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March 24, 2014 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Why is Kim Kardashian on the cover of April Vogue? In an uncharacteristically verbose and thoughtful entry, Go Fug Yourself considers the motivations of Anna Wintour, Kris Jenner, Kanye West, and the audience they're all aiming for.
posted by psoas (158 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I thought Vogue has been going downhill lately and just wants to focus on selling more magazines.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:11 PM on March 24


Three people who are major self-marketers brokered a deal. A lot of the linked post seems to be essentially concern over what Vogue is doing to its brand mixed with a bit of weirdly classist upset that Kim Kardashian's successful style of self-marketing is more vulgar than Anna Wintour's.

It's very interesting, not least because the author is a sort of haute couture ideologue.
posted by kewb at 1:13 PM on March 24 [7 favorites]


Why is Kim Kardashian on the cover of April Vogue?
Fixed.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:14 PM on March 24 [41 favorites]


I'm really looking forward to seeing the sales numbers for this issue.

I don't have particularly strong feelings about Kim or Vogue, but the Big American Fashion Bible put an interracial couple on the cover. That a huge step forward. The last time they did it was that cringeworthy Lebron-Gisele thing.
posted by troika at 1:16 PM on March 24


I'm an unabashed admirer of Kim Kardashian (not a fan, which is something different in my mind). I thought Haley Mlotek did a good job contextualizing this cover and what the recent string of covers might mean for Vogue as a brand.
posted by muddgirl at 1:18 PM on March 24 [8 favorites]


The convenience store that I use sells "Kim Kardashian" scented incense. I am taking a pass on that.
posted by thelonius at 1:18 PM on March 24


> The convenience store that I use sells "Kim Kardashian" scented incense. I am taking a pass on that.

It probably smells like this.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:21 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


get rich and die buying

Most succinct encapsulation since "For sale, baby shoes. Never used."
posted by tilde at 1:24 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


The Card Cheat - I have also seen "Money House Blessing" aerosol spray. I guess you walk through your house, spraying it, until you get money.
posted by thelonius at 1:25 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


I'm an unabashed admirer of Kim Kardashian

What earned her your admiration?
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:26 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I guess you walk through your house, spraying it, until you get money.

I think you misunderstood who gets the money.
posted by k5.user at 1:30 PM on March 24 [11 favorites]


What earned her your admiration?

For me, I'd probably need to get paid more money than she does to be put on public display for ridicule and get followed by cameras all day. So there's that. Mostly the cameras thing though; really I have no idea how much I'm being publicly ridiculed as it is.
posted by Hoopo at 1:34 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


Why is this an issue? Like, at all? I feel like the author REALLY just wanted to write EW KIM KARDASHIAN POOR PEOPLE LIKE HER EWWW.

And yes, I read the article.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 1:38 PM on March 24 [10 favorites]


Man, there's a whole lot of conspiracy going on with that hard-to-parse Victoria Beckham/Anna Wintour bit.

Someone I know works in fashion, and snapped this shot last year of Wintour sitting next to David Beckham and his daughter at a Victoria Beckham show. Maybe it's an oversimplification because I'm hardly in the fashion scene for realz, but if Wintour really hated Beckham, would she sit next to their kid at their fashion show? Hah, yeah right.

Wintour put Kanye+Kardashian on the cover because they're a big deal, and people talk about em'. That's the damn business, ya heard.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:42 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


Why is this an issue? Like, at all?

There are lots of celebrity / pop-culture kerfuffles about which I feel that, but I can usually parse out why the people who do care care and why it's an issue to them. This one, though, has got me utterly confounded. I've come across lots of outraged responses here and there and yet...famous celebrity couple on cover of Vogue? What could possibly be more "dog bites man" than that? I really am nonplussed.

Still, no doubt it's good for Vogue in a "no such thing as bad publicity" way. When was the last time anyone gave two hoots about who was featured on Vogue's cover (as opposed to how they're featured: too fat, too thin, too retouched etc. etc.).
posted by yoink at 1:55 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


It's very interesting, not least because the author is a sort of haute couture ideologue.

Yeah, this is the most interesting thing about it to me, too. The only word I can really think of to describe the combination of reverence for power and anxious scrutiny of its decision-making here is "Kremlinology" — this Fug author seems to want to treat Vogue the way Foreign Policy treats a major power.

To me it seems comical and a little disturbing, in an absurdist way, to attach this level of seriousness of argumentation to the decision of what goes on a magazine cover — like maybe the society of the spectacle in which this piece is so incredibly invested is what really deserves the serious attention at this point, rather than the quibbling over exactly which spectacle might merit what level of cultural cachet? But obviously there's an audience out there for it, people deeply interested in this form of pseudo-criticism, unpacking and armchair-quarterbacking the semiotics of the marketing and publicity spectacle. Why, I couldn't say and would be interested to hear.
posted by RogerB at 1:58 PM on March 24 [8 favorites]


What earned her your admiration?

The first time I noticed her as something more than a reality TV star was when I was looking for work-out videos to stream on Netflix. The Kim Kardashian (Butt Body Sculpt?) video was so smart and delightfully on-brand. I'm not saying she's on the same level as Sally Ride or Florence Nightingale, but I do think she can teach a master class on profiting from a system that was built to profit off her.
posted by muddgirl at 2:02 PM on March 24 [21 favorites]


I guess for me the question is, why WOULDN'T they be on the cover of Vogue? They are the "it" thing right now, and that's what Vogue is all about. Yes, Kim Kardashian makes "klothes that are sold at Sears", but that doesn't mean she isn't what people who buy magazines want to see.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 2:14 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


muddgirl, that Mlotek piece was an excellent expansion of this conversation. The one time I didn't check The Awl!

I stay pretty far from pop culture, so I don't have any real idea why either of these people are famous anyway, which I guess is good.

Ms. Kardashian's "origin story" is touched on, somewhat obliquely, in the main link; she's mostly famous as a TV star now. Mr. West is one of the highest-selling and most critically-lauded American musicians of the past decade.

posted by psoas at 2:16 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


She's no more or less vapid than many others they've put on the cover. It's not like she's been elected pope or something: she's been stuck on the cover of a magazine - just like she apparently has been for years going by my supermarket checkout line.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 2:17 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I must be more out of touch than I thought, because I really don't get why this is a big deal.

I mean, I get it, Anna Wintour is a notorious queen bee who has already established that the likes of Kim Kardashian Do Not Belong, so...ZOMG, what's up with this cover!?

But, uh...fashion magazine creates a big gossip-generating publicity stir by featuring an attractive young female celebrity who is "controversial" according to the intricate gossipy logic of celebrity hierarchies. And other celebrities fall for this bait and get all hot and bothered about it? Really? Are we actually in high school here?
posted by desuetude at 2:30 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


I think this cover is great, because now I have another notch on my yardstick to show how vapid and without merit Vogue - and most of American pop culture - has always been, and continues to be. I will add - with gusto - that this cover contributes a new low point to said heretofore mentioned vapidity.
posted by Vibrissae at 2:37 PM on March 24


What about this cover contributes a new low point to said heretofore mentioned vapidity?
posted by muddgirl at 2:39 PM on March 24


Why is Kim Kardashian on the cover of April Vogue?
Fixed.


