It’s hard to go 48 hours without hearing some inane piece of news about Kim or one of the other Kardashians, or, like now, read some type of article about them. People who are in the public eye are prone to intense scrutiny — it’s part of the job. Outfits, appearances, soundbites, video clips, and interviews all add to the celebrity trivia feeding trough for Americans and the world in general. This sort of consumption — an almost literal consuming of the details of a stranger’s life for theatre/entertainment — is problematic by itself, probably.
What’s definitely troubling is the water cooler chit chat that Kim inspires. There’s a large number of particularly vicious hate that’s been pumped into her mythos. Her appearance on an NPR show brought a flurry of angry and outraged emails from self-proclaimed loyal listeners. An NPR article bemusedly detailing the backlash provides a few email snippets, such as one listener saying, “She has no business in any civilized forum.” Most of them are like that. When she appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone, Irish musician Sinead O’Connor (who, to be fair, does this sort of thing a lot) lamented that “music is dead.” The idle conversations people have, the incensed Facebook posts about how she’s disgusting or should be ashamed of herself — people love to hate her and at first I really didn’t get it.
We know that Kim has an (in)famous sex tape with (petty as hell) singer Ray J. We know that prior to this, she hung out with Paris Hilton, seemingly as a lackey. We know that she comes from wealth. None of these things meant she was destined to become a staple of Americana. Even taken together, it wouldn’t have been assured. Kim (read: her mother) has managed her initially fledgling notoriety and social capital and built an empire, a cult of personality.
What is that personality? What’s so hateful? She’s posed nude a few times, she’s married to Kanye West, she has a child with another on the way, she posts a lot of selfies in various states of dress, blahblahblah. From everything that’s come my way about her, she’s never done anything outrageous other than be a publicly naked woman — and profit from it. When people go on about why they don’t like her it’s the vaguest form of fury. They only know that they don’t like her and counterarguments are accordingly met with an obstinate, “I just don’t like her.”
The few things people manage to choke out about her — if they’re being polite — is that she’s vain, making ridiculous amounts of money for nothing, setting a bad example for women. The less polite folk call her a whore, insist that because she’s a mother she should behave accordingly and not do nude photoshoots.. A sharp example happened within the past week or two when she posted a photo on Instagram WITH HER BREASTS COVERED and CRADLING HER PREGNANT TUMMY and someone screenshot it for twitter saying, “She’ll use any excuse to be a hoe lol.” It had a shit ton of retweets and favorites. Another example is flat out repulsive. An image of Kim and Jared Fogle captioned, “One is a disgraced sexual deviant whose physical transformation propelled them to fame. The other is Jared from Subway.”
Bashing this woman is a misogyny fueled enterprise where people want to feel better about themselves. Shit talking Kim Kardashian is somehow supposed to make the shit talker seem slightly more intelligent, slightly more down to earth, slightly more upstanding. It’s bullshit. Yes, she has a daughter, and condescending remarks of what her daughter will think of her when she grows up is gross. Calling someone a bad mother because you’ve seen their vagina in a magazine does not make you a good person. It makes you the opposite. The mark of a good mother is someone who loves and supports their child. Period.
People like to say she represents all that’s wrong with America today. That’s bullshit. Kim Kardashian represents nothing but herself. That’s the only vaguely negative thing they can say about her. Even then, she does about as much — or as little — as most other celebrities. Other than be a successful woman, what has Kim Kardashian done to deserve such a public stoning?