the lives of people

a woman was assaulted and robbed early monday morning.

in a culture that’s very not great in discussing violence against women, it’s worth noting how quickly this story has shifted.

and how quickly kardashian herself was to blame.

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this is a story being constructed and told/sold.

that does not necessarily mean the story reflects the reality.

note the dissonance between that headline and this statement.

johanna primevert is stating that kardashian’s notoriety is why she was targeted. that is presented as a fact. it is not necessarily a placement of blame.

and yet the headline- a variation on “she had it coming”- confirms a narrative already in place.

the narrative that kardashian’s assault and robbery were unambiguously her fault.

in the boshoff article of 4 october:

that this happened to kim kardashian matters.

how different it might sound were it about someone else… jennifer aniston or taylor swift or emily blunt- a star with children of approximately the same age as kardashian’s.

that it happened to kardashian it is crucial to this story and why it is being told this particular way.

which is ugly…

and puritanical…

and revels in the details of kardashian’s rise to fame while simultaneously condemning her for it.

disapproving of not just kardashian’s leveraging of her life to make money…

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but, more generally, her financial success. img_4363

which is portrayed as being facilitated by deceit and artifice rather than any actual business sense. img_4364

which is inaccurate. to say that she is “untroubled by any obvious talent” is disingenuous.

clearly, she has a hella CANNY business sense.

the writer just doesn’t approve of the way in which she has made her money. (i have written repeatedly about how women’s work is culturally discounted as work.)

would that business sense were something we could appreciate in celebrity women.

instead we must be content with princesses.

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but how much of this is show?

the daily mail‘s columnist and kardashian’s biographer, who is quoted in this mail article at length, seem to take the surface for granted, accepting that kardashian is exactly as she portrays herself on television and online. that kardashian is a princess and her life is exactly as she reveals it to be.

there is only acceptance that there’s nothing more to kim kardashian than her image and criticism that that image is lacking.

this strikes me as outrageously naive. as does the fact that there is no suggestion that we- you, me, all these morally outraged columnists, supreme court justice stephen breyer– bear any blame in this. that, in consuming all of the stories of all of the kardashians lives for a decade, however casually, we have in any way used them.

they give themselves to us, yes, but we take them in. even if it is only to deplore everything they stand for, we take them in.

we have made them who we want them to be.

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we use people.

this is the value of celebrities and the value of stories of lives.

it is also, at times such as this, something that can be revealed to be deeply ugly.

in kardashian’s case it seems we have made her a lightening rod for everything we hate about women- their bodies, their confused attitudes towards feminism, their work, their marriages, their lives.

she provides the plots, yes, but we buy them and we make them our own.

she uses her life to sell products. we consume her life as a product.

there is no suggestion in the daily mail‘s article that when kardashian “flaunts her wealth and numerous mansions, while her social media accounts are an orgy of thousand-pound dresses, flashy cars and outlandish parties,” it is a performance intended for an audience.

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it is as though the performance is the only possible reality and we, the audience, do not exist.

and yet, we do.

kardashian’s entire career is premised on our existence.

the question then becomes whether her life is as well.

conventional knowledge would probably suggest that it is.

however, as a biographer, i find the silence on kardashian’s twitter since sunday compelling.

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it speaks to the extent of the performance she has been giving.

and it testifies to its limits.

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a woman was assaulted and robbed early monday morning.

our telling of that story- whether it is about the most famous woman in the world or some anonymous woman somewhere in america- sucks. and that is on us.

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One thought on “the lives of people

  1. Pingback: kim kardashian: dumped! | finding jackie

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