In a new profile for GQ’s cover story on Kim Kardashian, Caity Weaver delves deeply into the superficial life of the woman/commodity about whom she argues—rather convincingly—“not only does she live the American Dream; she has also managed to re-invent it.” Kardashian has taken the debits and assets she’s been given, Weaver writes—“murder, a sex tape, spray tanner, and an ass that simply refuses to quit”—and transformed them into a successful multimedia brand that’s redefined the act of relentless, graceless self-promotion and gratuitous nudity as admirable, body-positive, sociopolitical and artistic statements. And somehow, those who chafe against her being celebrated for fostering the idea of absolute self-centeredness as an aspirational goal, or mock her for “doing nothing” or “just getting naked all the time,” they only make her brand stronger and themselves seem part of a distant past. They’re the ones who are attacked by Kim’s online army as sad, jealous haters hiding fecklessly behind their outdated notions about what a strong, modern woman can be.
You know what? Fuck this. Fuck all of this.
Fuck this notion that Kim Kardashian represents any sort of strong example for the modern anything. Yes, she has taken ownership of her body and her nakedness and refused to be shamed; these are empowering qualities that everyone can and should possess, without any need to give Kim Kardashian money to promote them. But we seem all too willing to ignore that Kim Kardashian is a carefully constructed facsimile of a person who would readily sneer at you, your body, and the garbage rags you use to drape it if you were ever face to face, and not some sort of modern-day champion of people who aren’t her or her immediate relatives. She became famous by hanging around with Paris Hilton, for Christ’s sake, a thoroughly documented awful person who turned an entire generation into selfie-taking, duckface-making, status-obsessed assholes.
Being super into yourself is not empowering, goddamnit; it’s obnoxious. Vanity is one of the cardinal sins for a reason, because it makes the planet impossible to live in when every single person believes they’re the only ones on it. Yet she and her goddamn family have turned it into a career and a lifestyle that millions aspire to, and that, increasingly, earns her glowing, sympathetic profiles in which she’s held up as someone to be admired. Fuck that.
And while you may have a different definition of “strong” or “independent,” the reality is that Kim Kardashian lives a rarified, hermetically sealed life the likes of which has no precedent in contemporary existence, where her every movement, conversation, and relationship is scripted, recorded, and maximized for profit, and her every decision has to be weighed in committee like a congressional bill. GQ’s profile—funny and entertaining as it often is—depressingly documents this shadow of a person’s meticulous airbrushing of their entire life: Kim says she deletes all of her texts and emails “before bed” every single night. She spends most of her waking moments on the process of “approvals”—flipping through large binders of photos of herself and X-ing out ones she doesn’t like, or reviewing videos for her app. (She has to delete a line where she says she “loves” George W. Bush, saying, “I just think he’s cute.”) She waxes romantically about trying on clothes for hours at a time in her closet, while Kanye and she argue about what she should wear.
In the most telling glimpse into this life as a living doll who is, bravely, occasionally granted autonomy over her dresses, Kim phones Kanye and asks what, if anything, upsets him about her. After dithering for several minutes about what characteristic of his wife could possibly stir an emotional response, Kanye reportedly responds that “sometimes a designer will e-mail Kim a sketch of an ensemble and Kanye will request to see it; on occasion Kim forgets to forward the e-mail, so Kanye must ask again and again.”
The sole point of conflict in this ostensibly human relationship is about his receiving timely blueprints for her exterior façade, and still theirs is a romance that others will gladly step up and defend to the last, the moment anyone derides it. Their fans nakedly aspire to the kind of wealth and fame that would allow them to spend all their time thinking only about themselves—and at the same time, they also join them in pitying them for the very scrutiny that Kim and Kanye invite because they know it’s the only thing that sustains them. This is a couple who openly, proudly admit to recording nearly every single moment of their lives, yet there are thousands of people who are willing to feel sorry for them whenever they go off on one of their rants about their desire to be left alone, or whenever someone writes an article—like this one!—questioning whether they might actually just be awful, manipulative people.
Fuck this. Fuck this stupid, recently adopted idea that you’re only allowed to address this kind of insane level of self-regard with a note of admiration for how “unapologetic” it is. These are proud, self-avowed megalomaniacs whose most definable trait is talking about how much better they are then everyone around them, yet people eagerly applaud them for it. They are the reason so many live their lives like they’re a human Twitter feed, squabbling over petty beefs and mistaking loud egotism for self-esteem. They are the reason that Donald Trump is a viable candidate for president, and social media is swarming with indignant, easily riled brats. Fuck them and fuck everyone who wants to be them.
They are also the reason every celebrity news source in your feed today—in between updates on the rest of their family “clapping back” at people you shouldn’t have to know over things you’d never heard about until now—is absolutely cluttered with breathless reports pulled from this very interview. Most obviously, the portion where Kardashian addresses—again—the lyric of Kanye’s song where he suggests he and Taylor Swift might have sex because he made her famous. Fuck this also, and the ensuing “drama” doubly so. We have been dissecting this tired shit for seven years now, yet once again we’re swapping scraps of quotes from Kardashian saying Swift did approve the line—and even asked that footage of their alleged phone call be destroyed—followed by a lengthy, publicist-supplied statement from Swift that concludes, “Taylor cannot understand why Kanye West, and now Kim Kardashian, will not just leave her alone.”
Because they can’t, that’s why. They know they can’t—and we can’t. We can’t because we apparently have no better way in this fucked-up era to have a frank and public discussion about sexism than through this intentionally drawn-out, mutually beneficial, he said/she said argument over one of the dumbest lines ever committed to a popular song, or through a “feud” perpetrated by two of the most successful artists in modern music—artists who will now get days of free publicity by the world standing around like a bunch of catty high schoolers, oohing and ahhing over secondhand gossip.
It’s just like we apparently have no better way to filter what it means to have an American dream than Weaver’s suggestion that, as seen in Kim Kardashian, it’s someone who “turned less into more.” You can’t possibly get any “less” than the empty-by-design existence of Kim Kardashian, yet we’ve written more words about her on this website than any other subject combined—and that was even before this hissy 1,000-word screed about how we don’t want to do it anymore. That’s the “American dream” of Kim Kardashian, we suppose. And we’re fucking sick of it.
Fuck this. Fuck it all.