When a mama Kardashian and a papa Kardashian really love each other....
posted by cosmic.osmo at 2:40 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


To me it seems comical and a little disturbing, in an absurdist way, to attach this level of seriousness of argumentation to the decision of what goes on a magazine cover...

Just wait until you see next months cover!
posted by valkane at 2:43 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I will add - with gusto - that this cover contributes a new low point to said heretofore mentioned vapidity

Yes. I remember when they used to feature only culturally and intellectually significant figures like the Spice Girls. O tempora, o mores!
posted by yoink at 2:51 PM on March 24 [8 favorites]


I mean, I get it, Anna Wintour is a notorious queen bee who has already established that the likes of Kim Kardashian Do Not Belong, so...ZOMG, what's up with this cover!?

I dunno, after the Met Gala last year, I am 100% convinced that Wintour is trolling at this point.

"The theme this year shall be ... PUNK."

*everyone looks ridiculous*

Anna, surveying the carnage : "LOL"
posted by louche mustachio at 2:54 PM on March 24 [7 favorites]


I too found the "klothes at Sears" swipe irksome. I have to admit, their fashion line, from what I've seen when I've gone through Sears, looks pretty reasonable. I don't really see how it's much different than the celebrated "[trendy designer] at TARGET" seasonal excitment which is not condemned; yet both are at the same price point and likely fun, trendy looks for a very large socioeconomic tier. Given that most of the looks dissected by GFY end up watered down to reach the masses, it's really annoying that something at J. Crew would be acceptable but Sears is not. Bottom line: annoying as KK may be, she's made a successful fashion line. And she's definitely one of the happening celebrities of the moment. I fail to see why she's less suitable than other cover choices not primarily known for their high fashion ways or straightforward A-starlet categorization (see: Lebron, Ryan Lochte and other Olympians, Tina Fey).
posted by TwoStride at 2:55 PM on March 24


I had a dream once that me and and Khloe Kardasahian made out on a sidewalk and I've always liked her since then.
posted by josher71 at 3:02 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


What about this cover contributes a new low point to said heretofore mentioned vapidity?

That the most vapid couple in America is on the cover of a vapid fashion magazine.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:02 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


What makes Kimye the most vapid couple in America? Is Vogue vapid because it's a fashion magazine, or is the vapidness separate from the fashion-ness?
posted by muddgirl at 3:12 PM on March 24 [6 favorites]


Tangentially related, but still worth the derail: 99 Percent Invisible: Cover Story
posted by Mchelly at 3:14 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


So, I am sort of into the whole celebrity fashion thing as well as Vogue--I think because I can't afford to sweep about in millions of dollars of couture and diamonds myself--and I think the thing that makes this decision interesting is that Vogue is supposed to be about fashion over celebrity. Sure they throw up some actresses now and then, but they are usually women who are at least nominally part of the high fashion world. Kim is decidedly not a part of that world and doesn't really seem to want to be, to my knowledge. I don't see her wearing designs from the kinds of houses I usually associate with Vogue (Prada, Chanel, etc.)

If Anna really was as opposed as GFY claims, I think the change of heart is an interesting choice on the part of the magazine. Did they just decide to go for all the bucks? Is there some way Kanye swayed Anna? The backstory is the part I am most interested to hear. Financially it makes a lot of sense to me, but I wonder if there's more to it.
posted by chatongriffes at 3:20 PM on March 24


She's no more or less vapid than many others they've put on the cover.

Hell, she's no more or less vapid than Vogue's whole reason for being.

Couture is garbage for monsters.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:21 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I have no personal opinions or feelings about Kim Kardashian, I've never seen her show or heard her talk or read an interview but I do know that she's famously bad at dressing herself. She's been a staple of Most Tacky and Worst Dressed lists for years. I've always had the impression that she could not give less than one fuck about fashion, especially the Vogue "ladylike" couture type of fashion. She seemed firmly planted in the LA club world of tight dresses and lace up pants until very recently.. So there's that.

As far as selling stuff goes, Vogue is happy to feature the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow who can't fart without trying to sell you the organic beans she had for lunch and everyone is fine with that so I don't buy that argument.
posted by fshgrl at 3:24 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


weirdly classist upset that Kim Kardashian's successful style of self-marketing is more vulgar than Anna Wintour's.

What I find interesting about this is the fact that Kim Kardashian and Anna Wintour are of basically the same class background (both come from wealthy and socially prominent families). I don't know if it's an ethnic thing, a brash American vs. posh Brit thing, or what, but there is so much about class between these two people despite the fact that there really shouldn't be.

In an alternate universe, Kim could basically be Anna Wintour.
posted by Sara C. at 3:25 PM on March 24 [12 favorites]


I guess for me the question is, why WOULDN'T they be on the cover of Vogue? They are the "it" thing right now, and that's what Vogue is all about.

In my mind, Vogue is more high-fashion and less sleb gossip, but on the other hand they've had plenty of celebrities on the cover, and Kanye is kind of in a class of his own.

While I throw my hands up at the whole article in general, I do agree with the take that the photo itself is super weird and unimpressive. But then I typically feel that way about Vogue covers not shot by Richard Avedon, so meh.
posted by Sara C. at 3:28 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Couture is garbage for monsters.

I consider couture to be art--it can be social commentary, it can just be beautiful, it can be a showcase of craftsmanship. I think there are tons of problems with body image and class in the fashion industry and I would never want to be part of it, but I appreciate the pieces that are made for runway shows just as much as I appreciate paintings or sculptures. Which is not to say I love them all uncritically. But I am glad they exist.
posted by chatongriffes at 3:30 PM on March 24 [11 favorites]


When a famous person has a public image of being vapid, dumb, trashy, etc - Kardashian, Paris Hilton - and they and their team are successfully using that image to make multimillions - remind me who's dumb in this scenario again?
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 3:35 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


but I do know that she's famously bad at dressing herself. She's been a staple of Most Tacky and Worst Dressed lists for years.

I wonder how much of that is the fact that her body is just not a model/actress/socialite body, and short of major reconstructive surgery it never will be. Hour-glass-shaped bodies in body-conscious clothing always seem to read as trashy and tacky. Here's Kim K in an Alexander McQueen dress and here's a model in that exact same dress.

(The fact that Kardashian seems completely unashamed of her "tacky" proportions is just another reason I admire her. Women with bodies like Kardashian's just don't appear on the cover of fashion magazines.)
posted by muddgirl at 3:37 PM on March 24 [27 favorites]


OK, Kim K and Christina Hendricks, but even she hasn't been on the cover of Vogue.
posted by muddgirl at 3:43 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


When a famous person has a public image of being vapid, dumb, trashy, etc - Kardashian, Paris Hilton - and they and their team are successfully using that image to make multimillions - remind me who's dumb in this scenario again?

