Rhymes with Curmudgeons and Cragons
September 20, 2014 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Toward a Unified Theory of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood Kim Kardashian—and maybe Kim Kardashian alone—has figured out how to make a fortune on the countless hours of emotional labor most women are expected to perform for free: smiling, looking pretty, being accommodating, being charming, being a good hostess.
posted by mandymanwasregistered (41 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
If wearing fully-styled hair and makeup at all times were actually effortless, a lot more people would do it, and I’d quit my job and buy stock in false eyelashes.   Kim Kardashian is what getting paid for “women’s” work looks like.

This is good.
posted by The Whelk at 9:58 AM on September 20, 2014 [24 favorites]


I feel like there should be a "MIC DROP" and the end of this
posted by hafehd at 10:09 AM on September 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Too true.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:11 AM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is great.
posted by shothotbot at 10:24 AM on September 20, 2014


"A minimalist black outfit is classic. It says: I suffer the most extreme form of human misery." - Kim Kierkegaardashian
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:27 AM on September 20, 2014 [26 favorites]


Huh. I never thought of her that way before, but that pull quote is genius. Off to read it.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:38 AM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: countless hours of emotional labor
posted by Fizz at 10:43 AM on September 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


Countless of women have traveled the same path as Kardashian has because they realized that amplifying and playing with the distorted ideas that society has of what it means to be a women is lucrative, liberating and empowering. Some played the game so well that they became actual queens and goddesses. Maybe Kim Kardashian alone? C'mon now.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:50 AM on September 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


Elsa Maxwell was well-known as a wonderful hostess and also managed to make it a career. The Kardashians aren't trailblazers, nor is "emotional work" strictly a female bailiwick or unpaid.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:00 AM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


If you read the above quote, you'll see qualifiers like "most" and "maybe" and I'd suggest that pointing out exceptions to the quote does not disprove the author's point. As the words "most" and "maybe" do not in anyway suggest absolutes.

This is not a logic model we're looking to disprove by showing at least one case where it does not hold up.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 11:08 AM on September 20, 2014 [11 favorites]


Accommodating
smiling, charming, a hostess
Kardashian life
posted by Mblue at 11:26 AM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


i really enjoyed that. i played the game for a while but there were weird load/save issues on my (android) phone and i kept losing progress. i never spent real money on it (but i considered it once) but it was an enjoyable diversion. i always did love button mashers and paper dolls, though, so this was right up my alley.
posted by nadawi at 11:27 AM on September 20, 2014


Kind of a weird article that argues by propping up Kim Kardashian through her game. Kim has been a model for a long time, along with countless thousands of others. Not to mention the untold thousands of beauty pageant contestants. The difference is that Kim used to hang with Paris, which is where people first started noticing her, and she has parents that are closely entwined in the Hollywood community. One of which had already managed to get his kids a reality show before the rest of the family got one. Those qualifiers are seriously straining under the weight the argument.

Is Kim a woman that is subjected to a type of scrutiny by men that most other women are subjected to? Indeed. Is she accommodating, charming, and a good hostess? Not from what I saw on her tv show.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:30 AM on September 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


As an old skool D&D player, what I've heard about the Kim Kardashian game makes it sound like a lady-gendered version of Papers and Paychecks. The game doesn't sound that interesting to me. But I can't help but admire that Kardashian is making money off it. Don't hate the player, hate the game, indeed.
posted by immlass at 12:06 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Believe it or not, Melissa Rivers came up with the idea for a similar game and got as far as a startup, that went for a second round of funding just as the economy tanked. We would have done it better to say the least. There's a lot there to play with in terms of game, fashion, and popular culture and ... and... Ah, well.
posted by emmet at 12:13 PM on September 20, 2014


"If I look at the message I'm portraying, I think it definitely is, 'Be who you are, but be your best you, and never turn your back on a Breen.'"


-Kim Cardassian
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:36 PM on September 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


"If I look at the message I'm portraying, I think it definitely is, 'Be who you are, but be your best you, and never turn your back on a Breen.'"


