for the uncovered female body, no one would look at her pictures. Yet we do, and then we sexualise her, tell her to cover up, tell her to be a better person. We blame women like Kim to hide the fact that we are perverted.
Society is “irrefutably invested in how she looks, everything she listens to, says, and doesn’t say, everywhere she goes, and who she’s hanging out with (or not hanging out with). We follow her on social platforms, and wait as dozens of paparazzi trail her every move for one unflattering shot. We speculate on her relationships, whether or not she has had cosmetic work done, and whether she’s a “role model.” We’re waiting for her to surprise us, to fail, to make the mistakes…and to be exactly who we think she is.” (x)
Blaming Kim and policing her body and her choice isn’t going to change the scrutiny women face. In a society that perpetuates so many unattainable ideals for the female body, Kim being proud of her body is something that should be celebrated. Kim sums it up perfectly when she says, “It’s so important that we let women express their sexuality and share their bodies.”
You may then say, how can she be proud of her body if she’s always undergoing cosmetic procedures? Firstly, what she does with her body is her choice and her choice alone. Why is it that when someone becomes famous, society decides that their bodily-autonomy should be relinquished? She is using her body to become her best version of herself, and really, she just becomes more successful as society’s obsession with her breasts and butt grows.
Furthermore, Kim is a businesswoman, not your child’s parent. It’s not her responsibility to be a role model for all girls, and expecting her to be is just another expression of patriarchal values. She doesn’t have to teach your child anything. What she teaches her child is quite frankly, no one’s business but hers. Would you not say the same if someone criticised your parenting?
It is a shame that most of the misogynistic tweets she receives are from women who simultaneously share photos of naked men, adding heart-eye emojis and commenting on how “hot” they look. Why is it that men become “goals” and women become “bad role models”? Men posting shirtless or nude photographs does not spur any outrage because males already have a privileged position in society. Men are not shamed for being sluts, accused of being poor parents and role models for children. Too often, a woman’s body is used against her to shame and humiliate her.
[Society’s Double Standards.Source]
Everything she does, or says, even if it’s of importance, is brought back to her sex tape. In April this year, she called out Wall Street Journal for denying the Armenian genocide. “Advocating the denial of a genocide by the country responsible for it – that’s not publishing a ‘provocative viewpoint,’ that’s spreading lies.”
“It’s totally morally irresponsible and, most of all, it’s dangerous. If this had been an ad denying the Holocaust, or pushing some 9/11 conspiracy theory, would it have made it to print?” As demonstrated by this comment, Kim has very effectively summarised the ramifications of the problematic ad, and if someone else said it, they would be praised for being woke. Yet, most of the comments I saw under the Facebook post just called her a slut and therefore her opinion was invalid.
I’ve watched an interview where the interviewer asked Kim, “So what is it that you actually do?” It’s obvious that the question was to belittle her and perpetuate the widely accepted idea that Kim is famous for no reason. She replied, “well besides having, like, ten TV shows, a perfume, two clothing lines, a shoe company, diet products, everything…pretty much nothing.” That was in 2012, and since then she has become more and more successful. Even so, any activity that Kim engages in warrants her being called a “slut” or a “whore”. The issue isn’t about nudity or sex anymore. It’s about society’s disapproval for females who don’t conform to bygone ideals of femininity. People do not fear naked female bodies, but rather the fact that women can love their bodies – Kim is one such woman.
Another way that society promulgates this disapproval is reflected in how she is constantly compared to other women. Anne Hathway recently instagrammed a picture saying, “in a world of Kardashians, be a Helena Bonham Carter”, pitting women against one another – something that the patriarchy has conditioned us to do from young. Too many times I’ve seen images of Kim juxtaposed with another female celebrity, captioned with lines like, “Be a Real Woman” or “Fake is not Beautiful.” This extends to the whole Kardashian clan – I’m sure we’ve all seen the image comparing Kylie and Malala at age 18, or the one of Michelle Obama and Kris.
Everyone is born into different privileges, has different interests, have different concepts of what is considered meaningful. Stop pitting women against each other, we need to raise each other up in every way possible.
Hate her for cultural appropriation, hate her for her other problematic behaviour, but don’t hate her for expressing her sexuality. Don’t discount her every achievement because of her sex life; don’t be a part of a system that tears down women and reduces them to labels that define them in relation to men. She’s built an empire out of the very thing that was used to attack her. Plus, Kim doesn’t care what you think, “I do what makes me happy and what I need to get done.” Before you start throwing shade at her, maybe identify the source of the hate. Is it internalised misogyny?