They were rich to begin with. So basically they spent a bunch of money so they could get ridiculed by people.
posted by empath at 3:51 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


I think both of my examples turn a profit...
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 3:53 PM on March 24


OK, Kim K and Christina Hendricks, but even she hasn't been on the cover of Vogue.

I was just thinking that it's funny how white Hendricks is classy but multiracial Kardashian is trashy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:54 PM on March 24 [10 favorites]


Why is Kim Kardashian

a question for @KimKierkegaard:
"I will not fool myself with regard to the eternal, or shy away from truth, and I will never conform to your skinny standards sorry!"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:55 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


the Big American Fashion Bible put an interracial couple on the cover. That a huge step forward.

Is it just me or do a lot of people not seem to see them as an interracial couple? I think there's a vague sort of "not-whiteness" to Kim where people don't have the same reaction to her being in relationships with black men as they might if it were, say, Jennifer Lawrence.
posted by MikeMc at 3:56 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I was just thinking that it's funny how white Hendricks is classy but multiracial Kardashian is trashy.

Christina Hendricks is also someone that fashion bloggers usually think can't dress herself, but they label her on the "frumpy" end of the spectrum and wonder why she doesn't wear the girdle-tight clothing that you see on Mad Men.
posted by muddgirl at 4:00 PM on March 24 [7 favorites]


mudgirl,
That McQueen photo set you linked to was painful. Now believe me when I say I fully understand (due to life-long personal experience) how difficult it is to buy women's clothes when you're not built like a 12-year-old boy, but my oh my that dress was just a fashion don't. It was multiple sizes too small on her. Outside of wanting to have that trashy look (and I'm sorry, there is no other description that fits as aptly, although I'm sure she'd call it sexy) there is no reason for wearing wearing a dress like that. That's the aesthetic she's going for. And she's successful at achieving it, but she's certainly not a style icon for anybody interested in a more refined, classy look.
posted by sardonyx at 4:08 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


multiracial Kardashian

Kardashian is one of those figures who shows just how weird and fluid contemporary American constructions of "race" are. If she was someone we'd never heard of and she'd been in, say, that "first kiss" video that did the rounds a while ago, she'd have simply been labeled "white." (There are at least a couple of people as "multiracial" as Kardashian in that video--which did nothing to prevent it being routinely dismissed as featuring "a bunch of white people.") And yet it's certainly true that she also gets constructed as "mixed race." It's interesting to compare, say, this image of KK, with this image of Sophia Loren and ask why we construe one as "multiracial" or "racially ambiguous" and the other and uncomplicatedly "white."
posted by yoink at 4:09 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Showing curves is not "classy"?
posted by divabat at 4:10 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


Happened to watch some episodes of Punk'd (when I was in Dubai and it was about 760 degrees out) and she was in one, getting Punk'd.

She could not have been nicer and more patient with someone she thought was a fan.

She came across as more polite and considerate than a whole helluva lot of people.
posted by ambient2 at 4:12 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


Not the way she's showing them, no. And it's not just about curves. You can be thin and straight as a stick and be equally unclassy. It's all about working with what you have and figuring out what image you want to project.
posted by sardonyx at 4:13 PM on March 24


but my oh my that dress was just a fashion don't

She looks about like every young/fab/striving fashionista type I see in Los Angeles. It's not my aesthetic, but she doesn't look noticeably worse in those photos than any woman I see hitting the clubs in Hollywood on a Saturday night.

Also, who the fuck cares? I mean I know we're talking about Vogue and other sort of baroque fashion rules kinds of contexts, but seriously if Kim Kardashian really likes that outfit and feels beautiful and it works for her, who am I to judge?

The interesting thing is that Lena Dunham wore a similar dress for her recent SNL monologue, and I had a similar thought process to yours (ugh why is she wearing that), and then I remembered Dunham's whole schtick is to just do what she wants to do and not give a shit whether some asshole on Hulu thinks her arms look fat and that's a terrible color on her.

My arms look fat sometimes, too. What of it?
posted by Sara C. at 4:13 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


Has Kim Kardashian ever done anything as ridiculous as get upset over the "wrong" person being on the cover of Vogue?
posted by straight at 4:15 PM on March 24 [14 favorites]


nobody needs her poking around in their skulls

repeated from the article for truth
posted by pyramid termite at 4:19 PM on March 24


Has Kim Kardashian ever done anything as ridiculous as get upset over the "wrong" person being on the cover of Vogue?

O.K., but I got upset in a classy way, and she gets upset in a trashy way. I pull a darling little moue and write a deliciously ironic tweet; she makes a fake gagging gesture and then posts about it on Facebook. Can you believe it?
posted by yoink at 4:20 PM on March 24 [9 favorites]


It was multiple sizes too small on her.

. . . what makes you say that? It's clearly the right size through the shoulders -- the neckline doesn't pucker or skew. There's no fabric pulling across her abdomen or her hips. Her bosom isn't squashed flat. I just don't see any evidence that it's improperly sized.
posted by KathrynT at 4:26 PM on March 24 [15 favorites]


/I wonder how much of that is the fact that her body is just not a model/actress/socialite body, and short of major reconstructive surgery it never will be.

Oh for sure, I think that is part of it.

Being the Hilton sisters bff for years probably didn't do her any favors either.

What weirds me out is that she seemed pretty happy with her aesthetic which was LA club kid aging into Real Housewife and pretty normal in LA. But now she has a fiance who is trying to make her more "high class".
posted by fshgrl at 4:31 PM on March 24


Showing curves is not "classy"?

That was my reaction. Or to be honest, my thought was "Woah, sexy!" rather than "trashy." She's not just showing curves, she's rocking a wildly different body aesthetic than what you normally see in Vogue. There's a lot more to unpack in the classy/trashy dichotomy than I want to take on in one comment, but it gets layered in with race, class, and a fetishization of one particular body type.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:32 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


. . . what makes you say that? It's clearly the right size through the shoulders -- the neckline doesn't pucker or skew. There's no fabric pulling across her abdomen or her hips. Her bosom isn't squashed flat. I just don't see any evidence that it's improperly sized.

Exactly. It's a perfect fit everywhere, and if you look at the model, the skirt is supposed to hug the curve of the butt. It's just that Kim has wider hips and a larger butt than the dress was graded for.
posted by muddgirl at 4:37 PM on March 24


Rich society women used to take ocean liners to France, buy all the Paris fashions, then come home and swan around at teas and socials. The society pages had pictures you could study and the basic fashions could be manageable for normal sized and older women. Then we had a period where the influences were high-fashion models and the wives of presidents. You could still copy the fashions in normal life if you could manage a miniskirt or a pillbox hat. Nowadays we visit websites like GFY and study actresses at awards presentations. If you're a normal person, it's hard to look good in a transparent strapless dress trimmed with meat and blinking LEDs. Among people I know, celebrity fashion only influences their bridesmaid dresses.

