The Kardashians Are Not Your Role Models
Kim Kardashian recently appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone and within the pages of that magazine lay an interesting, thought-provoking and in-depth interview about the most controversial of pop culture icons. Kim has been ruffling feathers ever since she appeared on the scene in 2007, and she hasn’t stopped since.
In the Rolling Stone interview, Kardashian cited her notoriety and asserted her freedom to do what makes her happy. She said:
I don’t like to push my view…If I feel something, it’s how I feel. I never say, ‘I feel this way, so you should feel that way.’ Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but I just am who I am.
Basically, she’s not your role model and she doesn’t want to be.
Kylie Jenner, another one of the clan who is constantly criticized for her choices (and just so you know, it was very difficult for me not to replace all those C’s in the previous sentence with K’s!). She also expressed the same desire to be left alone and to not be regarded by the world as a role model for girls. On her Twitter she wrote:
I’m not here to try & encourage people/young girls to look like me or to think this is the way they should look. (Cont…)
— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) April 21, 2015
I want to encourage people/young girls like me to be YOURSELF & not be afraid to experiment w your look. ??????
— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) April 21, 2015
There’s some wisdom in that. Even though you may disagree with what Kylie does with her hair, lips and body, it’s nobody’s business but her own. She never presents herself as a role model for others to emulate. Others place her in that role. And that’s problematic.
There’s also Kendall Jenner, who says she’s aware that her followers, who are young, impressionable girls, look up to her, but that she won’t censor herself (or her Instagram) to suit the sensibilities of other people. In other words, she is who she is. She won’t change.
If there’s one thing I hear about the Kardashians all the time, it’s how their behavior is setting a bad example for young girls and women. I find issue with this, because it seems as if every woman in the public eye is automatically scrutinized and their behavior parsed, simply because the media and the public have placed them, against their will, into the role of “role model.”
It may be a uniquely female phenomenon. When a male actor or star does something naughty with their bits or they say something foolish, the media doesn’t jump to saying or writing, “Hark! He is a role model for young boys! What will the young men of American do now because Brad Pitt wore a tight suit to the Oscars? Doesn’t he respect his body? For shame!”
Nope. It doesn’t happen.
It’s always women in the media who are forced into the role model box and trapped there. And it’s often the Kardashians breaking free of the box, asserting the fact that they don’t want you to act like they act. They’ve never wanted that.
When the horrific Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge took over social media, Kylie was the one to condemn it with the above Twitter statement. Whenever Kim strips off, the media is the first to slut-shame, leaving her to ask constantly, “Can I live?!” And when Kendall goes nude because it’s literally her job, there is no shortage of people telling her she’s a bad influence on girls.
I think it’s time to stop and think about this. It’s insulting to women, and it’s insulting to the Kardashians, and to any woman whose behavior is constantly monitored and eviscerated in the media just for expressing her personality.
When we blame the Kardashians for setting poor examples for women and girls, we’re really saying that girls have no choice but to follow their examples, as if girls have no independent thought or ability to make their own decisions. We’re telling girls that their role models should be reality TV stars. We’re condemning expression of sexuality.
Women, both famous and not, should be free to explore their bodies, experiment with their choices, make terrible mistakes, do stupid things, and not feel so much pressure to conform and act perfectly just so that they can feel like they’re not disappointing young women. They should be free to do whatever they want, without hurting anybody, and without the judgment of the world.
The Kardashians are not your role models. If you admire them for their actions, that’s wonderful. If you hate them and want them to disappear and never return, I suggest turning off all social media and possibly unplugging your TV and never talking to anybody ever again. If you’re a young girl and you’re looking at Kim, Kylie or Kendall and admire them for how they look or act, that’s okay. But I don’t have to tell you that you don’t have to act like they do.
In fact, the only thing about the Kardashians that should be emulated is their give-no-f*cks attitude. They don’t care what you think. They do what makes them happy.