Kapitalism and life after Kardashian

Author: revistariainc

will go by and, so long, I’ve had you, fame. If it goes by, I’ve always know it
was fickle”


The world we live in today is no
stranger to the concept of fame. We are used to looking up to faces on
billboards and magazines and to opening up our homes and our lives daily to
strangers who waltz through our television sets, aiming to entertain us. Even
so, we seldom stop to think about what the whole concept entails. Back in
Monroe’s day, for example, in order for a person to achieve fame status, they’d
have to earn it somehow – whether it be raw talent or looks, the public felt
like stars had something to offer. Nowadays, however, aspiring starlets have
been rising to fame and achieving celebrity status at a much quicker pace –
and, to be fair, they also seem to be falling from grace before ever reaching
cloud nine. What happens, though, when they refuse to accept fame as an
acquaintance of fickleness? What can we expect when they refuse to leave the
spotlight after their fifteen minutes are up?

Sometimes, a total whirlwind.


They haven’t changed one bit!

That would be a modest way to describe the impact
caused by entrepreneur Kris Jenner and her daughters. Ever since the mid-2000s,
they have been scoring several endorsement deals, staring on multiple reality
television shows and dabbing on different ventures of merchandise, including
books, music and clothing lines. As the years went by, they climbed their way
up the fame ladder by finding ways of keeping themselves relevant and always on
the field of view of the public eye. TIME Magazine has even dubbed the youngest
sibling, Kylie, as one of the most influential teenagers alive – in a list
which also included Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai – and Cosmopolitan
Magazine named the Kardashians “America’s First Family” in a racy and rather
controversial cover spread. The ride to the family’s success, however, was as
bumpy as any and the opinions they have since stirred in the public as divided
as ever.

Before the ball dropped in 2007, the Kardashian clan
was already known throughout the United States. Kourtney, Kim, Khloé and Rob’s
father, attorney-at-law Robert Kardashian, was part of the “dream team” of
lawyers that defended footballer and TV personality O.J. Simpson of the
accusations of having murdered his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald
Goldman. The trial, which lasted about nine months and received the title of
“Trial of the Century”,
was televised all across the country, changing the way Americans dealt with
crimes in television. The verdict was broadcast live as millions of people
watched and either sobbed or cheered upon hearing the defendant was considered
not guilty. This was the catalyst of a type of racial divide across the USA, starting
with the case of the defense, which was partially based on racist slurs made by
police officer Mark Fuhrman, and ending with the divided opinions towards the
verdict which were then linked to ethnicity. It was all a real media circus,
which ended up making every single person involved in the trial somewhat of a
household name.

Like it or not, this whole media frenzy would set the
tone of the type of worldwide fame the Kardashian offspring would acquire a
little more than a decade later, due to Kim Kardashian West’s now infamous sex
tape. Making a mile out an inch, cue momager
Kris Jenner. Fashion and lifestyle website Refinery29 notes that

her divorce from Robert Kardashian, she and her then-husband, now known as
Caitlyn Jenner, were broke with eight children between them. Kris had the idea
to turn the former Olympian into a motivational speaker, and that’s also when
she opened her eyes to the talent pool available in her own home. The rest, as
you know by now, is reality television history.”

Kardahian West’s name would then
already make every other headline, thanks to her convenient friendship to the
likes of socialite Paris Hilton. When footage of Kim’s intimacy with her then
husband was leaked, her persona gained more screening time and that was what
prompted her mother to take action and pitch an idea to E! Entertainment
Televion’s Ryan Seacrest. This is how the family’s first venture in reality
television took form. Keeping Up with the
premiered in 2007 and would become a record-breaking show for
its broadcast network, bringing in 4.8 million viewers no more than four years
This was only the clan’s first step towards full on world mass-cultural

As time went by, there was no
denying the Kardashians were getting more and more popular – one of them in
particular. Kim was the highest earning reality star three years after Keeping Up’s release (banking no less
than six million dollars at
the age of thirty) and went on to star on multiple campaigns, which levered her
celebrity to a much a higher status. With so many reality shows in the mix, it
is safe to assume that this is a family that does not leave a lot to the
imagination and even Kourtney’s two first labors and Kim’s 2011 wedding to
NBA-player Kris Humphries – which lasted seventy two days – were televised (for
mere ten million dollars
). Once
again, exposing her private affairs to the cameras proved to be a smart move
for Kardashian West, who made her debut on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list the year after her wedding with a
whopping 18 million dollars
Perhaps it is in the connection with the public that lies the secret behind her
everlasting fame. People have grown to love her or hate her; to want to be her
or at least embody what Kim and her family represent: they have achieved international
fame without any obvious talent except that of being extraordinarily savvy
business women, who took advantage of what a mass culture which had received
them with open arms had to offer.