So if Kim Kardashian is selling stuff at Sears, at least it must be stuff normal people could possibly wear. If the link between fashion and normal people is completely broken, there's no point to fashion.
posted by acrasis at 4:43 PM on March 24 [6 favorites]


Being the Hilton sisters bff for years probably didn't do her any favors either.

But this is another super interesting point about class. The Hiltons are the closest thing the USA has to Gilded Age capitalist aristocracy nowadays. They're the ultimate insiders. And yet someone like Kim Kardashian (proper class bonafides but no ties to East Coast old money and *cough*swarthy*cough*) is tarnished by the connection rather than helped.
posted by Sara C. at 4:45 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


As someone who's only vaguely into fashion any more (I burned out on the body hate) and is too old and insufficiently pop-culture hip to know much about the Kardashians other than that they're connected to the Jenners and Kanye West and I'm supposed to think they're low-classy or something, what I get out of that cover is sort of an establishment blessing of Kim and Kanye. Now she's someone olds like me should/can notice.
posted by immlass at 4:48 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Well we're seeing different things then in the cut, Kathryn T. I see it not sitting right across her chest with pulling and puckering. Not to mention folding up under the rear. There's also something strange happening at the waist, although I can't tell what it is from those photos.

In an ideal universe it would be great if everybody could wear whatever makes them happy. Unfortunately, I don't think most of us live in that place, and if most non-celebrity women--or especially young girls--decide to emulate that type of style, they should be aware that they're projecting a certain image. Is that right or wrong? Sure it's wrong. It would be fabulous if that weren't the case.

To be honest, if the picture hadn't been labelled, I would have had no idea it was Kim. Actually I doubt I pick most (any?) of the Kardashian sisters out of a line-up. My reaction wasn't to her or the public image she projects, it was to that set of photos. To me, it reminded me of the girls on the stroll in front of my old, big city, downtown apartment.

Now there do seem to be comments that are, I guess, directed at me. As far as I'm concerned, this had nothing to do with ethnicity. Unfortunately, I don't keep up with all the young, fashionistas and starlets of the day, so I can't put my finger on a Kardashian contemporary who reads (to me at least) as classy versus trashy. But if I had to pick a non-white, curvy woman who wears clothes well and comes off looking "not trashy" Gina Torres comes to mind. Her character on Suits tends to favour a tight silhouette. I don't know what she wears in her real life. Unfortunately, her TV character skews older and more professional the Kim, so I know it's not a fair comparison, but its the best one I've got.

Sorry to bow out of the conversation, but I'm packing for a business trip. And a big part of my wardrobe planning involves picking items that are professional enough, that don't overly emphasis my way-too-generous curves, and yet don't make me feel like I'm wearing a man's suit. This is especially important as I'm in an industry filled with old boys, who have no trouble telling me that I shouldn't be here. I should be in an industry involving cooking or restaurants or other appropriately female endeavours. It's the same industry where a veteran female colleague said she won't wear a jacket that sits at her waist or that brushes her hipis because she wants her bottom end covered, as she's so tired of the guys leering and going in for a grab.
posted by sardonyx at 4:52 PM on March 24


In an ideal universe it would be great if everybody could wear whatever makes them happy.

If we all unilaterally decided to stop being catty about other women's clothes, we would live in this sartorial utopia you dream of!
posted by Sara C. at 4:56 PM on March 24 [17 favorites]


Why is this an issue? Like, at all?

It's not an issue. It is business. Vogue is a lovely piece of advertising, a magalog where the mandate is to sell. People have decided that they need to be told what is acceptable to wear, to think, and to like, and now another commodity is being shilled to them on the cover.

As a wise man once said, it is all about the Benjamins...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 5:07 PM on March 24


It's not an issue.

It's the April issue.
posted by yoink at 5:23 PM on March 24 [6 favorites]


The Hiltons are the closest thing the USA has to Gilded Age capitalist aristocracy nowadays. They're the ultimate insiders. And yet someone like Kim Kardashian (proper class bonafides but no ties to East Coast old money and *cough*swarthy*cough*) is tarnished by the connection rather than helped.

I was more referring to the many fashion atrocities committed during that period. I think she looks lovely in the red dress linked above but more often she appears in public dressed like a madwoman. This and this for example. Now personally, there is a large and dear place in my heart for those who ignore fashions conventions in favor of costumey over the top outfits because they can (Helena BC and Rihanna to name two) but a lot of people, and definitely the Fug Girls, feel that the closer to Grace Kelly any fashion falls, the better.

I'm not really taking sides here, I swear, just commenting as someone with a long time interest in fashion and all the rules and weirdness and social stuff around it.
posted by fshgrl at 5:29 PM on March 24


But if I had to pick a non-white, curvy woman who wears clothes well and comes off looking "not trashy" Gina Torres comes to mind.

This seems like an odd comparison, considering that Torres has at least a decade on Kardashian and isn't in the public eye to nearly the same extent.
posted by Sara C. at 5:31 PM on March 24


I was surprised reading this thread that it's so pro-Kim Kardashian. My biggest problem with people like her (and the Hiltons, and such) is that these are people born into advantages I can only dream about, and this is what they do with them. They make sex tapes and reality shows, slap their names on anything, and get even richer in these calculated moves to sell themselves as a product. I can't help but feel repulsed by it. What are they putting out into the world that benefits anyone but themselves?

Of course, Vogue is just another fashion magazine trying to make money. It's not like they'd be putting Maya Angelou on the cover if they hadn't given the cover to Kim Kardashian.
posted by madelf at 5:31 PM on March 24 [8 favorites]


Oh god, yeah, it's not like Paris Hilton is a fashion plate by any means. And despite her background, she is publicly pretty reviled and would probably never get to be on the cover of Vogue if she were marrying Kanye.
posted by Sara C. at 5:33 PM on March 24


would probably never get to be on the cover of Vogue

She made it to Vogue Paris.
posted by yoink at 5:46 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


But if I had to pick a non-white, curvy woman who wears clothes well and comes off looking "not trashy" Gina Torres comes to mind.

I'd pick Jennifer Lopez. She wears highly stylized, brightly colored, body conscious modern clothes and generally looks amazing. She's never boring. And she's been doing it for 20 years.
posted by fshgrl at 5:47 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


What are they putting out into the world that benefits anyone but themselves?

Whatever it is, we're buying it. Like I said, I'm not a fan by any means - don't watch the Kardashians or Real Housewives, much less celebrity sex tapes - but clearly there is an audience out there.
posted by muddgirl at 5:54 PM on March 24


My biggest problem with people like her (and the Hiltons, and such) is that these are people born into advantages I can only dream about, and this is what they do with them.

