Kardashian ‘Cosmopolitan’ Cover Outcry: Was The ‘First Family’ Headline Offensive?

Cosmopolitan Magazine stirred up a hornets nest on social media when it called the Kardashians “America’s First Family.” The cover photo of Cosmopolitan’s November 50th Anniversary edition features a “sprawl” of all the Kardashian and Jenner women with a headline, “America’s First Family.” Kris, Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe Kardashian, along with Kendall and Kylie Jenner, wear white button-up shirts and “sultry glares and lavish smiles” in the photo, while the subtitle promises “16 Pages! Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before” about the Keeping Up With the Kardashians stars.

The First Family headline might have been meant as a “teasing” description of the “huge cultural phenomenon” the Kardashian-Jenner clan have become, but plenty of people took the claim very seriously. The headline was taken by some people to be a “deliberate belittling” of the actual First Family, President Obama, First Lady Michelle, and their two daughters, Malia and Sasha.

“Black-oriented media and websites,” in particular, were outspoken in their disapproval of the tag, but outrage spread well beyond media. Twitter has erupted with hundreds of tweets expressing the dismay of people from many cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Twitter user Kenzie isn’t a fan of the Obamas, but she still says “Shame on Cosmopolitan” for their use of the First Family title for the Kardashian clan.

Twitter user Maria Lia Calvo told Cosmopolitan to delete their magazine.

Eric Wolfson said there’s only one First Family of America, and posted a photo of the Obamas just in case his message wasn’t clear that it’s not the Keeping Up With the Kardashians family.

But USA Today reports that Cosmo suggests it’s not so far fetched to imagine the Kardashians as the real First Family, as well as the pop culture one. An emailed statement quoted by USA Today points out that Kim Kardashian’s husband, Kanye West, is still aiming for the White House as President of the United States. The statement, written by Cosmopolitan spokeswoman Lauren Demitry, assures the reader that Cosmo is “teasing,” before going on to defend the editorial choice.

“We are teasing! Though who knows, if Kanye runs for president then we may be soothsayers. The Kardashians and Jenners have more digital followers than any other family, more than 350 million and counting. They are a huge cultural phenomenon. What we do know is there is nothing like the cover of a magazine to provoke a national conversation.”

That’s something to think about!

Kanye’s POTUS plans aren’t high on the Kardashian women’s list of priorities after the Cosmo cover. They’ve been more interested in tweeting and instagramming “their delight” over the photo and articles.

“So excited to be on the November cover with my family!!!!” tweeted Kim Kardashian earlier today, along with a Happy 50th Birthday wish to the Cosmopolitan.

“Excited to share,” tweeted Kylie Jenner, tagging sisters Kim, Khloe, Kourtney and mom Kris.

Kourtney tweeted, “Happy 50th Birthday Cosmopolitan!” along with emoticons of a party hat, a heart, and a birthday cake.

Outside the charmed Kardashian circle, there was less delight. The Grio, a “website focused on the black community,” wondered “just what Cosmo was thinking” to have made such a poor editorial decision. Huffington Post published an analysis of the issue of black erasure on their Black Voices blog. “What Cosmopolitan’s Kardashians Cover Says About Black Erasure in America” called the Cosmo headline one more example of throwing presidential shade, citing a long list of slights from news media. The post mentioned past occurrences of “reporters… who refused to use his official title as President,” and said the Kardashian cover could be seen as a suggestion that there is a more “glamorous and whiter option to the black family seated at the top of the nation.”

Not everyone is upset about the First Family tag. Many fans just enjoy getting a glimpse of the Kardashians, regardless of political fallout.

It remains to be seen whether the whole thing will blow over or cause more than a Twitter tempest. In the meantime, Kim Kardashian was thrilled to reminisce about her early career, and the publicist who told her a Cosmo cover was out of the question.
E! Online reports a conversation with Kim from a clip of recent KUWTK episode.

“Cosmo was my first big magazine I ever did and I had a publicist that I worked with that said, ‘What do you want your career to be?’ And I said, ‘I just wanna be on the cover of Cosmo one day.’ And she looked at me and goes, ‘Kim, let’s be realistic. You’re never going to be on the cover of Cosmo.’ “

[Image via Dimitrios Kambouris / Staff / Getty Images]