When you think of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, you don’t think politics. But despite their humble beginnings, the past couple years have seen America’s so-called “royal family” exercising their varied political opinions in more ways than one, and the effect has been to transcribe them even more deeply into American culture.
Kendall Jenner, arguably the family’s most talented and least controversial figure, has long been a spokesperson for Rock The Vote, and this year is no different.
With a platform of millions (her Instagram account alone is followed by a whopping 37.2 million people and her Twitter boasts 12.5 million), Kendall uses her status as a model and as a young woman to inspire others like her to exercise their fundamental right to vote. She also places herself within the narrative of the fight for female suffrage in America, emphasizing that women should vote in order to honor the women who fought, starved, and were punished for the right that we may take for granted.
The video above shows Kendall being changed by a small team, out of suffragette clothing and into modern clothing, outlining her link, as an American woman, to her suffragist ancestors. Kendall’s, and Rock The Vote’s, message is clear: women are all inheritors of the legacy of the suffragette movement, and there is no excuse not to exercise the freedom that they fought for and paid for.
Followers of Kendall will be reminded of her short video taken during last year’s hectic Milan Fashion Week, from which she took time off to be registered to vote, at 18 years old, for the first time:
The Independent Journal released the video above, “A Brief History of Suffragettes, Featuring Kendall Jenner” alongside an article that explored the political influence exercised by the five sisters, Kanye West, and their famous parents.
Combined, the most widely-known and recognized political candidates for president, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders, don’t even come close to the amount of reach, here measured in followers, that just one of these five sisters enjoy. Sure, they use that reach to promote themselves, and why should they not? They also feature paid sponsorships, but they undoubtedly use their platform to raise their voices on political issues.
The result of this tendency is unusual, but not surprising: political candidates, instead of scoffing at the fame and power of the Kardashians, are now using their platform in order to gain a larger audience of their own.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have regained the respect of President Barack Obama after Obama called West a “jackass” in 2009 and implied that the couple was lazy in 2013. Kim has thrown in her support for Hillary Clinton by characteristically posting a selfie with the presidential candidate in August, using her preferred method: social media. The Kardashians don’t need the exposure: Clinton just might, however.
Kim especially is using her platform to call attention to the Armenian Genocide, which is still unrecognized by the American government. She was treated as a dignitary when she visited the country in 2015, on the 100th anniversary of the event. She also wrote an op-ed for Time magazine urging the president to use the word “genocide.” In it, she wrote:
There aren’t that many Armenians in this business. We have this spotlight to bring attention to it, so why would we just sit back?
Now is the time to speak out, and every little bit helps. I will continue to ask the questions and fight for the genocide to be recognized for what it was.
And, of course, Kanye West (alongside Taylor Swift) is apparently running for president in 2020. #KanTay2020
In so many other ways we see this family embedding themselves not only in popular, “low” culture, but in the very fabric of American society. Kendall Jenner’s face is the face of the Rock The Vote movement, and it’s clear that she, as well as her older sisters, are not going away anytime soon.
It’s time we started paying them mind for their opinions, not just their well-publicized antics.