Beautiful, buxom with undeniable physical assets (ahem) Kim Kardashian is an unavoidable cultural phenomenon. Whether you love her or you hate her (it really seems to be an either/or situation) no one can deny the cultural power she wields in modern society. In a world where wafer thin models are lauded everywhere we turn, she is a woman celebrated for the curves she unabashedly accentuates with her fabulously enviable wardrobe….but as I’m sure most of us know, that is not all she’s known for.
In light of this, yesterday, socialite, businesswoman and reality star, Kim Kardashian was deemed to be “everything that’s wrong about society” by English head mistress, Mary Calene who is to speak at the Institute of Development Professionals in Education (IDPE) conference later this week.
She claimed that the American-Armenian beauty’s popularity encouraged the premature sexualisation of young girls, and the constant media promotion of her has wrongly unwittingly (or not as the case may be) heralded Kim Kardashian as a role model, something she is not worthy-according to Calene-to be.
As much as this could be dismissed as a stiff austere perspective from someone who is out of touch, it would also be grossly rash to do so. Calene definitely has a point, but there are also many points that may offer Kim Kardashian as a …(wait for it) role model , yes Kim Kardashian can be seen as a poster child of what female empowerment means in the noughties by exemplifying everything new and evolved about it.
So we at FAB got our geek specs on, and have taken it upon ourselves to analyse Calene’s view point. Of course, it is impossible to assess every pit and peak of Kim’s career so far, but if we’re talking about Kim’s stardom, we thought it best to concentrate on the infamy that saw her sky rocket to the A List without any discernible talent, to analyse whether Kim’s fame is indeed dangerous to young girls everywhere, or if she is fact someone that can be admired.
2007 was the year of that infamous tape with her then boyfriend, singer Ray J. The very fact that this sex tape is known to us, seems to reinforce Calene’s point. To girls who idolise Kim Kardashian, the very presence of the tape may be encouragement enough to do something that will expose them to dangers and experiences they are not nearly ready for.
But, (and this is a very important but. Almost as big as …never mind.) repeatedly since then, Kim Kardashian has expressed her extreme regret about the whole debacle. On her show, “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”, in interviews, and most recently with her sit-down with Oprah, Kardashian has referred to it as something she will “regret for the rest of (her) life”. Is it fair to penalise someone for a mistake they did when they were much younger (and stupider)? If everybody did that to us, as ordinary people who don’t have cameras following us about 24/7, how on earth would we be able to move on with our life? With people continuously disallowing us to forget the things we are most ashamed of, how are we supposed to free ourselves of the shackles of regret?
Kim Kardashian speaking on her sex tape [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJimM2ygJmM&w=640&h=480]
So as much as the video itself, may not be something to be applauded, we must recognise two things;
1. The fact that though it may not be to anyone’s taste, she was a consenting adult-who although may have made an error of judgement according to some opinions- was in a committed relationship.
2. The fact that though the video saw her name dragged through the mud,she rose from it, building up a worldwide brand, becoming a mogul, and making her name a household one. Rather than remain downtrodden and humiliated (having something extremely private exposed to the entire world can’t be easy) she dusted herself off and exploited the situation.
Although the basis of her fame may not be something to be admired, her recovery definitely is. In the past women had to be uphold a picture perfect façade of wholesomeness and purity; in contrast to this, Kim Kardashian could be said to represent a real woman. She has flaws, but she admits to them. She has made mistakes, and she recognises them. She has chosen not wallow in them but to act in spite of them and take advantage of the exposure.
So whilst Calene’s point is perfectly valid, we must take into account that girls are likely to learn from rather than emulate Kim Kardashian’s mistakes. An important lesson that young women may also learn, is that with initiative and manipulation of unfavourable circumstances, you can transform negativity into your life into something that works to your advantage.