Famous For Nothing, Celebrated For Something

I don’t think people understand that when I say anything in defense of Kim Kardashian or her sisters, it’s that I’m also defending similar women, despite them not being as rich or living as glamorous a life. I hear and read the horrible things that are said about her and in the end it all leads me back to this one thought: We all make mistakes. Also, we can hold ourselves accountable for the kinds of people we celebrate.

I understand that hard-working artists are very upset that someone like Kim K. can be so famous for doing nothing. Well, it seems to me that Kim K. is in the business of being looked at and nothing much more profound than that, and it’s something that I don’t demean or criticize because I absolutely enjoy looking at her. I love that she looks completely different than the girls who stared back at me from my teen magazines when I was younger. Back then, I couldn’t relate to the gorgeous white or black women on the photo spreads because none of my own features seemed to match theirs.

Then a few years ago, Kim Kardashian became more and more of a familiar face (and butt) and she was being ogled and admired for the very things I used to be so ashamed of for having. Long dark hair, olive skin and curves? How often did we get to see pictures of women whose butts were so big you could see them from the front? This is an exciting time! We can openly celebrate women who range from super thin to super thick. We can probably even do it without so many euphemisms! Hell, I always call myself a fat girl because it feels so liberating! It used to be a thing I could never say before because how dare I bring attention to my own weight? How dare I make anyone feel awkward around me? It is what it is, “it” being that no matter how much we also want to celebrate intellectual pursuits, we can’t help but be visual creatures and what we see on the outside is what gets our attention first.

Unfortunately, how many fat jokes have you seen made against Khloe Kardashian? She’s way thinner than I am, yet I’ve seen men on Twitter call her a “fat whore.” Just like that. Not even one second taken to consider the tiny effort that goes into just being a gentleman and never using those words against any woman. It’s bad enough that women are unforgiving with each other, but now men (and yes, some women) take to the Internet and public forums to directly name-call and bully celebs without regard to who else may be reading.

I understand too that we’re expected to take jokes and play it cool. We’re supposed to just laugh whenever someone makes a fat joke on Adele and then look in the mirror and act like it doesn’t hurt. Not gonna happen, at least not from me. Someone I was dating made a fat joke on Twitter about her and I felt it wasn’t worth the laughs or the stupid stars you get if it meant my feelings were hurt. I’ve seen myself in the mirror and if I look like anyone, it’s more likely to be Adele than say, Taylor Swift.

So Kim might be considered famous for nothing, but she is celebrated anyway, and for that reason I try to ask that people think about why that happens in the first place. The attention doesn’t just manifest out of nowhere. Someone is buying the magazines. Someone is watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Someone is reporting on every aspect of what that family does and there is a portion of the public that is consuming that information on a daily basis.

My issue, in all of this, is that I’m tired of the cheap shots taken against her, especially by comedians who are proud of their own work yet still resort to such basic, worn out attempts at humor. Is the reservoir of slut jokes really that vast? Is it really so hilarious that she dates black men? Because I find that it also leads to an underlying joke that we ignore, as if black men are not as objectified as she is when in that context.

Sometimes I think that I am fascinated by her because of what she brings out in people. She’s not a scholar, obviously, and people take liberty in calling her stupid. She makes people so angry when they think about how she is “famous for nothing.”

My mom has many framed images of Marilyn Monroe up in her house. When I moved out, she got me one for my apartment. She has told me that when women have stopped by the furniture store where she works, they see the framed pictures of Monroe that are for sale and a lot of them immediately say, “Ugh, she was a slut.” Even after death a Hollywood starlet can’t escape the criticism. My mom responds to those comments by saying, “She may have been a slut, but she sure was nice to look at. She was charming, alluring, and people either wanted her or wanted to be her.” I feel that is what is happening with Kim. People hate her for having no talent. They hate her for being in the spotlight so much. I imagine Monroe dealt with as much hate as she did admiration from others. This is not to suggest that their talents are parallel in any way (if any exist). They are just icons of feminity, though they do not speak ultimately to a definition of what it means to be feminine.

