While eating lunch with a friend at work last night, we had the bad luck to catch about three minutes of the Kardashian show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, or whatever the heck the name of that show is. In any case, we both agreed that our IQs had been lowered just in those few short minutes. Thankfully we had the good sense to cut off the TV before any more brain cells were lost.
I’ve railed against what I call the Kardashian Phenomenon on this blog before, but today I feel like I must address it again, this time as a central theme.
What, you may ask, is the Kardashian Phenomenon? It is, in my mind, the phenomenon in the modern world in which certain people have become celebrities for no apparent reason whatsoever, other than being wealthy. Since Kim Kardashian is easily the best example of this phenomenon, I’ve named it after her, although Paris Hilton certainly gives her a run for her money.
For years I’ve been trying to figure out why anyone gives two hoots about what these “women” are doing with their pathetic lives, & I’ve yet to unravel the mystery. As one of my favorite rock stars, Rick DeJesus (lead singer of Adelita’s Way) so eloquently stated in an interview a few years ago, “You’ve got these amazing rock singers, & the reality TV stars have now become more famous than the biggest rock stars in the world. It boggles my mind that America is letting that happen to rock music. It boggles my mind that Kim Kardashian, who has no talent at all, is more famous than Brent Smith, one of the best singers probably ever to live . . . You’ve got someone like Kim Kardashian — these people, they do nothing! There’s no talent. What’s their talent? Getting f***ed?” (for the entire interview, see http://www.rockedition.com/interviews/artist-interviews/interview-with-rick-dejesus-of-adelitas-way/) Forgive me if that sounds crude, but it is truly the reality of the matter, & the world needs to face it!
This entire phenomenon makes me cherish even more a certain P!nk song called “Stupid Girls.” I actually didn’t know the song when it was released back in 2006, but a friend of mine introduced me to it sometime in the past year or two, & I instantly fell in love because it seems as relevant now as it was when it debuted.
[As an aside, one could argue that P!nk might not be the ideal role model for young women, but she’s certainly a hell of a lot better than any other female pop star of the past two decades (other than perhaps Taylor Swift who has sadly crossed firmly into the pop arena). I particularly like P!nk’s songs about female empowerment such as “So What,” “U & Ur Hand,” (although it kills me that she didn’t just name it “You & Your Hand”!!!) & of course “Stupid Girls.” In a world where most female pop stars make themselves out to be little (if anything) more than sexual objects, P!nk has certainly taken a different approach. To this day when a “man” makes me feel uncomfortable by staring at me or making indiscreet remarks, the words of “U & Ur Hand” run through my mind & make me feel just a little bit less marginalized.]
If you don’t know “Stupid Girls”, here’s a sample of some of my favorite lyrics from the song:
What happened to the dreams of a girl president?
She’s dancing in the video next to 50 Cent
They travel in packs of two or three
With their itsy bitsy doggies & their teeny-weeny tees
Where, oh where, have the smart people gone?
Oh where, oh where could they be?
Maybe if I act like that, that guy will call me back
Porno Paparazzi girl, I don’t wanna be a stupid girl
Maybe if I act like that, flipping my blond hair back
Push up my bra like that, I don’t wanna be a stupid girl
I’m so glad that I’ll never fit in
That will never be me
Outcasts & girls with ambition
That’s what I wanna see
Now I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t think all women need to be CEOs, doctors, lawyers, or anything like that in order to avoid being “stupid girls” or part of the despicable Kardashian Phenomenon. Clearly not everyone is meant to have such a career. It’s really not about a career anyway; it’s about a mentality, a mentality that worships women who are famous for doing absolutely nothing, other than being wealthy. And it’s not even like these women are wealthy because of something interesting THEY did, like writing a novel, becoming an athlete, or running a company. No, girls like Kim Kardashian & Paris Hilton are wealthy because they inherited their money from their fathers! Yes, they may have expanded their wealth based on their ridiculous TV shows, sex tapes, & other “ventures,” but I dare someone to tell me how any of these things has added any real value to the world. You’re kidding yourself if you think they have.
I consider myself a feminist, but I’m not so worried about having a female president, although that would be nice (but I’m not about to vote for someone just because she’s a woman), as I am about what the Kardashian Phenomenon is teaching girls & young women about our society. Little girls who grow up seeing their moms, aunts, friends, & other role models watching the Kardashian show or other such trash are surely being sent some rather screwed up messages about the definition of success, especially as someone of the female persuasion.
When I was growing up, all the way until I went to college, I was very sheltered which definitely has its advantages & disadvantages, & I do plan to raise my kids a bit differently in some ways (& not so differently in others). But I will say I am so glad that I did not grow up in the era of the Kardashian Phenomenon, although Britney Spears was certainly bad enough. Indeed when I was a little girl I dreamed of being a writer, a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, & traveling the world as a National Geographic photographer. Sure I wanted to be pretty, & trust me, especially as a teen, I spent hours agonizing over my appearance sometimes, & I honestly don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. After all, we think nothing of guys spending hours in the gym honing their physique in an attempt to attract girls’ attention. (For the record, it is often very obvious which guys are kicking ass at the gym just for the sake of the ladies & which ones are there because they truly care about looking good & being healthy for their own sake as well. And the latter are far more attractive!)
But the point is my greatest goals were never about becoming rich or famous, marrying a millionaire (or even marriage at all), or becoming some kind of sex symbol for America. It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with being rich or famous or even with being a sex symbol in some way. After all, if you do become rich & famous for whatever reason, as long as you’re not Godzilla, you’re probably going to become some kind of sex symbol whether you like it or not. It’s just the way the world works & that’s not necessarily bad; it’s just human nature.
Again, the point is that girls (& boys) need to grow up with greater ambitions than becoming the next Kim Kardashian or owning countless designer purses that cost more than some people’s monthly wages.
So, ladies, I beg of you, if you want a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T, stop watching the Kardashians. Stop spending a thousand dollars on a purse (unless you REALLY have that kind of money to blow & nothing better to do with it). Wear as much or as little make-up as you like, but either way do it because it makes YOU happy, not because of who it will attract. And if you own Paris Hilton’s book or any of the countless magazines featuring her or Kim or any other such idiots, kindly throw them in the fire or the paper shredder & watch your IQ soar.
If by chance I’ve offended you, I’m sorry but I’m not sorry.
**P.S. Here’s the link to P!nk’s “Stupid Girls”