The Kardashians: inspiring or damaging to women?

By Talia Klein Perez
 Getty Images: Jason Merritt
Love them or hate them, the Kardashian family is constantly at the forefront of pop culture chatter for their social encounters, physical appearances and all-female powerhouse business empire. Their looks and endeavors are ever up for discussion online, on television and among girls and women of the world.
Here are three reasons why the brand set forth by the Kardashian clan is inspiring and three reasons why it is damaging to the girls and women.


The Kardashians serve as a source of female empowerment


Redefining the meaning of power

Utilizing social media and the “selfie,” the Kardashian women have taken the reigns when it comes to expressing their selves and their sexuality. By documenting and broadcasting their everyday lives, the Kardashians have greater control over how they are viewed and perceived, by who and under which circumstances. They choose to advertise their personas at $10,000 per tweet and $400K per Instagram post, rather than being exploited for by men or even other women. Instead of allowing the paparazzi and gossip rags to spin any story they fancy, the Kardashians are the first to break news of their goings and comings, nurturing and releasing the dialogue they wish to be heard.


Teaching women to overcome obstacles

Sadly, the Kardashian women are no strangers to hard times. From losing their patriarch to enduring violation in the form of “revenge porn” and robbery, the Kardashians turned lemons into lemonade. They are stupendous models of compassion while overcoming a messy divorce, learning to co-parent and coping with loved ones’ health issues and romantic partners’ addictions.


Serving as the poster-women for female-led empires

Despite many breakthroughs in the female working world, corporate America is still largely a male-dominated arena. By launching and managing their careers, companies and public appearances, the Kardashian women serve as an inspiration to girls and women looking to make it up an ostensibly testosterone-filled echelon. Spearheaded by mom-ager Kris (Kardashian) Jenner, Khloe, Kourtney, Kim, Kylie and Kendall have launched and continue to run an impressive line of products, endorsement deals and ventures, with a collective net worth estimated to be in the millions. If that’s not inspirational to girls and women, then what is?


The Kardashians’ public image is damaging to girls and women


Unrealistic beauty standards create body dissatisfaction

Television shows such as “Keeping up with the Kardashians,”  the Kardashian Beauty line of cosmetics and the ladies’ individual social media accounts set high standards of beauty that are unrealistic and unobtainable by the average American woman. Failing to emulate the popular Kardashian women’s body shapes, hair and makeup regimen and clothing choices can lead girls and women to overly focus on their exterior, developing body and self-image issues.


Promote compromising behavior

A sex tape, nude selfies, cocktails, shopping… let’s face it, the Kardashian women are not exactly the epitome of modern model female behavior. From Kim dressing her young daughter in a corset dress to Kendall’s tone deaf Pepsi commercial, Rather than using their corporate prowess to demonstrate how women can do the same as their male counterparts, the Kardashians have shown the public how batting your eyelashes and swishing your skirts can get you ahead in life.


 Are totally self-obsessed

The Kardashians are deeply narcissistic, self-obsessed women. It’s what they built their careers on. Yet, because they are always in the public eye, the public is constant witness to their egocentric follies. Is this the message we want girls and women to observe and internalize? That unilaterally focusing on yourself will lead to success and satisfaction? Or, will the observed narcissism teach girls and women that you only have to look out for “Number One?”


The Bottom Line: At the end of the day, Kim Kardashian and her family may very well be the “overlooked face of feminism,” as per the musings of a Feminspire article, but the women of the Kardashian matriarchy may just as well be devastating to the feminist movement, capitalizing on women’s insecurities and displaying backwards behaviors according to feminist mantra. What do you think – do the Kardashians inspire feminism or are they harming it?

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