-Kim Cardassian


You know how many raw taspar eggs you have to eat to get hair like that?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:45 PM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


TheWhiteSkull: *ahem*
posted by Reyturner at 2:51 PM on September 20, 2014


I think that "maybe" translates in factual English into "definitely not". Of course if the author is only 23, and thinks the world began only six years ago, then it may well seem like this is an entirely new phenomena.
posted by happyroach at 3:04 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Kim Kierkegaardashian is the best thing that's ever happened on Twitter.
posted by weston at 3:39 PM on September 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


The same themes crop up again and again. She’s a whore, she’s a waste of a human being, she’s famous for being famous, or famous for nothing, or why is she famous, again? Certainly, many others have rocketed to fame for being in the right place at the right time, or having famous friends, or doing something stupid in public, either accidentally or on purpose. Why is Ryan Seacrest famous? Why is Andy Cohen? Johnny Knoxville? But there’s something about Kim Kardashian and her fame, something specific, and specifically female, that make us uncomfortable.

Uncomfortable, pfff. It makes people downright nasty. Plenty of people I know, who are solidly liberal and PC and maybe even self-identifying as feminist, say some downright nasty shit about Kim Kardashian. The "famous for being famous" criticism is a pejorative statement that is almost exclusively applied to women and nearly always misogynistic.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:01 PM on September 20, 2014 [16 favorites]


The "famous for being famous" criticism is a pejorative statement

Yes, it certainly is.

that is almost exclusively applied to women

Hmm, now that you mention it, where did Ryan Seacrest come from?

and nearly always misogynistic.

*rolleyes*

Oh, sure, of course it is.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 4:12 PM on September 20, 2014


ryan seacrest isn't my cup of tea, but he busted his ass as a tv host for a few years before getting the american idol gig. i've never heard anyone suggest he was famous for being famous.

i share the impression that famous for being famous is the sort of thing hurled at women in a misogynistic way.
posted by nadawi at 4:39 PM on September 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


And what of Spencer Pratt? He was definitely FFBF.
posted by grumpybear69 at 4:56 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


spencer and heidi, don't forget. the fact that if people really search for it they might find a few men who could be described that way doesn't actually disprove that it's something very obviously slanted towards women a majority of the time.
posted by nadawi at 5:03 PM on September 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


Spencer Pratt caught a lot of flak for being FFBF but he caught a lot of more of it when he and Heidi got married and she went all plastic surgery and they mutually went off the deep end. Plenty of misogyny there, too, but different because that was Eons Ago in internet time.

Kim Kardashian melds a lot of negative attributes together (she seems like Not a Nice Person based on the tv show, she married Kanye in the most obnoxious way humanly possible, the whole sex tape thing was Very Obvious, she has yet to make public any positive things her family does with their newfound fame like charities to support or whatever other classic Ladies Who Lunch personality-smoothing-over moves might logically be attempted there. etc.) with misogyny, a helping of racism, and a PR plan that appears to view all news as good news.

It's quite a complex stew, one she only partially brought upon herself, and so I liked the article's takedown of some of the haters but wish it was longer and went into more detail.
posted by librarylis at 5:11 PM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ha, I wasn't searching - he came to mind immediately - nor was I trying to disprove the thesis, though I am wrestling with it. The phrase itself seems (to me) to be relatively new, and a byproduct of the reality tv era, preceded perhaps by OJ's car chase and the subsequent media rise of Kato Kaelin. There is no doubting that Kim has capitalized on her early media exposure in a way befitting a business mogul, which is a noteworthy and enviable task. It is clear why she stayed famous and why that fame grew, but unclear on how she (or more generally her family) made it into the spotlight in the first place, beyond being rich and well-connected.
posted by grumpybear69 at 5:29 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


The term originates from an analysis of the media-dominated world called The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-events in America (1961), by historian and social theorist Daniel J. Boorstin.
[...]
The British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge may have been the first to use the actual phrase in the introduction to his book Muggeridge Through The Microphone (1967).
famous for being famous
posted by nadawi at 5:35 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Isn't Samuel Pepys "famous for being famous"?
posted by Sara C. at 8:42 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


The "famous for being famous" criticism is a pejorative statement that is almost exclusively applied to women and nearly always misogynistic.

hmmm

famous for being famous

hmmmmmm

(from the Wikipedia article)Neal Gabler more recently refined the definition of celebrity to distinguish those who have gained recognition for having done virtually nothing of significance — a phenomenon he dubbed the “Zsa Zsa Factor” in honor of Zsa Zsa Gabor, who parlayed her marriage to actor George Sanders into a brief movie career and the movie career into a much more enduring celebrity.

hmmmmmmmmmmm

(continues)Some popular actors such as Jason Statham, Jon Hamm, and Daniel Craig have criticized the status of being "famous for being famous", arguing that it demeans the work of people who gain fame due to genuine talent.

