Let’s talk about what everyone cannot shut up about:
The controversial “Kimye” (Kim Kardashian and Kanye West) VOGUE cover.
Sarah Michelle Gellar tweeted that she wanted to cancel her subscription. Naomi Campbell almost had an aneurysm. Seth Rogen and James Franco parodied it. Everyone and their mother has an opinion about this cover.
Everyone seems to think Anna Wintour has gone bonkers, that she has lost her artistic integrity. How can a world famous fashion magazine, nay–an institution as hallowed as VOGUE–slap a reality star like Kim Kardashian on its cover? From the way people reacted, you would have thought the apocalypse was nigh.
Here is the thing: two years ago I would have agreed with you. I would have been all over this uproar like white on rice. But let’s have the conversation that no one else is having.
In college I had a roommate who binge-watched Keeping Up With The Kardashians all the time, and because of my close proximity (we only had two rooms) I witnessed the chaos of the show, unwillingly. Hearing the Kardashians whine and engage in petty, scripted drama made me irate. I remember wanting to disconnect the cable and throw the TV out the window. For years I flinched whenever I saw a Kardashian, sometimes cowering in fear.
I found it comical and in poor taste the way Kim divorced Kris Humphries after 72 days, especially after their ostentatious televised union. I thought everything that was wrong in our inflated, greedy capitalist society was distilled in Kim Kardashian. Then, she began dating Kanye West. Great, I thought, another faux-relationship for attention. I watched the courtship with trepidation and schadenfreude.
When they announced they were expecting, something shifted in me. I could no longer find it in me to make jokes at the expense of the couple. Maybe I’m wrong, but I saw something shift in Kim Kardashian as well. When people went to make fun of her, be it her fashion choices or her increased weight, I saw how poor in taste it was. I don’t care who you are, you never make fun of a pregnant woman.
Grazing through the buffet of celebrity gossip over at Crazy Days and Crazy Nights, I’d see images of “Kimye” walking along through the streets of Paris or New York, and I could not help but notice the way West carefully guarded a pregnant Kardashian, the nuances of tenderness between them, as they dodged paparazzi. I began to realize how flawed it was of me to descend so hatefully upon a couple I knew little about, save for what the media fed me. I began to care less about “Kimye”, and channeled my energy into more entertaining pursuits.
The photographs of Kardashian and West by Annie Leibovitz are gorgeous and intimate: they divulge a love story, they have tenderness and heart. To add onto this, name a renowned fashion magazine today–any magazine–that broadly features an interracial couple in a tender embrace on their cover. To overreact to this, to a fashion magazine, with superiority and arrogance, to say someone “is” or “isn’t” worthy, is misguided. This snafu over the “Kimye” VOGUE cover is so benign compared to the real problems our world is having. Why blow a gasket when you can spend your time engaging in something productive?
This culture of schadenfreude and this repetitive behavior of trashing celebrities is misguided. How can we wish for Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian to fail, and then in the same breath turn around and wonder why our nation has a bullying epidemic?
I’ll end with the old idiom, “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.
Filed under: Opinion