A Kardashian Kolumn from millennial’s perspective
With an Instagram following rivaling the population of the United States, the Kardashian family has become one of the most influential dynasties in the world. Between Kris, Kourtney, Kim, Khloe’, Kendall and Kylie, the Kardashian women have amassed 296.2 million Instagram followers and counting. With the addition of the 13.6 million between lone brother Rob Kardashian and former husband Caitlyn Jenner, the Kardashian empire has attained 310 million followers as a family, only 14 million away from the U.S. population.
We, as members of the younger generation, are conflicted by the obvious fascination with this family, but at the same time, we are confused by how their materialistic lifestyles have garnered such attention. There is no denying that humans are drawn to beauty, drama, and money — all three of which are qualities the Kardashian family exhibits.
The Kardashian family first came into the spotlight after Robert Kardashian, the father of Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe, represented O.J. Simpson in the trial of the decade. The sisters then surrounded themselves with other celebrities’ offspring, increasing their status. On top of this, a scandalous video leaked of one of the daughters prompted the start of their reality show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” which first aired in October 2007. Now, the family has found their way into nearly every venue of the entertainment industry.
Kylie Jenner, the youngest of the Kardashian clan, has her own phone app and game, a beauty line called Kylie Cosmetics, and is sponsored by some of the largest retail chains like Puma. Kendall is best known for her cover shoots with Love Magazine and international Vogue editions, walking in the Victoria Secret fashion show, and representing Estee’ Lauder’s ad campaigns. In 2015, Kendall ranked 16th on the Forbes list of top earning models.
Kylie and Kendall have their own PacSun and Topshop clothing lines. These two combined inspire the younger generation and have shaped body image perception to favor a curvier and more athletic build.
Anyone who associates themselves with the Jenner sisters inevitably becomes a “somebody.” Kylie and Kendall intrigue us because they have become the beauty icons of our generation’s teenagers without being a prominent musician or starring in any major films. You may ask why we would be so interested in someone who doesn’t have the typical characteristics of a celebrity. For example, just as a college freshman 40 years ago would have hung up a poster of Farrah Fawcett in her trademark red swimsuit and blonde curly hair, we follow the Jenner sisters on social media because they are our equivalent to the sexy poster on the wall … except our walls are now iPhones. There is an intimacy to being able to access their private moments, which makes us feel as though we are a part of their everyday lives.
The older Kardashian sisters, Khloe’ and Kourtney, have explored writing, interior design and modeling on top of their already assumed fame for having the last name Kardashian. Khloe’ recently released her book, “Strong Looks Better Naked,” which is about her struggles with body image and self-confidence. She has been on the cover for magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan. Kourtney dabbles in interior design and has a phone app that focuses on being a healthy mother who still maintains a social life. Khloe and Kourtney are the heart of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and have had multiple spin-off shows like “Kourtney and Khloe’ Take Miami.”
Kourtney and Khloe’ are a bit older than us, so it’s harder for us to relate to their lives, but their never-ending histrionics hold a certain appeal. From failed marriages to a drunken baby daddy, these two sisters are easily the most dramatic. This drama, while tacky, is entertaining. Film, radio, and newspaper were the only outlets of the past, but now we have so many options, including reality TV. Sure Elvis could shake his hips and curl his lip, but nowadays it takes a little bit more than the thrust of the pelvic bone to keep us entertained.
Kim Kardashian, the second oldest sister is in a league of her own. She is the ultimate trendsetter and has the Midas touch when it comes to making something mainstream. Kim is the envy of the fashion world, working with high fashion designers such as Karl Lagerfield, Olivier Rousteing, and Valentino. She pushes the boundary of appropriate content and has created a new standard for celebrity selfies. Although we know this sounds like a ridiculous reason for being popular, she is the most followed and most influential sister.
Kim is the Marilyn Monroe of this era. Just as Marilyn was the ultimate pin-up girl of the 50’s, Kim Kardashian has become this decade’s sex symbol. Her curvy body deviates from the stick thin model celebrity standard and has brought the hourglass figure back into mainstream culture. For the amount of negative PR and hate Kim receives, she is still a far better role model than someone shooting up behind the screens. Although many people credit her success to her scandalous leaked video and reality TV show, we cannot help but admire Kim for her fashion taste and tech savvy entrepreneurship.
On the surface, two young journalists in Montana have nothing in common with a brood such as the Kardashians, yet if you look closely, part of the allure of this family is that we can relate to them, and so can the rest of the world.
Every family has that one member who can’t find a relationship, but remains a hopeless romantic; or has that one who believes the world was created just for their benefit; or the tall, skinny, and shy member; or even the mother who is a little fanatical about controlling her family. All of these personalities are present within the Kardashian family, and most likely yours as well.
Whether or not you like them, you constantly see them in newspapers, magazines, and on the screen of your TV, and their rapidly expanding empire doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. If you look at the Kardashians as just another trashy celebrity family who is having a negative effect on society, then think about all of the major stars in the last 50 years. Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Whitney Houston, and Prince all died of drug overdoses, yet people idolize and praise them, so what’s wrong with us admiring a family who isn’t overdosing on drugs, yet may have had plastic surgery, be a little attention seeking and dramatic?
We don’t know what to make of this loud, obnoxious, and genetically blessed family, but we also don’t want to stop obsessively following their every move to see what crazy publicity stunt they will pull next. For now, we and a population of followers larger than the country of Indonesia will continue to keep up with these dang Kardashians.