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

"'I'd hate to be a Kardashian... they're famous for being famous'"

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm^∞
posted by Reyturner at 10:08 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


[A couple of comments deleted. Let's try to stick to the points brought up in the article more than generalized KK-bashing, or commentary on her attractiveness or lack thereof, please?]
posted by taz (staff) at 11:07 PM on September 20, 2014


Isn't Samuel Pepys "famous for being famous"?

I don't think so. He was a government functionary and political figure whose prominence led to his diary being read when it became publicly available about a century after his death. It has remained (fairly) popular because it's a) a useful personal document about a time period where such sources are relatively rare and b) delightful. In the present he may be mostly famous for writing about himself, but that isn't the central point.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:05 AM on September 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Who’s opining publically about Candy Crush’s promotion of excessive sugar consumption and usurious in-game purchasing mechanism, or 2048’s abetment of dangerously obsessive-compulsive tendencies? Are they the same folks claiming Kim Kardashian: Hollywood encourages shallow, materialistic behavior? Is it anyone at all?

If the writer thinks the purchasing model of Kim's game is being unfairly singled out, she hasn't been paying much attention. Sounds like a bog-standard mobile-game mechanism and both Candy Crush and other examples (Dungeon Keeper, Ultima) have been attacked plenty for the same reason.
posted by ersatz at 4:55 AM on September 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Given that the entire business of Hollywood is built around people that are fun to look at, making a distinction between the Kardashians and any other famous performer just seems like hair-splitting, a matter of personal taste. I don't get why anybody's interested in them either. But I read research papers for fun, I'm nobody's target audience, except maybe TED.

What do they do? What did half of the people on "Hollywood Squares" do, other than "Hollywood Squares"? This stuff ain't new.
posted by panglos at 6:51 AM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


For criticisms of Kim herself, one need only wade into the thousands of comments on any celebrity news website or Kardashian’s own Instagram account. The same themes crop up again and again. She’s a whore, she’s a waste of a human being, she’s famous for being famous, or famous for nothing, or why is she famous, again? Certainly, many others have rocketed to fame for being in the right place at the right time, or having famous friends, or doing something stupid in public, either accidentally or on purpose. Why is Ryan Seacrest famous? Why is Andy Cohen? Johnny Knoxville? But there’s something about Kim Kardashian and her fame, something specific, and specifically female, that make us uncomfortable.

Apologies if this comes off as nit-picking a minor point, but the author either has a fundamental misunderstanding of what "Famous for being famous" is commonly understood to mean or just happened to pick some really poor examples for "Well, then why is this person famous?" comparisons to Kardashian.

Ryan Seacrest was a local DJ in Los Angeles for years before he made it to the national stage on "American Idol". Johnny Knoxville is an actor who became best known as the creator and star of the wildly popular stunt show, "Jackass". (I don't know enough about Andy Cohen to comment on the comparison).

Now, you can argue about the relative talent of either guy or whether or not you think the projects that brought them their largest notoriety were worthwhile pieces of entertainment, but what made both these guys famous was their professional work (one as a TV/radio host, the other as a person who performed crazy stunts). I don't, at all, see where the comparison makes sense between these two and Kardashian who became famous because of a sex tape rather than a legitimate gig in the entertainment business.

This is not to take away from the larger point the author brings up in her article. Frankly, I think it is more or less impossible to reach Kardashian's level of success and fame while being talentless. She obviously has something, even if it just a unique charisma, that makes people fascinated by her, and good on her if she has wisely found a way to make a fortune taking advantage of it.
posted by The Gooch at 7:41 AM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Famous for being stupid more like. Like America itself.
posted by spitbull at 8:54 AM on September 21, 2014


I don't, at all, see where the comparison makes sense between these two and Kardashian who became famous because of a sex tape rather than a legitimate gig in the entertainment business.

