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Razer: Kim Kardashian's Moment of Righteous Feminist Candour

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In news destined to excite precisely no one, least of all the scorching star herself: Kim Kardashian is fine by me. No, really. So long as none of us is compelled by law to purchase the Kim Kardashian credit card, the Kim Kardashian energy drink, the Kim Kardashian alcoholic drink, the Kim Kardashian weight-loss drink, the Kim Kardashian weight-loss shoe or any one of the dozens of awful products she has chosen to endorse, I am untroubled by her celebrity. I could even go so far as to say that I endorse it.
Let’s hail Kim for two reasons. First, such uninhibited brand partnership is probably the Klarion Kall of Kapitalism’s downfall. We can welcome her profligacy as a sign of the market’s impending death. Second, my god. That rack. It’s extraordinary and I, for one, am very glad to see it documented so often.
Before Kim Kardashian started publishing her nude self-portraits, such unfeasible bodies were seen only in the notebooks of masturbating teen cartoonists. She is, in my view, hopelessly gorgeous and hers is the kind of geometry that could start Lord Byron on a curvilinear tear. It is a public service to show it. It should be a summary offence to conceal it. I cheer every time this beautiful woman removes her on-trend kit.
What I don’t do, though, is cheer her “feminism”. This puts me in a minority. Cheering Kim’s feminism has become a widespread habit, most especially following last week’s nude selfie, which I personally regard as one of her very best.
To say that one does not cheer her feminism is not to say that one disputes her feminism—in my case, it is certainly not to say that I do not cheer her form, which, despite her claims that it is “flawed”, looks nigh on perfect to me. Phwoar. Anyhow. There’s no point disputing feminism. I’ve given up disputing feminism for Lent. You can’t dispute a movement in which everything is admitted as valid.
Feminism, as several pieces written about Kardashian remind us, means anything you fancy. Just as long as you agree with the principle of “equality”—which many forgotten feminist scholars do not—you’re in. Everything else, including and especially Inspiring™ nude selfies, is feminist. This means that feminism is always and necessarily beyond criticism, and it also means that people are talking an awful lot of shit. Well, shit in my view. Of course, there are youngsters who vehemently disagree that the Kardashian Konversation—which largely affirms her “right” to nude up, as if that were ever a question—is shit.
If one suggests that the nude-selfie may not have earned a place of
primacy in the feminist conversation, one is elitist, ageist, and sometimes even racist or transphobic in refusing to admit the centrality of the corporeal, both the subject of nude selfies and the oppressively defining cultural characteristic of transgender people and people of colour. Which is an argument I can brook, to a degree. But FUCK ME. We’re talking about Kim Kardashian. And we cannot talk about Kim Kardashian as a signifier of anything but herself.
Once you’ve put your image on a credit card and openly admitted that your body functions as a marketing tool, you ain’t the same as me, dacks down on Facebook waiting in the dark for empowering “likes”. Not all bodies function solely as bodies. Some of them are logos.
So, even if we listen to these young persons who insist that (a) any criticism of a soi-disant feminist is “elitist” “policing” and (b) the failure to celebrate the feminism of the nude selfie is also the abject failure to understand the terms of a newly emerged diverse visual culture, this is still Kim Kardashian. And she will turn your feminist defence of her right not to be “body-shamed” or “slut-shamed” into a pay-per-view feminist essay. Yes. She did.
If you like, you can subscribe to Kardashian’s site to experience her Come to Feminist Jesus moment. But, before you commit your Kardashian credit card to a $2.99 pcm payment, why not read the terms and conditions for subscription. At 34,000 words, it’s a slightly longer read that Heart of Darkness. Or, to make a better comparison with another famous legal text, it proceeds for about eight US Constitutions.
All of which is to suggest that Honest Kim’s Moment of Righteous Feminist Candour, available for $2,99, may be produced by a mechanism even more complex than that which objectifies bodies. It may be a deception.
This is not to say that Kardashian may not earnestly feel hurt by criticism. This is not to say that she herself is always cynical nor that she has any particular responsibility to be a good girl. If you fret that Kim Kardashian is “bad for women”, I fret for your powers of social understanding. If you fret that Kim Kardashian is a “bad role model” for your teenage girl, I fret for your parenting skills. Patently, you raised an idiot child unable to discern the difference between reality and Instagram.
All these criticisms that Kardashian is “bad” make as little sense as those that she is “good”. She is neither good nor bad nor, in my retro understanding of the term, feminist nor anti-feminist.
Like any advertised commodity—and this is not a sermonising insult, but a statement of fact where Kardashian is concerned—this woman is beyond morality. You can’t hold a mirror up to something for sale and ask “Is it good?” You can only ask “Does it sell well?”
The market, intrinsically corrupt, cannot be judged by morals. It must not be defended by feminism.
Oh. There I go with my “elitist” “policing” again. I should probably atone and treat myself to an empowering credit card.
[box]Image: Kim Kadashian West on Instagram “When you’re like I have nothing to wear LOL”. [/box]
Previously by Helen Razer:
Peta Credlin, Niki Savva and the Primordial Female Horror

21 responses to “Razer: Kim Kardashian's Moment of Righteous Feminist Candour

  1. What a wanky load of inane rubbish. Your point is: we live in capitalism; capitalism is amoral; therefore you are amoral; therefore we all should be amoral; therefore we should “endorse” Kim Kardashian–I dunno, wanna go further? Why not support Donald Trump because he, too, is stupid and fun? I mean, is he not himself an avatar of “late kapitalism” at its koo-koo kraziest?