Most people in the first world are born into advantages that about half the world's population can only dream of and what do they do with it? Jack shit. Why pick on Kim Kardashian?
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 5:55 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


It's interesting that you bring up J.Lo, who occupied a very similar place to Kim, in her day.

Personally I think the really vital comparison would be to Beyonce, who despite coming from circumstances a lot less elite than Kim Kardashian (and who, herself, isn't always well dressed), has somehow evolved into American royalty.

The only real difference I can come up with between them is that Beyonce is seen to have worked for what she has, and to have contributed something vaguely meaningful to the world, whereas Kim is mostly famous for reality TV.
posted by Sara C. at 5:55 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


[Comment removed. Come on folks, if you want to just sneer at the entire site you know you need to go to MetaTalk to do that.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:00 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


Now personally, there is a large and dear place in my heart for those who ignore fashions conventions in favor of costumey over the top outfits because they can (Helena BC and Rihanna to name two) but a lot of people, and definitely the Fug Girls, feel that the closer to Grace Kelly any fashion falls, the better.
I actually think that's not Vogue's line, though. I think that the editors of Vogue have the attitude that the worst fashion sin is being boring, and it might be better to screw up sometimes and be interesting than to play it safe all the time and be dull. And high fashion sometimes embraces things that read as trashy or tacky, just because high fashion is always looking for novelty and will embrace almost anything eventually.

But I think that's only tangentially related to what's going on here, because Vogue isn't really a fashion magazine anymore. It's a lifestyle and celebrity magazine, because there isn't a big enough readership that particularly cares about high fashion. True fashion magazines, I think, are way more niche publications than Vogue is.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:05 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


I was surprised reading this thread that it's so pro-Kim Kardashian.

There are a lot of sort of ivory-towers liberals who find the concept of "trashy" to be inherently classist and elitist and judgmental and love to take David Brooksian intellectual safaris into mass culture and defend anything they perceive "middle America"-n as a way of proving their progressive bona-fides. As you point out it becomes sort of hilariously ridiculous when the person being defended is an upper-class socialite who created and has been consciously cultivating that public persona of trashiness to propel and keep herself in the limelight.

The abyss also gazes into you ...
posted by crayz at 6:09 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


I was just thinking that it's funny how white Hendricks is classy but multiracial Kardashian is trashy.


Where is the Hendricks sex tape? No really, where?
posted by Cosine at 6:12 PM on March 24


Safely ensconced on the computer of a gentleman, and/or deleted? Why do we assume that someone has never made a sex tape just because it's never been leaked?
posted by muddgirl at 6:15 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


LOL, I sort of forgot that back in the day, sex tapes were on actual tapes and not made with webcams.
posted by muddgirl at 6:18 PM on March 24


I think it's a little weird to compare Christina Hendricks to Kim Kardashian. Christina Hendricks is an actor, and as much as the coverage of her focuses on her body to an absolutely creepy degree, it's possible to admire her because of the quality of her performances. It's hard to think of what Kim Kardashian's comparable achievements would be.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:21 PM on March 24 [13 favorites]


Safely ensconced on the computer of a gentleman, and/or deleted? Why do we assume that someone has never made a sex tape just because it's never been leaked?

Well in terms of whether "trashiness" is based on your ethnicity or your personality, when multiple people have claimed your sex tape was released on purpose to further create your fame ... maybe that could be counted as an argument in column B? I don't think anyone here believes simply having made a sex tape, or even having one that truly was leaked without your at least wink-wink consent, is a problem.
posted by crayz at 6:31 PM on March 24


Multiple people have claimed that 9/11 was in inside job and that the moon landing was faked.
posted by muddgirl at 6:36 PM on March 24


The only real difference I can come up with between them is that Beyonce is seen to have worked for what she has, and to have contributed something vaguely meaningful to the world

Well as long as that's the only real difference ...
posted by crayz at 6:36 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


I'm a little bewildered that half-Armenian half-Dutch/English Kim Kardashian is considered "not white."

Agreed with others above, the lines seem to be drawn so randomly on who's "white" or not and have evolved over time.
posted by sweetkid at 6:37 PM on March 24 [7 favorites]


Well in terms of whether "trashiness" is based on your ethnicity or your personality, when multiple people have claimed your sex tape was released on purpose to further create your fame ... maybe that could be counted as an argument in column B?

Well, if both some guy promoting a book and her ex-husband said it, it must be true.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 6:42 PM on March 24


I realize we're not beyond a reasonable doubt, but really her publicist at the time the events in question occurred is just "some guy promoting a book", captain objective descriptions?
posted by crayz at 6:52 PM on March 24


As an outsider I find this baffling. A fashion magazine ran a picture of a pretty lady in nice clothes. What about this requires deconstruction?

The article suggests having an interracial couple on the cover is notable. I'm guessing it was less "promote social progress" and more "Kanye's face sells magazines".

It also suggests Kardashian's sex tape is controversial. It's not like the lady is running for President. I don't really know what she does but I'm guessing a big part of it is being sexy.
posted by foobaz at 6:54 PM on March 24


I didn't think TFA here was very thoughtful. I agree with them that everyone thinks Kim K released the tape herself even though she denies it, but yeah, as they said, she's still here and her brand has become a lot of things to a lot of people. That's just a fact. This article takes a bunch of time swiping at her and Kanye and then rambling about Mindy Kaling, which is cool and all (and I also makes me think Kelly Kapoor would LOVE this cover) but I don't think any great point was made.

I honestly think Go Fug Yourself, which I like, is being more thoughtful when it discusses things like what internal monologues Lindsay Lohan's glittery pantsuits might be having.
posted by sweetkid at 6:57 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


I never noticed they are an "interracial couple" but then again, I'm not an American.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:58 PM on March 24


I never noticed they are an "interracial couple" but then again, I'm not an American.

what does that mean?
posted by sweetkid at 6:59 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing it was less "promote social progress" and more "Kanye's face sells magazines".

Which is part of what's so weird about the actual photograph as used -- you can barely see Kanye.
posted by Sara C. at 7:06 PM on March 24


what does that mean?

It means that you are obsessed with race. It is corrosive and it is toxic.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:11 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


It's just my opinion mind you. I don't mind if you disagree, but I do mind if you take it personally.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:15 PM on March 24


I don't think people discussing Kimye as an interracial couple is "corrosive and toxic." I think the "don't see color" perspective as infinitely more damaging.

Just discussing race doesn't mean "obsessed with race."
posted by sweetkid at 7:15 PM on March 24 [18 favorites]


I think we're all missing the most important aspect of the Vogue feature. Namely, why can't we see Kanye in the mirror of this photo???
posted by dry white toast at 7:22 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


I'm a little bewildered that half-Armenian half-Dutch/English Kim Kardashian is considered "not white."

Agreed with others above, the lines seem to be drawn so randomly on who's "white" or not and have evolved over time.