You're right, there isn't really a comparison. There isn't really a comparison at all because previously (relatively) unknown men never become famous for a sex tape (which was released without her knowledge or authorization), based on the sex tape itself. There is no comparison because we don't really care about little known "celebrities" and their sex exploits unless they're female, because we still put women into this madonna/whore thing and we never let them leave it. So here, ten years later we look at the empire she's built - she is famously a very hard worker who rarely drinks, never has really been involved in anything scandalous apart from the sex tape her ex released - and still the only thing the public can say manage to say about her is something slut-shaming or that she's stupid. Despite her now numerous "legitimate" gigs.

Kim Kardashian is a powerhouse. She's beautiful and incredibly wealthy. But she hasn't done it on our terms. She pretty much became famous for a sex tape released without her knowledge and managed to parlay the notoriety into a highly lucrative career and brand. But we don't let her forget why she is where she is. We make sure that no matter what she does, we put her in her place. No matter what she accomplishes, she still has no talent, she's stupid, she's a slut. Society doesn't like a powerful woman, especially if she has a sex scandal and has managed to become powerful anyway, on her own terms.
posted by triggerfinger at 10:19 AM on September 21, 2014 [12 favorites]


He was a government functionary and political figure whose prominence led to his diary being read when it became publicly available about a century after his death.

That's exactly my point. He did nothing much of note and yet, today, is considered an important author/historical figure. For basically no reason except that he's an interesting historical primary source.

And yet he's famous! For no reason!

If you think about it, Kim Kardashian has more reasons to be famous than Samuel Pepys does.

Johnny Knoxville is an actor who became best known as the creator and star of the wildly popular stunt show, "Jackass".

Actually, Johnny Knoxville is a pretty good comparison, since he's mostly famous for making videos wherein he staples his balls to things, and Kim Kardashian sex tape lol. He was previously an "actor" only in the sense that thousands of other non-famous people in Los Angeles are "actors". What he became famous for is about on the level of what Kim Kardashian became famous for, and he leveraged that fame in much the same way that Kim Kardashian did.

You can dress Johnny Knoxville up as an "actor" who became famous after he got a show on MTV wherein he performed wacky stunts. But you can also dress Kim Kardashian up in the same manner, so that's fairly meaningless. She, like Knoxville, is basically "attractive young person who was in the right place at the right time to ride the wave of reality television".
posted by Sara C. at 10:51 AM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


He did nothing much of note and yet, today, is considered an important author/historical figure.

If you think about it, Kim Kardashian has more reasons to be famous than Samuel Pepys does.


Right. I mean he administrated a war and initiated a massive reform of the Royal Navy, paving the way for it to become a defining force of history, got elected, turned into an influential MP, then became the President of the Royal Society and published Newton's Principia Mathematica, but if you think about it that all pales in comparison to Kim Kardashian because something something misogyny. Sheesh, it's getting pretty livejournally in here, can someone open a window?
posted by forgetful snow at 12:23 AM on September 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


*rolleyes*

Oh, sure, of course it is.


what is it with dudes and just responding to criticisms of "hey, this social phenomenon seems to happen exclusively or overwhelmingly to women" with dismissive uncritical bullshit? I mean, I assume the guys who get all ~logicargumentz~ over it and start trotting out MRA bullshit and spurious evolutionary psychology claims are doing it as a sort of masturbatory exercise in making themselves feel smart, but I don't get these ones
posted by NoraReed at 1:10 AM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


That's exactly my point. He did nothing much of note and yet, today, is considered an important author/historical figure. For basically no reason except that he's an interesting historical primary source.

Sara C., Pepys was a pretty important figure in his day (which was an important period in British history). His diary was unearthed and published about a century after his death because he was historically important. It's stayed interesting, while other primary sources are entirely the domain of historical specialists, because he was an engaging writer. By this metric, Procopius was also "famous for being famous" and Sei Shōnagon and Murasaki Shikibu doubly so. These writers have stayed interesting for centuries or millennia for more than their status in their society, which, except maybe for Pepys, has vanished into the past.

I don't begrudge Kim Kardashian her fame and success. She's involved in the extremely tricky and savage world of being a "public figure." I don't think she's going to be a big deal in a decade much less a century. The early 20th C is full of glittering people, some of whom were pretty interesting,who are no longer well-remembered by the general public -- how many high school students would recognize Mary Astor or Dorothy Parker or Errol Flynn? On the other hand, I'd be surprised if Kardashian believes that she is a figure "for the ages," either.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:46 AM on September 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


« Older Mandolin Srinivas (1969-2014)   |   The Discreet Charms of LA's Discount Wonderland Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments