If there is one celebrity, apart from Justin Bieber, who can divide opinion it’s Kim Kardashian. To some people she is the embodiment of a ‘nobody’ in society, famous for nothing and in the media for nothing and people are bewildered at why she continues to be relevant. However, to other people (myself included) she has become somewhat of a 21st century feminist without perhaps consciously meaning to.
Famously, KimK rose to stardom because of a sex tape which began circulating in early 2007, and by October of that same year, she and her family were offered their now world famous reality show ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ which is currently in its ninth season. The tape was released by her ex-boyfriend, Ray J, without Kim’s consent and in turn betraying her trust; essentially attempting to tarnish her name and reputation. It’s also worth mentioning at this point that of course all of the backlash and judgement from the media was aimed at KimK and not at the boyfriend, go figure. Kim was slutshamed whilst Ray J received nothing of the sort. (Anyone else thinking of a certain Christina Aguilera song at the moment? No, just me? I’m just gonna leave this here).
Kim however, then uses this to her advantage. Instead of becoming a victim, which society expects and wants, she builds a career out of this new found fame and instead of feeling ashamed she fights back. And rightly so. Nakedness should not be an excuse to slutshame, degrade or refuse success to a woman. Modern society lives and thrives upon female nudity (advertisements, tv shows, films), yet as soon as this is used to benefit a woman, such as the success Kim has had and made for herself, and not for the benefit of a man, society is unsure how to react.
This brings us onto the enigma of Kim Kardashian. Given the recent celebrity photo scandal in which 4chan released hundreds of personal images owned by female celebrities, it became apparent how men truly believe the photos that these women have taken belong to them. That they are entitled to look at them. It is this entitlement that is linked to KimK’s sex tape. Society viewed the video, shared it, slutshamed and ridiculed Kim, and were then angry that she managed to carve a career out of this betrayal, this is evident in the way that she is treated in the media.
However, now Kim is in a committed marriage and she has a child, she now makes society feel uncomfortable. Whereas before she was ‘the girl with the sex tape’, ‘paris hilton’s friend’, ‘her with the reality show’, she no longer fits into a box. She continues to succeed in her business, her fame, her fashion, her marriage and embrace her sexuality AND seemingly be a good mother. She continues to challenge societies idea of how she should behave. She doesn’t dress like a ‘soccer mom’ or is photographed out buying groceries in sweatpants. She continues to be herself.
I found this photo (left) on tumblr, where commenters likened KimK to this painting of ‘Madonna and Child’ which is universally acknowledged to be an embodiment of purity, virginity and innocence. KimK is wearing all black, vampy makeup, lace and a rather low cut dress and yet people have still made this comparison. The media continue to attempt to put Kim into a box, and so its refreshing to see individuals on the internet looking past what Kim is wearing because they know that it doesn’t matter. Ultimately, it fascinates me how Kim has managed to alter peoples views of her and become one of the most famous women in the world.