It's just one of those things. Why do some people think that Jennifer Lopez is a woman of color but George Zimmerman is white? Because it fits the their narrative.
posted by MikeMc at 7:35 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


Agreed (to some degree, not sure about your examples) but it's weird how uniform it is. I'm sure few people would consider Freddie Mercury not white for example. It's like you have to have the right mixture of a certain skin tone + certain name designating specific things about your ethnicity + some sort of acceptance as relevant to mainstream white culture. If you don't have it, you're out of the club or something.
posted by sweetkid at 7:43 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


In an uncharacteristically verbose and thoughtful entry, Go Fug Yourself considers

Wut? Go Fug Yourself is characteristically verbose and thoughtful.

Apparently psoas does not understand the Go Fug Yourself schtick. If you appear on GFY, you are fugly. There is one exception, a "Fab" or "Well Played" headline for repeat-fuggers like Kim who manage to pull off a passable look once in front of a camera. The Vogue cover post is on GFY because it is fugly.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:50 PM on March 24


Agreed (to some degree, not sure about your examples) but it's weird how uniform it is.

Somebody mentioned Lopez upthread so I pulled a name of someone "White-Hispanic" to compare. I'm not sure what the exact dividing line is there other than J-Lo has a generally positive image and Zimmerman a negative one. Just goes to show you how these things can be shaped by the overarching narrative.
posted by MikeMc at 7:53 PM on March 24


You know when someone is trying transparently to show how little they care about popular culture and they're all like "who even IS this Brittney Spurs person I keep hearing about" and you're all like eyeroll, we fucking get it, ok?

The Kardashians make me feel like that obnoxious person because I just genuinely cannot ever remember what the hell their deal is. Which feels odd because I am very familiar with Kanye and his work. Like...Kim Kardashian is famous because she was in a sex tape, I think? Or maybe that was after she became famous? And either her dad or ex-husband is an Olympic skier? And there's someone named Kris Jenner, maybe her brother? Oh and there's a Khloe? And they all had a show about themselves? It's no use googling it, I've been told these things a zillion times and for whatever reason can never retain them.
posted by threeants at 7:56 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


What a splendid time to check in. I said "verbose" because 3,000 words is a lot longer than the average post and I said "thoughtful" because the tone was different from their normal lulzy schtick and seemed like good fodder for a deeper discussion about aspiration and branding (among other things) which I think has been pretty well borne out here.
posted by psoas at 7:56 PM on March 24


They're a Veblen couple; they are perfect for the cover of Vogue.
posted by TedW at 7:58 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]



Like...Kim Kardashian is famous because she was in a sex tape, I think? Or maybe that was after she became famous? And either her dad or ex-husband is an Olympic skier? And there's someone named Kris Jenner, maybe her brother? Oh and there's a Khloe? And they all had a show about themselves?


All those things are true (except the skier part: Bruce Jenner is/was her stepfather and a former Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon) so I think you're doing fine.
posted by sweetkid at 8:04 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


It's like you have to have the right mixture of a certain skin tone + certain name designating specific things about your ethnicity + some sort of acceptance as relevant to mainstream white culture. If you don't have it, you're out of the club or something.

I think Kim Kardashian is being defined as not-white not because she actually isn't white (since her entire "heritage" is white as far as I know) but because she's failing to "perform" being white somehow according to the media/public. There's usually so much emphasis in the media and in discussions about her on how sexy, tasteless, vapid, money-hungry, and lacking in "substance" she is, too. Maybe some or all of those are ways that the media/public/individuals think she's failing to "act white."

The assumption that she's not white bothers me because, perversely, I think it reinforces white normativity. The last time I remember a similar thing coming up (of people being defined as not-white because they didn't "act" white) was with the Boston Marathon bombers, if that gives better context.
posted by rue72 at 8:05 PM on March 24 [4 favorites]


I think Kim Kardashian is being defined as not-white not because she actually isn't white (since her entire "heritage" is white as far as I know) but because she's failing to "perform" being white somehow according to the media/public.


I agree with you and was making a version of the same point. It's disturbing.
posted by sweetkid at 8:08 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I think we're all missing the most important aspect of the Vogue feature. Namely, why can't we see Kanye in the mirror of this photo???

That's doing my head in. It's easy to misread what you "ought" to see in a mirror, but I can't see any way we shouldn't be seeing them and whoever is taking the photo. Surely it can't be an elaborate photoshop job, can it? Or the "mirror" is a bizarre trompe-l'oeil painting?
posted by yoink at 8:08 PM on March 24


I've talked to a couple Armenian-Americans who've referred to White (American) people as a separate group.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:09 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


I think we're all missing the most important aspect of the Vogue feature. Namely, why can't we see Kanye in the mirror of this photo???

That's doing my head in. It's easy to misread what you "ought" to see in a mirror, but I can't see any way we shouldn't be seeing them and whoever is taking the photo. Surely it can't be an elaborate photoshop job, can it? Or the "mirror" is a bizarre trompe-l'oeil painting?


Vampires. Duh.
posted by MikeMc at 8:14 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I think Kim Kardashian is being defined as not-white not because she actually isn't white (since her entire "heritage" is white as far as I know) but because she's failing to "perform" being white somehow according to the media/public.

Agreed, and I think another analogue would be Snooki, and probably the whole Jersey Shore phenomenon.

Kim Kardashian is Armenian-American, which is part of a broad group of immigrants who have been gradually assimilating more and more into white culture over the past century or so. But, again, like the Jersey Shore kids -- and probably there are other examples -- the minute you stray from mainstream model minority good girl performance of whiteness, all the ugliest ethnic stereotypes rematerialize.
posted by Sara C. at 8:14 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


Agreed, and I think another analogue would be Snooki, and probably the whole Jersey Shore phenomenon.

But people don't say Snooki isn't white though, do they? Interestingly Snooki was born in Chile and was adopted into an Italian American family.
posted by sweetkid at 8:17 PM on March 24


I've talked to a couple Armenian-Americans who've referred to White (American) people as a separate group.

But that tells you nothing other than they've internalized some of the weirdly elastic notions of who is or isn't "white" in the US. Has anyone ever called Cher "mixed race" or "non white"? She's Armenian-American. Did anyone ever call Arshile Gorky "mixed race" or "non white"? He was Armenian. I can't recall Andre Agassi ever being referred to as "mixed race" or "non white." He's of Armenian descent. Etc. etc. etc. It's like how Jews in the early C20th in America would have been obviously "non white" and are now equally obviously "white." Or how Asian-Americans occupy a weird space where they tend to get lumped in with "white America" when the discourse is about "black vs non-black" and then sometimes get separated out when we're talking about "white" as WASP.
posted by yoink at 8:18 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


I think Kim Kardashian is being defined as not-white not because she actually isn't white (since her entire "heritage" is white as far as I know) but because she's failing to "perform" being white somehow according to the media/public.

I've always been left with the impression that she's what my east Texas relatives would have called "trashy", and performative WASPy-ness is exactly what that gets at.
posted by immlass at 8:21 PM on March 24


I've talked to a couple Armenian-Americans who've referred to White (American) people as a separate group.