As a matter of fact, so great was
the public’s obsession with the Kardashians that in 2015, Kim Kardashian West
released Selfish, a book entirely
comprised of selfies taken by her.
However shallow or superficial her endeavor may seem to some, Pulitzer winner Jerry
Saltz suggests that it seems to embody traits dear to all of us, such as
self-awareness and obsession with one’s own image – which we may risk to
pinpoint as one of the main reasons behind her fame: at the end of the day, Kim’s
approachableness and quirky personality proves that she is, well, one of us.
When interviewed about Selfish and
its author by David Wallace-Wells, he said:

“She was enamored of her own form. We don’t even
discuss how unconventional her form is and was at the time, given the rigid
strictures of female beauty defined by society! And no one ever factors in the
incredible freakish distortion of the social space around her as she was
growing up: Her father, Robert Kardashian, was the defense attorney to and
friend of O.J. Simpson! Either way, Kim was way out in front of photographic
and media presentation that by now are a form. Accepted by the art world or

West’s self-fashioning technique – alongside her mother’s brains and perfect
timing – is, after all, what brought her to the reigning side of mass celebrity
culture as we know it today. Telegraph’s
Sam Riviere also indicates the reality star as a pioneer of this photographic
form, and sees in her book a timeline of the still-increasing occupancy of
technology in our daily lives as well as its impact in the making of our
self-image. In her obsession with her
own image, one may find, too, the key to her success as a business woman.
Although that might resonate with our rather self-absorbed human nature, it is
an element which arguably makes it harder for her to be taken seriously as the
entrepreneur and artist she has somewhat proven herself to be. To Saltz’s
interviewer, people “are riding waves
much more than they are charting new paths”
, which might reverberate towards
the dated notion that what is product – or, in this case, a moving force – of
mass culture shall not be seen past its origins.

What exactly is wrong,
however, according to Kim’s family’s most passionate critics, with a woman
using her body and public image as her main source of income is hard to
pinpoint. Most of the critical slur seems to come from the fact that certain
groups of people frown upon the lack of talent which made Kim and her sisters
famous. However, as cleverly put by Telegraph’s
Riviere, the limitless possibilities instilled by Kardashian West’s so-called
“lack of talent” are exactly what make her transition through so many different
endeavors both possible and somewhat smooth. One might also risk saying it is
ironically what brings her and her sisters more public acceptance (as well as
hatred). If she can talentlessly waltz from one venture to another, then that
must mean the dream of fame and money is not so unattainable to the
regular Joe after all. In that sense, maybe if The Great Gatsby were to be
written today, it would focus on a family much like the Kardashian clan – for,
in a way, they’ve personified the new American dream.


“Did you girls see what Daisy is wearing?” “I know, what was she thinking?”

It may be that ten or fifteen years from now, the
Kardashian enterprise will have closed its doors and its engines will no longer
be running. Maybe in due time their fame will come full circle and meet the
fickle nature Monroe often talked about. Or, perhaps, like Marilyn’s star, one
twinkle in particular will never cease to glow. Whatever the case, make it
known that the silver lining of their fame is that through the cracks made by
their connection with the public, enters the light shed in some topics
otherwise left in the dark. Thanks to their openness, the girls have freely
discussed gender transition in the figure of Kris’s former husband Bruce Jenner.
Kim has also talked about the other side of pregnancy and what it’s like not to carry your own baby – a topic that might resonate with other women who have
gone through similar situations, whether it be adoption or surrogacy. Kim,
Khloé and Kourtney have also always made their Armenian heritage known, calling
people’s attention to the massacre that occurred in the country circa 1915,
where about 1.5 million people were estimated to have been killed. Kardashian
West even criticized then-POTUS Barack Obama’s choice of words when referring
to the killings.

Whether one likes the Kardashians or not – or thinks
they are deserving of the fame they’ve been bestowed, for that matter, is out
of question. The fact is that their fame is real – it is
palpable. You can see it everytime you turn on your television or open a
magazine. Kim and her sisters own it; their mother manages it – and since it’s
theirs, they are more than free to explore it at their own will. At the end of the day, their lack of talent is a virtue of its own.


Image via. And also via.

Author: revistariainc

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