Why Are We So Obsessed with Kim & Kanye's ‘Vogue' Cover? Jennifer Still

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West fulfilled what was reportedly a longtime goal in securing the cover of Vogue for the fashion magazine’s April issue. While the photos appeared online several days ago, the Internet hasn’t been able to stop talking about it ever since. Sure, we live in a celebrity-obsessed culture that encourages endless commentary – usually negative – of the stars we love and love to hate, the some of the feedback about Kimye’s appearance on Vogue’s pages has been downright nasty and has left the more logical of us wondering one thing: why do we care so much?

Much of the derision about Vogue/Anna Wintour’s decision to allow Kimye to grace the cover seems to be directed towards Kim herself, who many have deemed unworthy of such a high fashion (and therefore high status) shoot. Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar even brought the haterade to a public forum when she tweeted about her decision to cancel her subscription to Vogue following the April cover’s publication online – a message that was favorited and retweeted a combined total of nearly 20,000 times. Some have even speculated that the issue could end up being Vogue‘s undoing.

The idea here seems to be that Kim Kardashian – most famous for her career as a reality star and the whole Ray J sex tape debacle – is not dignified or classy enough to be considered adequate. That’s a bit unfair, to say the least. The idea that fashion is exclusive is in and of itself an outdated idea. While the price point of haute couture and other high end labels certainly excludes much of society based on income alone, the line is drawn there. By saying that Kim Kardashian – who is a celebrity regardless of reason and who is following a long list of celebrities who Vogue allows on the cover every single month – is not worthy of the “high end” feel of the magazine equates her with cheapness. Regardless of your personal feeling on her, I think it’s safe to say that’s most definitely not cool. Nor is the suggestion that the pair “bought” or bullied their way onto the cover, as editor-in-chief Anna Wintour herself insisted:

“Part of the pleasure of editing Vogue, one that lies in a long tradition of this magazine, is being able to feature those who define the culture at any given moment, who stir things up, whose presence in the world shapes the way it looks and influences the way we see it. I think we can all agree on the fact that that role is currently being played by Kim and Kanye to a T. (Or perhaps that should be to a K?)”

“As for the cover, my opinion is that it is both charming and touching, and it was, I should add, entirely our idea to do it; you may have read that Kanye begged me to put his fiancee on Vogue‘s cover. He did nothing of the sort. The gossip might make better reading, but the simple fact of the matter is that it isn’t true.”

There aren’t many occasions on which I thought I’d say this, but I’m with Anna. You don’t have to like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, but you do have to admit that they are everywhere. #worldsmosttalkedaboutcouple ? Maybe not, but certainly one of them, and that carries its own significance. In a culture that values fame and celebrity, wealth and appearance, we cannot nitpick worthiness based on personal preference of the person’s perceived worthiness. Why has there never been an outcry over Rihanna’s appearance on Vogue’s cover? Or Kristen Stewart’s? What about Jennifer Lopez? What differentiates those women from Kim Kardashian? And why isn’t Kanye getting any of the stick here?

It’s clear to me this comes down to the much-held public perception that Kim Kardashian doesn’t actually do anything. She is famous, ostensibly, for living her life and having it filmed – for better or worse. However, to simplify things in such a way ignores some major facts. Kim Kardashian is a businesswoman, whose career takes management and the constant ability to be “on” for a number of hours in a day far exceeding anything you or I could do without cracking under the pressure. She is also a fashion designer, a business owner (can’t forget DASH), has several product endorsements under her belt and has even dabbled in acting. Hardly a no talent wannabe, to me.

The most confusing thing in this whole obsession to me is this: why are we still talking about it? I believe most of us – if not all – were taught the golden rule by our parents as children. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it. By extension, if you don’t like something, move on and look at/ listen to/ be part of something you DO like. I wouldn’t consider myself much of a fan of either Kim or Kanye, but I certainly don’t think it demeans the magazine or lowers its standards by their inclusion in it. Instead, I simply choose not to purchase that issue and I go on about my day. It’s simple – try it.

Featured image via Vogue

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  1. I have to commend you for finally saying what I think a lot of the country thinks. Despite people’s ingrained hate for the Kardashians (which I still don’t fully understand beyond maybe becoming tired of hearing about them constantly), there is a bigger part of the country that is fascinated by and likes them. The Kardashians are interesting. Their father was high profile, the step father is high profile, they have a large family, are very busy people and every one of them is stunning. On top of that, they have been around other wealthy and famous people for much of their lives. They are not these out of place pseudo-celebrities that many people believe them to be. Aside from ALL of that though, is the fact that some people think that one issue merits unsubscribing from a magazine — which, let’s be honest, no one in their right mind would do because subscriptions are prepaid. Maybe I’d make the leap not to renew, but I’m sure 5 issues later, I’d forget all about this cover and happily flip through my glossy. It’s one cover for one article. An article with a spread of beautifully shot images of a family who look amazing in these photos. I think the spread is excellent and the two of them are very fashionable, interesting people. Why can’t they be included?

