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Today, I was talking with me dear friend Heather about all the gleeful derisions Kim Kardashian has been getting for gaining weight and looking like Shamu.
Let me just say that I have no particular love for Kim Kardashian. I cannot fathom our nation’s obsession with “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and all her spin-off reality shows. I couldn’t imagine a less compelling show about a less compelling family if I tried. I guess I’m just having difficulty understanding what’s so fascinating about watching someone twirl their hair and complain their (sister/boyfriend/plastic surgeon) isn’t calling them back. That said, I also have no particular hate for Kim and the rest of her kin. I am happy to exist peacefully alongside, if separately from, them. However, I have noticed a tidal wave of female schadenfreude towards Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy and weight gain. These women act as if Kim somehow personally hurt or insulted them and now they finally have their long-awaited and well-deserved recourse.
Like “OMG!!! We totally knew it all along – Kim Kardashian really IS a a grossly overweight whale!! Her sexy image was just a cover-up after all! LOLZ!!!!” Now, I know I’m going to be splitting hairs here and pooping on somebody’s party, but this is an attitude that really grinds my gears. It’s like these women feel threatened and insulted simply by the fact that Kim Kardashian is a very attractive woman who is desired by many men. Not only is she absolutely gorgeous (how DARE she!!! That prudish whore! Or whorish prude! Or, or-), she is also very wealthy and widely successful. (Again, I am not condoning HOW she makes her living – but if it bothers you so much, why do you pay attention to her?) Kim Kardashian’s passive state of being – beauty – becomes an active aggressor. When she gains weight and steps out looking less than enviable – another passive state of being – this becomes jealous women’s active defense against her. I know nobody thinks of it that way when they hate her for her beauty or deride her for her weight, but that is the psychological process that is going on underneath all of this. It’s pretty sick, don’t you think?
If you think about it, this attitude is SO not empowering. This attitude is victim mentality, loser mentality, slave mentality. Yes, I said slave mentality. There is still immense pressure in our society for women to look perfectly gorgeous, which naturally creates a lot of feelings of ineptitude and negativity in women who don’t feel they measure up (and even in women who do!). Women who ascribe to these pressures become slaves to them. Contrary to what is apparently popular opinion, making derisive remarks about another woman’s looks does not free the woman making them from this paradigm. In fact, these derisive remarks act as little chains that compounded the enslavement of the woman making them. You see, when you refuse to buy into society’s beauty standards – when you refuse to accept that a woman’s outer appearance is reflective of her intrinsic value, it doesn’t matter how you or other women look. You stop comparing yourself to other women, because your looks are no longer a measuring tool for your sense of worth and self esteem. Your looks then become neutral attributes. You don’t fight about who is better on the basis of what colors you like, or what you ordered for lunch, do you? It wouldn’t occur to you to compare yourself to another woman because she ordered chicken caesar salad and you ordered spinach pear salad because chicken gives you indigestion. Deep down, you know that it’s wrong for society to tell you that you’re not good enough based on your looks. You start to feel resentment towards society telling you a) how you should look and b) that you don’t currently look this way. Your resentment starts to manifest itself as anger and aggression against the perceived source of your negative feelings. If you’re like some women, the perceived source of your negative feelings becomes any example of this beauty “standard” (i.e. any woman who is perceived to be better looking than they are, like Kim Kardashian). So, they develop vicious and hateful attacks, such as calling Kim Kardashian a slutty money-hungry fame-whore or, alternately, Shamu. Instead of doing something that would make THEM feel better about themselves, they expand hate and negativity towards someone else. This only perpetuates their unhappiness and their self-indulgent attitude that they don’t have to change anything with themselves. While it’s true that our negative feelings about our looks are the result of an unfair expectation placed on us – what we often fail to realize is that we don’t have to accept that expectation. Society calls us to a duel, and we unhappily accept. But we don’t have to! It’s like a bully calling you a chicken on the playground if you don’t fight him. Guess what? You don’t have to fight him! That doesn’t make you a chicken. It actually makes you above his petty instigations. Society is like that bully, and beauty standards are like “chicken” taunts. Why engage? A proverb comes to mind: Don’t fight with fools; they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience. You won’t win. And you’ll only come out looking bloody and worse for wear. With that in mind, Kim Kardashian certainly doesn’t seem to be the one who’s worse for wear here (she even joined in on the joke)! She is, after all, a master of spinning other people’s negativity into benefit for herself! 😉