We choose who we celebrate. We can celebrate appearance as we do with Kim and other women who are in the business of looking a certain kind of sexy. We can also choose to highlight women who are known for great and worthy achievements. There’s a whole column on this site dedicated to celebrating Women Working To Do Good. Can you imagine what would happen if those were the women we reblogged on Tumblr? If their actions were the ones we turned into .gif images for everyone to see? Hell, I am guilty of trying to bring attention to Hispanic celebs who garner their own slut shaming from other women. Even my efforts are in need of fine-tuning, apparently, and I could be making a stronger effort to turn that attention over to the women who stay well past 4pm in their classrooms grading essays. I should be sharing with you stories about single moms who have ignored their own interests for the sake of raising their kids safely.

Do you realize that with tiny but numerous efforts, we can control the messages we promote about who is worthy of celebration? I do, now, and I think that there is still hope for turning the attention away from beautiful women like Kim for a while and giving it to the long-ignored women who really need our praise and support.

Featured Image via Shutter Shock

  • http://www.facebook.com/rachel.h.alexander Rachel RayRay Alexander

    Nice article, but you are mixing too many topics – talent, looks, and jealousy. I can only speak from my opinion, but here are my thoughts after reading this.
    The reason I don’t like Kim is because like you said everyone is responsible for their actions. Great she has no talent, but she is trying to make money. I for one think it is deplorable that the reason that she is famous is because she filmed a sex tape. I understand that it was made for private use, but it’s the exploitation of herself that is the problem. It shows that she has no self-respect.
    This is further highlighted by the mountains of products that she endorses that she does not even use. Kim is a beautiful girl and there is nothing wrong with her looks, but beauty is only skin deep. If every aspect of your life can be controlled by money, it shows you are a shallow person. Shallow people are not very attractive.
    It is annoying to see as you pointed out women everyday who juggle their lives with work, kids, and sanity struggle, while we are forced to see Kim Kardashian every 5 minutes on TV, magazines, and billboards. I use the word forced because the media is Kim Kashdashian’s best friend and believe it or not between her and Ryan Seacrest, media outlets are paid to promote her and show her. It’s called marketing and showbusiness. Maybe you are interested in what she is doing all the time, but I could care less.
    Lets give her a talent – modeling. Do you see other models out there shameless promoting themselves for extra money? No. Nightclub appearances are beneath them, reality TV shows are pretty trashy, and they don’t have time to ALWAYS put on a photo-shoot for the paparazzi. There was a day when celebrities WANTED and NEEDED privacy. I don’t know where those days went.
    I am glad to hear that you look up to her for her appearance, but I hope you or any other young girl is not looking up to her as a role model on how to live your life. I was raised to go to school, get a job, work your butt off, but most of all enjoy YOUR life. Its impossible to do that when you are constantly engaged in someone’s.
    As for Jealousy – Jealousy is a human trait, it will never go away. Even the sweetest people on earth get jealous. The important thing to remember is that when you get jealous, you take a step back and realize why you are jealous, and what you can do to change that feeling. You can’t change other people’s jealousy, so just let it go. No sense in even wasting energy on it. People have to come to acceptance and self-improvement on their own.
    I am glad, that you embrace your own skin. That is good. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so you will never be beautiful to EVERY SINGLE PERSON no manner what you think is wrong with you. Someone with think every thing about you is beautiful. If they don’t do you really want to be with someone who doesn’t think the world of you? All you can do is accept the body and mind God gave you and do the best you can. Don’t worry about other people. Especially ex-boyfriends, there is a reason why they are called that! :-)

    • http://www.facebook.com/WritingInBed Marianna Tabares

      Maybe that’s the thing about it. Because she’s “branded” herself and used her name on so many things, I’ve come to accept what she has created with her notoriety. It feels like a thing to be consumed. When I’m looking at her pictures, I’m not worried about what “deep thoughts” she may be having.
      I understand that benefitting from a sex tape can be interpreted as having no self respect and quite frankly, I doubt that anyone who engages in any form of reality tv is concerned with having self-respect. It’s a form of entertainment where you take a huge leap away from privacy and with that comes the act of revealing parts of yourself for everyone to criticize or in rare moments, applaud.
      I guess what gets to me is that regardless of what she’s done, I don’t think it’s right to constantly call her a whore, an idiot, and all these other horrible things I’ve heard said about her. Regardless of whether she is vapid or if she might actually be an intelligent woman, it leads me to think that if she’s going to be called those names, they might also apply to me if in my ow private life I’ve done anything similar. That’s just an idea that crosses my mind a lot but that I am still working on evaluating.