  2. I do not like Kim for many reasons not including the sex tape. Quick summary of Jlo. she can dance her ass off, make money and is one of the biggest cultural phenemenons in Latin America. She made her money herself, started the perfume trend, IS a fashionista and works hard. Rihanna has broken so many world records, donates to charities, and also has worked her way up to the top. These other ladies may be controversial and sexualized as well but they have talent to go with their covers and prestige. Kim has slept with a lot of wealthy black men, has a sub-par scripted reality show that confirms my beliefs of her narcissism, idiocy and vapidness and I am supposed to applaud her “hard work”? if taking pictures all day and slapping your name on labels of cheap clothing, products and poorly written blogs/books can make me rich and venerated. sign all of us up! No one is perfect but there are so many more reasons to be ashamed that Wintour would believe she defines my culture. Heck no!

  3. You can’t be serious. What’s the difference between Mrs West and Rihanna’s , Kristen Stewart or Jennifer Lopez? Everyone of those women is famous for their contributions to our culture as talented (more or less) artists. Mrs West is merely famous. She is no sort of artist or creator. The problem is that Vogue has long held a place in our culture that was truly elevated above the editorial artistic and cultural concerns of your average edition of People or US Weekly. It represented a certain standard. It was the Harvard to People’s community college. The Rembrandt to US Weekly’s Thomas Kincaid. It was about the “high culture” aspects of fashion as art and commerce. Putting a woman on the cover who’s primary achievement is the ability to pay for the clothes but who also represents an aspect of true rot and decline in our broad collective cultural identity is legitimately, by any measure changing to standard that Vogue represented (no longer).

  4. I really like what you said, “I wouldn’t consider myself much of a fan of either Kim or Kanye, but I certainly don’t think it demeans the magazine or lowers its standards by their inclusion in it. Instead, I simply choose not to purchase that issue and I go on about my day. It’s simple – try it.” I feel the same. People who are choosing to get upset about a magazine cover need to find something else to fill their days with. Good article. You’re not adding to the cycle, you’re encouraging an end to it!

  5. Your article is continuing the conversation. If you want us to stop talking about the Vogue cover, then don’t write an article that will inevitably have numerous responses. It will die out, as all things do. The quicker people with large forums, such as yourselves, stop talking about it, the quicker the public will stop. You’re part of the cycle now.

  6. Kanye West is a hateful, racist, mysogynistic creep. I’m deeply disappointed that Zooey and Giggles would give him one second of attention or exposure. I didn’t read the article. I don’t need to. I’m saddened that it’s even posted!

  7. I’m sure many who comment about Kim and Kanye all like to agree that they “bring nothing to the world”. Excuse me, but in some ways Kim and Kanye are like most Americans I guess you could say – most Americans bring NOTHING to this world. I’ve watched most season up KUWTK and out of boredom watched countless interviews, and I really think they are a hilarious and kind family. They never once seemed like “villains of the universe” as many make them out to be.

  8. No offense, but I read about two paragraphs of this article and it all just sort of started to blend together for me.. The reason people are bothered by Kim and Kanye being on the cover of Vogue is because they are disgusting human beings that contribute absolutely nothing to the fashion world, or anything at all for that matter. By Vogue “promoting” “Kimye,” they are not only promoting mediocrity at best, but they are also promoting the fact that they are jerks, and we should all be in awe over them because they’re “famous” and ignoring what kind of people they are.

    I am among many that agree with Sarah Michelle Gellar in canceling my subscription with them. If I wanted to read about that horribly disgusting “family,” I’d pick up a tabloid, not a fashion magazine.

  9. i don’t get it why people make so much fuss about her appearance on the cover, like you said, she’s a part of the culture, if rihanna, who boasts about smoking weed all-day-all-night via public media, made it to the cover, why shouldn’t kim do it? yeah, she’d made a sex tape which she’s famous of, but there were hundreds of other celebrities that also had theirs and besides, why is it so wrong to have it? everybody has sex, it’s everywhere, so let’s not be hypocrites. since then she went through a real makeover, stopped wearing shitty tacky clothes and became really interested in what’s happening in high fashion and vouge is a fashion magazine so why not?

    and apart from all of it, she looks stunning in those pictures, i can’t take my eyes off her, they are a perfect match for me.

  10. Totally on point. Well said!

  11. Referring to these two as “Kimye” in your article pretty much sums up everything people find wrong with them…

  12. So on point.

    Gina Vaynshteyn | 3/25/2014 08:03 am
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