Kim Kardashian is not a singer. Kim Kardashian is not an actress. Kim Kardashian is not a dancer. Despite that, “Kimmie” is one of the most recognizable celebrities in the world.
So how did a woman in her mid-twenties in 2007 go from appearing in a sex tape, to No. 33 on the Forbes “Top 100 Highest Earning Celebrities of 2015?
Is Kim Kardashian just an object of attraction selling sex for cash? Or is there more to her that we don’t know/don’t care to find out?
With the inheritance her late father Robert Kardashian left her, Kim Kardashian could have easily lived the life of a privileged social butterfly for the rest of her days. Instead, she decided to carve out her own piece of the American dream. She made a few mistakes along the way but found a way to persevere. In doing so, she realized the power of the female body and used her own to help the marketing her brands, as well as turning herself into a brand in the process and her daughter into a #Kimoji.
In 2002, a 21-year-old Kim Kardashian started her own eBay store. It was there that her entrepreneurial spirit took flight as her keen eye for fashion opened her eyes to a world of possibilities. Her eBay store was stocked with high-end fashion items she discovered online. It proved to be a successful venture and the first of many to come. The Kim Kardashian of 2016 now owns or is associated with fashion apparel, accessories, home décor, nail polish, the game app Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, the E! show: Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Kimoji’s, and the domination of social media with over 100 million followers on Twitter and Instagram combined.
Some believe Kim Kardashian is just a pretty face who bares her breasts and her bottom in order to rake in the cash. The truth is, Kardashian sells more than just sex, but sex is also a big part of what she sells, but the reason some don’t like her and don’t consider her a role model could be her words, her personality, her constant appearance in the news and on television, her sex tape, alleged sham wedding, etc. The Richest reported that actors John Hamm and Daniel Craig have publicly called her a “f*****g idiot”, while Jonah Hill had a more in-depth analysis, “The fact that the Kardashians could be more popular than a show like Mad Men is disgusting. It’s a super disgusting part of our culture, but I still find it funny to make a joke about it.” While Hill’s analysis may be true, it can be said that it takes a certain level of intelligence to profit off the “disgusting part of our culture” he speaks of.
Kardashian could prove her harshest critics wrong if she decides to take the more difficult path once again. Who knows what the 35-year-old entrepreneur will do next. Many would have never predicted she would be where she is today after making a sex tape in 2007. Hopefully, she continues to grow as a person and reach out to those less fortunate than her. Perhaps she could set up scholarship programs for women pursuing careers in business. Perhaps she could become a part of the wage gap discussion between the sexes. There are many possibilities that could make her even more popular in a more positive light going forward.
While Kim Kardashian might not be the poster girl for feminism, given the fact that she is in control of her body, business, and life, and tries to empower women, perhaps she’s not as far away from it as many people would think.
Back to the role model discussion; my immediate impulse is to say that Kim Kardashian is not a role model, but then I think about the fact that she started her own business at 21, made some questionable decisions, said some questionable things, but eventually found her way and exceeded many expectations. In terms of redemption, persistence and business-savvy, I think she possesses these qualities, but a role model in the general sense of the word — not yet — I still can’t overlook the sex tape the way sports hall of fame selection committees can’t overlook player using steroids to get an edge. Despite that, I believe she is much more than just an object of attraction and merchant of sex, but as of now, I’m not willing to call her a role model, are you?
[Photo by Jordan Strauss/AP Images]