Okay, I waited a day or two to write this piece because, like myself, I think the whole online world was trying to wrap their head around it…
Kim Kardashian posed in her bday suit (ironically, shortly after her actual bday) for the cover of Paper Magazine with her very large, very baby-oiled derriere on display. Backlash ensued:
“You’re a mother! Have some respect!”
“Eww so photoshopped.”
“Omg! This is so, totally racist!”
And of course, “Why is she even famous!?”
I find it remarkable that this grinded so many people’s gears! Granted, I was a little surprised to find that the spread included full-frontal nudie pics, but honestly, the original cover picture wasn’t so shocking or tasteless for me. Art is art, even if you don’t agree with it. There’s a million and one ways to perceive this photoshoot. Does this backlash come because of who she is? Because she’s a reality star turned icon (to some, maybe to others not so much)?
She’s a public figure, and in today’s reality-TV filled, social media crazed, pop culture world– it’s no surprise she is where she is today. The world and culture changes as time goes on… The meaning of “celebrity” evolves and it is no longer confined to “actress”, “model”, “singer”. As technology and culture evolves, things are no longer black and white.
Isn’t that the point of social media anyway? To blur the lines between what and who we know personally and go beyond that? To connect people in a way we’ve never seen before this generation? If this is the case, why is it so shocking that a “normal” has turned into the #mosttalkedaboutcoupleintheworld (ha, see what I did there?). It’s not like she’s sitting on her famous ass (ha, another one!) doing nothing like some Insta-famous people do..
-She owns multiple stores (not just boutiques that some parent slapped her name and face on, but actual brick and mortar stores she and her sisters built)
-She has a clothing line, a makeup line, and is the brand ambassador for countless products and brands
-She pioneered a new genre of television that we are all apparently EATING UP. (How many reality shows have spawned since the start of KUWTK?)
-She’s also had a couple minor rolls in movies, television, and Bound 2 videos (lol).
-She even tried her hand at singing (rapping?), which sucked, but at least she tried. How many of you have tried to sing?
-All the while she has maintained stardom as a wife (more than once, so what!), a mom, and a style and beauty icon.
Moreover, she turned her 15 minutes of Paris Hilton-induced fame into $45 million dollars and a Kardashian family media empire. You gotta respect the hustle with that. In fact, we helped create these opportunities for her by keeping her in demand. By talking about her in magazines and tabloids, by buying the products and watching the shows. If they didn’t bring in an ROI, then these brands wouldn’t keep using her. This new style of business and marketing works, and it’s here to stay.
Personally, I owe her a lot: Back in pre-Kardashianland, it wasn’t cool to have dark hair or curves. I grew up with a lot of blonde hair, blue eyed peers and secretly wished I looked like them. A couple years later, I had just transferred schools and a group of girls made it their job to be very, very mean to me. They made up rumors, called me names like “ugly” and “Armo” (an extremely rude ethnic slur–which happens to NOT be my ethnicity but they were pretty ignorant to begin with…), and fat. I struggled greatly with my body image (who doesn’t at 15?) and my butt seemed to get in the way of everything (particularly my pants). I developed an extremely self loathing attitude.
During this mean girls experience, Kim K began her epic rise to stardom. There was this stunningly beautiful Armenian woman who everyone was obsessed with–and she had a HUGE ass! Suddenly, every one wanted long dark hair. Curves, big butts, and boobs were embraced by men and finally the women who had them. I think a lot of people forget that aspect of Kim K. She might be a bit of an exhibitionist and overly sexualizes herself, but she has flaws and she’s different and she embraces that. A lot of people didn’t do that before. I admit, I was finally confident in myself again and maybe for the first time in my life. If that sounds a bit superficial, fine. But that’s the way it is (and was) for me.
She might be “famous for nothing” to some, but to me she reminded me that despite looking “different” we are all beautiful and there is no shame in having a big butt. (Even if it is awkwardly covered in baby oil and plastered on a magazine cover…)
All this being said, I know this is not everyone’s story nor is it everyone’s opinion. I just want people to see that this is a hard working woman. She may have made some mistakes in the past and may be building her empire in a very unconventional way, but that is what entrepreneurship is all about: finding a market, doing something you love in that market, and making a change. She’s changed the market for celebrity, changed it for business, and definitely changed it for marketing. It just so happens she’s doing it in a new age way by #breakingtheinternet. We helped her with that too.
What do you guys think? I know we ALL have opinions on the Kardashian brand and I wanna hear yours! Discuss, discuss in the comments!!