Let me begin by saying that I utterly loathe the Kardashians. They’re the embodiment of a deep cultural rot, the face of all things cheap and vapid in pop culture. One of my grimmest moments of 2015 was, first, involuntarily hearing that Kim had gone blonde (who cares) and, second, realizing that regardless of whether or not I wanted to see her new hair, I would see it. Eff.
So you can imagine my abject horror when, twice in the past few weeks, I have found myself agreeing with that two-headed monster that celebrity chasers call “Kimye.”
Yesterday, Kim Kardashian wrote an “essay” declaring that she doesn’t call herself a feminist. I wholeheartedly concur.
Her five-paragraph post says that “of course” she wants women to “have the same choices and opportunities as men when it comes to education and employment, their bodies and their lifestyles.” She brags about herself a bit: “I work hard, I make my own money, I’m comfortable and confident in my own skin.”
And then she gets down to the crux of her argument, if you can even call it that. “Why do we have to put labels on things?” she whines. It goes on: “It’s simply a personal choice that I don’t like the idea of being labeled. … at the end of the day, no one should feel pressured to be labeled as anything just because they believe in certain things and support certain values or ideas.”
Funny, I briefly felt the same way around age 15. And then I realized descriptive words have, like, meanings.
Then again, Kim Kardashian’s ramblings on feminism and labels reminded me ofVogue’s pathetic 2014 profile of her. In it, Kanye West—an ex-wordsmith who has professionally coasted ever since he learned that domestic bliss was lucrative, as were fights picked with Taylor Swift—tried to explain America’s obsession with his family.
Kim “created something really powerful that the universe connected with, and I created something that people connected with, and then when we combine our information. . . . We can help communicate and educate and just bring more dopeness in general. It’s really just about dopeness at the end of the day,” West held forth.
(Is “dopeness” a label?)
More pithily, Kanye recently said his wife “represents our modern-day Marie Antoinette.”
That’s an apt comparison, though one wonders how much of his reference derives from the Kirsten Dunst/Sophia Coppola flick, instead of a real understanding of French history.
Speaking of history, the Kardashian-Wests could learn a lot from Hannah Arendt, who thought deeply about the French Revolution as she examined the arc from European aristocracy to revolution to totalitarianism.
“What makes men obey or tolerate real power and, on the other hand, hate people who have wealth without power, is the rational instinct that power has a certain function and is of some general use. … Only wealth without power or aloofness without policy are felt to be parasitical, useless, revolting, because such conditions cut all the threads which tie men together,” she wrote.
At worst, Kim Kardashian stands for nothing at all. Her cry of “no labels” can be easily substituted for “no policy,” or even worse, “no use.”
After all, she has more than four times as many Twitter followers as Donald Trump—and, almost impossibly, adds even less to the public discourse. “MY FAVES: ANKLETS,” she recently tweeted. Her latest “book” is literally a collection of photos she took of herself, aptly titled Selfish.
Kim inspires fan-girls to aim for self-obsession, even if they lack the time, resources, genetics and nauseating maternal opportunism that abounds in the Kardashian family. She inspires women to navel-gazing, either directly or by proxy.
But just to clarify, marketing highly stylized, photo-shopped nudie pics to the broadest audience possible is in no way “fighting” for women to “embrace their beauty and their bodies,” just like capitalizing on fame first afforded by a leaked sex tape is in no way “encouraging women to be open and honest about their sexuality.”
That’s not feminism. That’s decadence and cynicism.
You don’t earn the suffix “-ist” if you believe in nothing. To the extent that Kim believes in anything, it’s wealth, fame and, first and foremost, herself.
One more thing: Those derided “labels,” along with their underlying principles, keep women interesting long after lauded looks fade.
It’s only a matter of time before the rest of America finds Kim Kardashian as boring as I do.