So if you're not on Snapchat and don't follow celebrity gossip (well done, I wish I could be like you), then you've probably missed Kim K Snapchatting a video of Kanye having a telephone conversation with Taylor Swift re: the lyrics about her in his recent rap. Swifty claimed she had no idea those lyrics were to be released and objected to them, however the Snapchatted footage shows her thanking Kanye for warning her and agreeing for him to go ahead and use the lyrics. As the yoof would say; awks.
Swift reminds me of a Queen Bee in secondary school. The head of the cool group that holds the power to approve or deny entry to the posse. The type that would be lovely to your face and give you tasty 'low cal diet snacks' that actually turned out to be weight gain bars. Say what you want about Kim and Kanye but they are brutally open and honest, often to the point where it's shocking and socially frowned upon. Throwback to 'yo imma let you finish but' and Kim telling us in detail how childbirth has altered her vagina. A match made in heaven, I tell you. But I rate that raw (and sometimes embarrassing and socially awkward) honesty more than people being fake or lying. At least you know where you stand.
Thinking about honesty and openness got me thinking about the appeal of the Kardashians and, while I'm not a huge fan, I totally get it. I've watched Kris tell Kylie not to steal Kim's clothes and have felt refreshed to see honest depictions of female relationships that I think are severely lacking on our screens. Mothers, sisters, friends, grandmothers...These relationships are some of the strongest around and yet they're rarely reflected on screen without a strong male influence altering the dynamic. The K clan are eminently open about their entire lives, be it on their reality show, Instagram or Snapchat. They might live in mansions in sunny Calabasas but they're as dysfunctional as they come, which is a comfort, as all families are to a degree, and that's okay. They go through divorce, adultery and grievances while the cameras roll. The aspirational aspect of the show is huge, but there's a reason the Rich Kids of Beverly Hills cast aren't household names and the Kardashians are. You watch their lives unravel in the predictably unpredictable way that life inevitably does, and despite the Birkins and Bentleys, there is undoubtably an empathetic element and also an underlying human craving to satisfies our voyeuristic desires.
My views on Kim are quite conflicted. I think she's vacuous, vain and it's a crying shame that someone with her level of influence and affluence isn't doing lots of charity work, speaking out about important issues and really trying to change the world for the better. However, my affection for her stems from her tough, ballsy nature and lack of fucks to give for what anyone thinks of her. You can see it's not an affected 'I don't care if you hate me' attitude but a genuine, focused self-belief and I admire that. I think she's extremely professional, walks to the beat of her own drum and everyone who has met her seems to say she is very sweet and polite. You can't deny the woman has done tremendously well and played the media beautifully. I can respect negative opinions of her (I share some of them), however, when anyone has an abundance of scathing, vicious hatred towards her it makes me feel quite uncomfortable. I've been trying to analyse why that is and have come to the conclusion that it's because I doubt any man in her position would receive as much highly concentrated vitriol. Interestingly, the most extreme anger I've seen towards the Kardashians has come from men. That's not a sexist generalisation, simply an observation based on my experience.
In our patriarchal society a successful, powerful, beautiful, wealthy woman is still a threatening figure to many men. From a feminist perspective, when a man tells me she's a 'talentless slut' I feel incensed and jump to her defence. I've heard such venom spat about how talentless she is and it baffles me slightly. You can say 'what does she actually do?' a million times over but it doesn't change the fact that the woman is one of the top earners in the world and possibly the biggest pop culture icon on the planet right now. To condemn her as 'some slut who's only famous from a sex tape' (heard this so many times) belittles the hugely successful empire she's built. Yes she's built it off the back of being sexually objectified and sharing every aspect of her existence with the public, but she's still done it (and there are a lot of people doing all of that for free.) Most sex tapes result in 15 minutes of fame but this woman has played the media game cleverly to achieve what she has. Whether you agree with the way she's doing it or not, she's clearly doing something.
She's obsessive about her appearance, and while I would never shame any woman for caring about her looks, I don't respect this extreme level of vanity. In her defence, however, since we're little girls we're primed to 'be pretty' and throughout our lives we're constantly bombarded with information on how we can physically self-improve. So for the same magazines that circle cellulite on women's thighs to criticise Kim's use of cosmetic surgery, seems to me, highly hypocritical.
What I think is the most worrying aspect of the Kim K influence is the unapologetic narcissism and selfish demeanour. For anyone to spend most of their day looking at and thinking about themselves is worrying, and I'm concerned about the impact she's having on future generations in that sense. Grooming is hugely important to women and has it's valid place, but in 2016 it's just another string to our bow. And I think Kim knows that, she's clearly a smart business woman that does a lot more than preen herself. However if you follow her on social media you could misinterpret her life to be one big glam squad session and we desperately need young generations to want to do things and make the world a better place, not sit at home all day watching contouring tutorials and taking selfies. I worry the Kardashian phenomenon could result in lots of young girls doing just that, which would be such a waste of all of those brains. I'm not slating make-up tutorials or selfies (there's certainly a place for those videos, and selfies are fun), my concern is the K crew encouraging those things to be any woman's sole focus.
That's the deep part over, so here's a parody I made on Kim Kardashian. I've always suspected she writes all of Kanye's music for him, so I made a video about it. It's only a few minutes, then you can get back to your contouring tutorial...
This post originally appeared on Lily's blog here