But that tells you nothing other than they've internalized some of the weirdly elastic notions of who is or isn't "white" in the US. Has anyone ever called Cher "mixed race" or "non white"? She's Armenian-American. Did anyone ever call Arshile Gorky "mixed race" or "non white"? He was Armenian. I can't recall Andre Agassi ever being referred to as "mixed race" or "non white." He's of Armenian descent. Etc. etc. etc. It's like how Jews in the early C20th in America would have been obviously "non white" and are now equally obviously "white." Or how Asian-Americans occupy a weird space where they tend to get lumped in with "white America" when the discourse is about "black vs non-black" and then sometimes get separated out when we're talking about "white" as WASP.


Yea complete word to all of this. Also occupying a "weird space" is somehow a completely appropriate description of what being Asian American seems to feel like at this particular cultural moment.
posted by sweetkid at 8:28 PM on March 24


I don't know how much the history matters, but I think that Armenians really were right on the border of whiteness in the early 20th century US. They were originally classified as Asian and had to go to court to get declared white. There were a number of similar court cases that found, for instance, that most people from India weren't white, but Parsis were, and that people from the Middle East were white, because otherwise Jesus might not have been white, and you couldn't have that. The history of the legal construction of race in the US is equal parts wacky and tragic.
I'm not sure what the exact dividing line is there other than J-Lo has a generally positive image and Zimmerman a negative one.
I don't think that J-Lo is considered Latina because she "has a generally positive image." I think she's considered Latina because being Latina has been pretty central to her public image (and I gather her private identity) since she first became widely known for her performance in Selina. Her first album contained several songs in Spanish and won a Latin Grammy. The album was called On the 6, a reference to the subway line that she took to get to her childhood home in Queens, and she talked a lot in interviews about how the album reflected her identity as the New-York-born child of Puerto Rican parents.

There are plenty of Latina celebrities who get read as white: Alexis Bleidel, for instance, or Aubrey Plaza. Race in America is weird.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:30 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


But people don't say Snooki isn't white though, do they?

If you Google (as I just did) "Snooki and race" you'll see that there's a lot of anxious discussion out there about her racial origins. It's definitely something that people wonder about.
posted by yoink at 8:31 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


But people don't say Snooki isn't white though, do they?

No, but there's a similar sort of outsider "trashy" questionable grey area status with her. Like if she were dating Kanye and we were having this conversation about her, I bet the conversation around her race would be very similar.
posted by Sara C. at 8:33 PM on March 24


True, but I don't think a thread about Snooki would have people referring to "other nonwhite celebrities" like Jennifer Lopez. I could be wrong.
posted by sweetkid at 8:34 PM on March 24


There are plenty of Latina celebrities who get read as white: Alexis Bleidel, for instance, or Aubrey Plaza.

Going further back, there's Rita Hayworth (nee Margarita Cansino).
posted by yoink at 8:35 PM on March 24


I'm not sure, and it gets complicated because Snooki is pretty primarily known for being "Italian", whereas I don't think a lot of people know Kim Kardashian's specific background and what Armenia even is. I have no idea what race people assume Kim is.
posted by Sara C. at 8:36 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Yea me either, but it's definitely weird math that makes Kim Kardashian not white but Andre Agassi white.
posted by sweetkid at 8:42 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


The album was called On the 6, a reference to the subway line that she took to get to her childhood home in Queens...

The 6 train does not now, nor has it ever gone to Queens. It goes from southern Manhattan to the northeast Bronx, crossing through the South Bronx on the way, which is where Jenny from the Block grew up.

(Yes, out of everything going on in this thread, this was what compelled me to comment.)
posted by aureliobuendia at 8:43 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


Snooki is pretty primarily known for being "Italian"

I thought Snooki was primarily known for being "Jersey".
posted by drinkyclown at 8:45 PM on March 24


KokuRyu: "It means that you are obsessed with race. It is corrosive and it is toxic."

Not acknowledging race in the United States can also be corrosive and toxic.
posted by desuetude at 8:58 PM on March 24 [5 favorites]


Snooki is pretty primarily known for being "Italian"

drinkyclown: "I thought Snooki was primarily known for being "Jersey"."

[sigh] Same-same, in TV-land.
posted by desuetude at 8:59 PM on March 24


I'm kind of reluctant to read things like this, because I fear it will undermine the legitimacy of my disdain for both Kanye and Kim. Is that inherently hypocritical in and of itself? I don't know...?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:02 PM on March 24


So apparently I am going to make this comment although I really wasn't planning to, but Snooki is an extra-tricky case because she she was born in Chile and adopted and now identifies culturally as Italian-American.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:02 PM on March 24


I can very much understand why people of color might be suspicious of groups who primarily present as white distancing themselves from whiteness, but on the other hand, there is definitely some schema of core whiteness and peripheral whiteness that is not just historical trivia but is made real through day-to-day experience.
posted by threeants at 9:09 PM on March 24


So apparently I am going to make this comment although I really wasn't planning to, but Snooki is an extra-tricky case because she she was born in Chile and adopted and now identifies culturally as Italian-American.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:02 AM on March 25 [+] [!]


Yea I mentioned that a little upthread, that she was born in Chile. I'm not sure what makes her an extra tricky case though. It makes sense that she would identify as Italian American.
posted by sweetkid at 9:17 PM on March 24


they've internalized some of the weirdly elastic notions of who is or isn't "white" in the US.

I agree with what you're saying for the most part, and not to put too fine a point on it, but I think it's important to clarify that those notions aren't actually *weirdly* elastic. Who is considered white (by the media, by the public, by the people around them, etc) is often tied up in white normativity, so appearing "bad" or "incorrect" or "strange" often gets equated with appearing "non-white" (and sometimes, vice versa). "Non-white" in that sense may or may not actually map onto a person's ethnic heritage (dissonance there is what's happening with Kim Kardashian, I think). "Whiteness" is more conditional for some than others, but it's conditional for a whole lot of people (everyone?), for a huge variety of reasons.

True, but I don't think a thread about Snooki would have people referring to "other nonwhite celebrities" like Jennifer Lopez. I could be wrong.

In my experience, trying to pin people down in terms of "how white" they are goes on a lot in daily life -- both in terms of whitewashing people who wouldn't consider themselves white and in terms of throwing people who would consider themselves white out of the-white-people-club.

I think that we'd probably be having this convo about Snooki if she weren't already in the little otherized/not-in-the-white-people-club-anyway zone that is The Jersey Shore, and I also think that it's probably a convo that plenty of people have had to Snooki's face and behind her back.
posted by rue72 at 9:17 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


Yea I mentioned that a little upthread, that she was born in Chile. I'm not sure what makes her an extra tricky case though. It makes sense that she would identify as Italian American.

