By Channey Williams–
I love Kim Kardashian. You read that right. Love. Her.
In an article by Refinery29.com, the question of whether Kim Kardashian will ever be wholly accepted into the fashion industry was put forth. The question was simple; would Kim Kardashian ever be taken seriously by the professional fashion world, and if not, why?
Kim has mothered fashion outlets, selling shoes, clothes and various fashion accessories. All of these outlets have proven to do very well, and have proven to do so in outside markets. Before her sex tape, Kim was a fashion advisor and was a personal friend of Paris Hilton.
In contrast, Nicole Richie, equally famous for being a friend of Paris Hilton, has been wholly accepted into the fashion industry. It cannot be ignored that Nicole and Paris are both white Americans. It could not simply be a coincidence that despite all three tarnishing fame in a similar style, the two women with the most anglophilic physical appearances—blonde, straight hair, light colored eyes, slim body build, small facial features—are the ones given a pass on the social litmus test.
Things that were often seen as cute or doting when done by Nicole and Paris are often seen as trashy in the hands of the Kardashians.
Kim Kardashian finds herself in the “YOLO paradigm.” The paradigm theory holds that social fads go through a set of descending stages once the fad is held in regard within a minority community. The stages begin with a creation of legitimacy, followed by a rise of popularity among normative society, then a decline into disapproval and a loss of legitimacy, then finally ending in the thing being given a bad connotation.
Anything that is within, accepted, used or associated with the community begins to slope and eventually falls out of favor. The closer a thing or person is to “blackness,” or the further they are from “whiteness,” the more chance it has to fall into the paradigm.
The name refers to the acronym “YOLO,” which stands for “you only live once.” The acronym was often given a positive light; originally it was attributed to white American actress Mae West, and later it was appropriated after being used by Drake.
It was later caught in the center of a “YOLO is stupid” movement that was started on Facebook by white hipsters in Tapout t-shirts that thought they were so progressive for bashing something they didn’t come up with. So, you know, pretty much what happened with twerking, baggy pants, Malcom X, Black History Month, traditional African “tribal” cloth print, the NAACP and dreadlocks.
In the true fashion of a modern patriarchal social norm, Kim was criticized for her rise to fame which started with her making and releasing a sex tape with Ray Jay. However, in 2009, Ray Jay was given a TV show entitled “For The Love Of Ray Jay” in response to his heightened fame garnished from the sex tape made with Kim Kardashian.
Ray Jay received little, if any, of the criticism made to Kim for the exact same action. However, when Kim’s success began to surpass that of a man—Ray Jay—and more importantly, when other women began to follow in her footsteps, making themselves financially successful off of their sexuality, the conversation was rekindled. Could a woman be both openly and overtly sexual and professionally viable?
By all accounts, Kim and the rest of the Kardashians proved that this was true. The Kardashian family has created an empire from a thing most commonly considered a thing of shame for women. Instead, the sex tape is openly popularized and advertised and used as a tool and key into the open market.
Would the reaction and criticism they often receive be the same if the Kardashians were white men? This move by the Kardashian family is the kingpin of neo-feminism in a world where sexuality and femininity are often pinned against each other.
The argument is pretty stupid. Of course women can have both a strong sense of sexuality and a strong sense of self in the same way a man can both have a strong sense of sexuality and a strong sense of self. They’re both human, that’s pretty much what being human means.
Personally, I love Kimmy K. She’s definitely one of my top role models, because she follows three simple rules: 1. There is nothing wrong with my mind. 2. There is nothing wrong with my body. 3. My money, my body, my mind, my rules.
And anyway, life’s too short to be controlled by some overseeing oppressive social structure, so you know, YOLO.
Image courtesy of businessinsider.com