Leading the Kim Way
Growing up, everyone used Kim Kardashian as an example of what not do to; teachers, parents, and relatives alike would say, “Don’t do that! You’ll end up like Kim Kardashian!” I distinctly remember her on T.V., my mother scoffing then immediately changing the channel. From that influence, I began to truly despise her. At that point in my life, adults never made mistakes like Kim had; they were always perfect. Being a young adult, I have quickly learned that is not that case at all. Life can be unexpected and complicated and it’s not the place for anyone to make assumptions about others. But people do it nonetheless, and it is never more evident than in the case of Kim Kardashian: the most Googled person of 2012; launcher of clothing, makeup and perfume brands; 1/2 of Kimye (Marcus). She has slowly crept her way into music, fashion, advertising and publishing. A pop culture golden goose, Kim has the Midas touch in all things marketable. Controversial? Obviously. Untalented? Possibly. But an icon? A true women of the decade?
As aforementioned, Kim seems to do everything right, that is, financially speaking. She graced the cover of Vogue with husband Kanye West in April of 2014 which became the best selling edition, ever, beating Beyoncé and Michelle Obama (Reporter). Another magazine cover by Paper Magazine, dubbed “Break the Internet,” caused quite a stir, bringing five billion hits to the sites related to the cover photo (Hilton). Raking in 28 million dollars just last year, she earned herself a spot on Forbes’ 100 Top Earning Celebrities list (Forbes). Whether you like it or not, what Kim does and says and wears matters to pop culture; people want to know, read, see, and glimpse into her life.
However, no matter how many times Kim will prove that her icon status is due to her business savvy, there is the ever-present: “She’s only famous for a sex tape.” The notion that this teaches young girls that their sexuality can be directly used to gain them fame and fortune should not be spread; but, that’s not what happened in this situation. The tape was made with her serious boyfriend and was released, without her permission, five years after they had broken up. The tape was not made for anyone else to see, let alone the public, nor did she continue to use her sex tape to elevate her fame, often refusing to speak about it during interviews. Why should Kim be blamed for being the victim of a betrayal?
Society tells us that Kim’s leaked sex tape is completely and wholly shameful, but Jennifer Lawrence’s leaked nude photos are the result of a horrific cyber attack. Society tells us that Ryan Seacrest can be famous for being a TV personality, host and producer, but Kim cannot. Society tells us that, because Kim made a sex tape 11 years ago, she does not deserve success. Society tells us she isn’t allowed to make mistakes because people don’t make mistakes.
Kim is now a mother and wife. Notorious for not doing drugs and generally declining alcohol, yet is still persecuted for being a “bad example for young women.” Personally, I look up to her. She took her very public embarrassment and rose above all of the pettiness to create a life for herself and her family, despite constant attacks by the media. Kim Kardashian is an icon because she embodies all the traits that young women in this decade need—strength, savvy, and perseverance. You can argue that Kim Kardashian may be “famous-for-being-famous,” but the truth is, no one reaches her iconic fame and duration of reigning pop culture without dedication and ambition; and after all the bashing and mocking there is of Kim Kardashian, the truth is, we would all rather be in her designer shoes than our own.