Sorry, don't know how I missed that! I too think it makes sense that she identifies as Italian American but if we're talking about race I think it's relevant. That said, this is a thread where I have more to learn than contribute so I might well be wrong and am primarily lurking.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:29 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


I had a friend who identifies as a WASP but has an adopted Korean sister. He told me she was furious when Korean American groups approached her in college trying to get her to join. But what were they supposed to think? And how were they supposed to read her anger at being identified with them? At the same time I don't think she had any exposure to Asian American culture or anything Korean growing up. So that's pretty tricky.
posted by sweetkid at 9:33 PM on March 24


Apparently there are more than a couple people who as a matter of course in their writing careers assume the persona of Anna Wintour and come to all sorts of confident assertions about what goes on inside her brain, which is weird. Beyond that, assuming the voice of Kanye West (in some seriously piece of shit rhymes no less) to refer to Kim Kardashian as his "baby mule" is fucking gross.
posted by nanojath at 9:35 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


It should be mentioned that there are definitely white Chileans. Not everyone who lives in South America is Latin@. According to Wikipedia 52% of Chileans are of European heritage. I couldn't venture to guess about Snooki's birth parents, but it's weird to assume that if she's not Italian-American she must be Latina.
posted by Sara C. at 9:45 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


Oh jeez, I didn't realize the "Jersey Girl/Guy" stereotype was an Italian stereotype too but that makes total sense.
posted by drinkyclown at 9:56 PM on March 24


Yeah that's what the whole "guido" thing is about.
posted by Sara C. at 9:58 PM on March 24


True, but I don't think a thread about Snooki would have people referring to "other nonwhite celebrities" like Jennifer Lopez. I could be wrong.

That was me and I was actually referring to the "curvy" part of the question about other women who look similar to Kim and aren't perceived as terrible at dressing themselves because of the way they look. J Lo sprang to mind because they have a similar body type, both like to dress up but she's generally regarded as stylish and good at clothes, that's all.
posted by fshgrl at 10:02 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


> Not everyone who lives in South America is Latin@. According to Wikipedia 52% of Chileans are of European heritage.

Being Latino and having European "heritage" are absolutely not incompatible - Latinos being "an ethnolinguistic group of Americans with origins in the countries of Latin America or the Iberian peninsula."

Overall I shouldn't chime in here, I know almost nothing about any of the people concerned...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:20 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


My point is that it's possible to be white and Chilean. 52% of Chileans are. Snooki having been born in Chile has no bearing on her race at all -- in fact, I'm not sure about Chile specifically, but neighboring Argentina has a huge Italian immigrant population.
posted by Sara C. at 10:43 PM on March 24


[Folks, we are maybe wandering a little far afield from the linked article here?]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:43 PM on March 24


It was when Jennifer Lopez entered the thread as an example of someone more "classy" that I began to feel really, really old, because I immediately remembered the endless public discussion that accompanied this. Speaking of self-promotion skills, whatever happened to Diddy, anyway?
posted by kemrocken at 10:55 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


Oh, man, I was just dicking around on tumblr of all places and came across a photo of that exact dress, like maybe ten minutes ago. I thought about saying exactly what you just said. The same general concern trollish pearl-clutching was a major factor of Jennifer Lopez's career circa On The 6.
posted by Sara C. at 11:07 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Nice. To answer the musical question, Diddy (still legally required to be known as P. Diddy in the UK due to that unfortunate lawsuit) is the richest person in hip hop as we speak, $580 mil according to Forbes, Wiki says.
posted by kemrocken at 11:20 PM on March 24 [3 favorites]


Speaking of self-promotion skills, whatever happened to Diddy, anyway?

I saw him was a couple of days ago in a photo in the back of a glossy women's magazine. He was wearing a cucumber eye mask he'd had flown in from Milan specially while giving a photo tutorial on getting ready for the Golden Globes. I am not kidding.

That Versace dress J Lo wore was a calculated move to get publicity, people started doing that after the notoriety that surrounded Elizabeth Hurley's safety pin dress. It worked fabulously, and is a much better dress than the safety pin dress to boot.
posted by fshgrl at 11:20 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


It was when Jennifer Lopez entered the thread as an example of someone more "classy"

Nope, as an example of someone much more beloved of the fashionista world and stylistically savvy. Totally different.
posted by fshgrl at 11:26 PM on March 24


I think J.Lo: Fashionista is a pretty recent thing, probably tied in to the fact that she did a press release for song about Louboutins a few years ago.

Before that she was mostly known for being on worst-dressed lists.
posted by Sara C. at 11:30 PM on March 24


Forget the couple, I can't believe Vogue put a damn hashtag on the cover.
posted by Petersondub at 3:37 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]


I was just thinking that it's funny how white Hendricks is classy but multiracial Kardashian is trashy.

It's definitely not this. If you look at the character Hendricks is largely famous for, she and her curves are often dressed office-appropriate, i.e. no cleavage, skirts to-the-knee. So the public sees those prominent bust etc., but all covered-up. When she does show more skin, it is for special events. That's the public's main exposure. With Kim, the public sees her in pap pics, her reality show, etc., wearing modern short skirts, and cleavage galore. Plus the makeup and hair is much less demure than what's in the Mad Men TV show.

Not saying Kardashian's perceived race doesn't have a role in public perception, but sartorially they are not the same creatures. They dress similarly curvy frames.
posted by tenlives at 4:14 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


I am saddened by the amount of thought that Mefi has devoted to Kanye and Kim.
(and here I am adding to it, which is even sadder)
posted by Flood at 5:34 AM on March 25


we have had many, many threads about Kanye's music which are honestly some of the best threads going. Music threads in general get pretty good.

Sorry you feel so sad about that!
posted by sweetkid at 6:47 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


[Please don't do the "this is not a topic worthy of MeFi discussion" thing in here, thanks.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:56 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


I've had no interest in the Kardashian brand UNTIL they released a line of baby clothes. Leopard print onesie sleepers? YES PLEASE. Finally, somebody understands me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:04 AM on March 25 [8 favorites]


I don't know shit about fashion, or Vogue, but this thread is incomplete without Waking Up With Kimye, haah?!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:01 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Yea me either, but it's definitely weird math that makes Kim Kardashian not white but Andre Agassi white.

It might be the same weird math that makes me "white" and my sister "not white," or as she was classified in her theater classes, "unspecified ethnic."
posted by louche mustachio at 9:03 AM on March 26


I feel like there is some deeply ugly buried grossness that makes Kim Kardashian "not white" (and also "not classy") that's based not around her ethnic identity but around her body. Like, rich white upper-class people don't have bodies like that, so she must not be white or upper class. And yeah, while she's famous largely for being a Very Pretty Girl, she's hardly the first woman in history to arrive in the public eye that way. I dunno, the whole mess seems to me to tie into a lot of fucked up ideas about race, class, gender, and sexuality.
posted by KathrynT at 9:14 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]


I always thought Kim Kardashian was "white", but I also never really thought about it too much.
posted by josher71 at 10:20 AM on March 28


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