      I stopped reading a facebook thread where I made this Monroe/Kim comparison because two men went on there to write dissertations on how they feel about her, but I felt their comments had ZERO to do with my original post. I’m fascinated by how people will sit for several minutes to type out how they feel about her and not realize that they have willingly engaged in a discussion about someone they don’t even like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=898200194 Kelly McColeman

    it’s cool she’s levered getting peed on into an empire, but really? Socialites like the Hiltons & Kardashian’s do nothing for women, no matter what they look like. Calling women sluts, whores, or fat is low too. No one ever says Jack Black fat whore, or John Hurt an old slut.

    I’m happier when actual talent is celebrated in women – the Tina Fey’s Amy Poehler’s, Kristen Wigg’s, Maya Rudolph’s, athlete’s, Nora Ephron’s are celebrated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/proots Patrice Roots

    She’s done nothing but heavily market her looks and greed, so I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t take jabs at her for that. I don’t appreciate someone like Kim being viewed as a “role model”. It’s disgusting. No one is disputing the girl is pretty. But she has nothing else to offer. There are plenty of other olive skinned women with curves that aren’t Kim Kardashian. Sophia Vergara comes to mind. Have you ever seen her in an interview? She’s pretty hilarious, and she’s gorgeous. When I was growing up (which wasn’t too long ago), the people admired most were those with amazing talent. Now, girls (and boys) can tune into Keeping Up with the Kardashians and watch hours of these idiots running around, going to clubs, whining about clothes and boys and doing a whole lot of nothing. If they were to redeem themselves somehow by using their celebrity for a good cause or do SOMETHING other than tweet pics of themselves in bathing suits, I’m sure people would let up a little on the hatred. But they don’t. They continue to showcase their greed, ignorance, and idiocy. They’re practically begging to be the butt of the joke. Not everyone is celebrating the acceptance of voyeuristic and brain dead reality TV culture. That’s why there are so many people against Kim Kardashian and others like her. A few weeks ago she posted a picture on her twitter of a YSL brand handgun. Seriously? That’s so embarrassing. There are TONS of curvaceous and beautiful intelligent women to celebrate…who HAVE something to say, who CAN bring something to the table other than to talk about their latest handbag or boyfriend. In the meantime, bring on the Kardashian jokes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/WritingInBed Marianna Tabares

      I’m not totally against the jokes, but when they are all jokes about sleeping with black guys or slut-shaming, I don’t understand why people (usually comedians) don’t go for something a little more elevated or just less redundant.

      And I really appreciate what you guys are saying here. I don’t defend every aspect of Kim’s “career,” but I do see so many other females who do just the same on their facebook accounts or twitpics. Bikini pictures, duck face, and these are women in the so-called real world taking these pictures of themselves.

      I guess maybe next time I take a picture of a royalties check from what I earn from my writing, I should throw in a little cleavage? I just dunno anymore. (kidding, no cleave)

  • http://www.facebook.com/brittbulens Britt Bulens

    Tough crowd! I see what you’re saying, Marianna! She is not the same girl we were used to seeing in the magazines everyday. And you are so right, it is refreshing! She is so gorgeous and curvy….like me! ;O) I get it, there are so many more talented and well respected women who have those physical features, and we would definitely all benefit if they were the ones being put on a pedestal and photographed by the media and all that, but they’re not. Kim is, and I’ll admit that I don’t hate it. The Kardashians don’t bother me. I also wouldn’t be bothered if someone asked me to make a little appearance at a fancy nightclub in Vegas and get paid for it. I should stop typing now because I have definitely admitted too much. But also, I’m Mason’s biggest fan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ERRORS.unknown Christina Verana

    Kim Kardashian is digusting, shes vapid, and self-obsessed. She is not a role model, all she does is sell a lifestyle for vapid, skanksters. She is not a female empowerment, she uses her body to get anything she wants. Even her brother has on a few occasions said, you give no comments other then gossip “and like and like”, talk about politics, something important. She is the living, breathing male ideal of a woman–un-threatening, huge breasts, huge butt, and is hypersexualized. She’s a porn star with a reality show. What’s worse, is that even in her sex tape, she lacks any effort and knowledge about sex, she just lays there like an idiot. I have more respect for porn stars cause they don’t try to hide what they are doing and don’t hide under the guise of “reality star”. Btw, I watched ALL the episodes, and have never once felt anything different. I watch it cause of Scott, I feel bad for him…

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