    1. Hi Matthew and thank you for your masturbation references.
      To say that capitalism is beyond morality is not the same thing as saying that it should be tolerated. It is simply to say that it should not be judged in moral terms.
      That the commodity, in this case Kardashian, has a moral, in this case feminist, value attributed to it is not a good thing. But, it is a thing and critiquing this is not, as you seem to charge, some post-modern excuse for Donald Trump but, rather, a very earnest, and quite traditional, critique of capitalism itself.
      Perhaps you could read the piece again and find its critique of the commodity, which we must not judge in moral terms but for its function within a complex of relations, is more in line with what I presume to be your left-wing views.
      Please see

      1. I really enjoyed the article, your opinions are always surprising and make me smile at the computer screen. I did have to read it more than once after your reply to Matthew above, as I wasn’t sure I got the message after reading those comments…in fact I am still not sure. In any case its refreshing to hear an intellectual like yourself write without just spewing hatred for celebrities and and in principled matters like the Savva book: figures on the right. I thought the previous article might rank a mention on MediaWatch last night…

    2. I thought it was a comment on the most wanky load of inane rubbish.
      I think Helen was just having fun.
      I don’t think you are.

  2. This is dreadful writing (typical of razor), firmly placing the blame on the victims of mass market propaganda in an attempt to write an article proclaiming an unorthodox view. Give up Helen you’ve lost any relevance writing garbage like this.

    1. Who is the victim here, Jake, and to whom do I assign blame? If you are going to make the common charge of “victim blaming”, perhaps it would be useful to explain it.
      I appreciate fully that you do not enjoy my writing anymore than you enjoy spelling my name correctly. But to say that a critique of the market or the market of images is an “unorthodox” view is to call a fairly traditional socialist critique of such things “unorthodox”, and while it may be, in the common pro-market era, unusual to criticise capitalism, it is not unorthodox.
      I do not mind disputes. I do, however, mind wilful misreading. If you are going to disagree with something I have written, and apparently, everything I have written, be sure about what you’re disagreeing with.

  3. I too love ‘Kimmy’s Kurves’, I love your writing, I loved this piece but I loved your response to Jake and Wilder more. Whole lotta lovin’ going on over here… Keep up the good work.

  4. Kim Kardashian is simply a narcisstic putana heralded as a representative demagogue of declining western capitalism, inside a balloon called rightful feminism.

  5. I am glad someone has finally acknowledged the connection between Kim Kardashian and Friedrich Nietzsche. Kim bravely answers the question at the end of Beyond Good & Evil (“What is noble?”) with answer: Making as much money as possible – preferably with some nudity involved.
    It’s all about the Walter Benjamins Yo.

  6. Does anyone else feel slightly ashamed for falling for Kardashian click bait? The Kim nude selfie isn’t even nude. Revealing lingerie would be sexier than those enormous black strips, placed, I suppose, to meet Instagram’s prudish standards. And apart from click bait, Helen, and the need to provide the 3000 or whatever words, why a Kardashian article? A chance to use ‘soi-disant’? No weekly internet/media outrage about what somebody said to pontificate upon?

  7. Thanks HR. I have long advocated the terrifying and misogynist idea that not everything is about feminism, and not everything can be split into the feminist/non-feminist camp, however as a male I only ever have those conversations at the pub, not on social media. I don’t want to be hated by everyone.
    And from the authorship of a woman, it just makes much more sense coming from you anyway, as you might even understand feminism.
    I used to be with it, then they changed what it was, Now what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s it seems weird and scary to me.

  8. A discussion of feminism in terms of macro-economics, logical analysis and commodification parading as moralising? You crazy Helen! What about feelings and intersectionality?
    I despise Kardashian Kulture and consider them the the most excellent example of capitalist materialism and market mechanisms (commodification of children, sexuality and gender and the particularly evil almost subconscious reinforcement of conservative ideals through faux progressive causes). Yet I love this Kardashian article and am so glad you wrote it. And I love your smackdowns, particularly those who attacks are based on form rather than substance.

  9. I agree. What a load of rubbish, Helen Razer. Relevantly you fail to mention the profound level of narcissism displayed by Kim Kardashian and her money grubbing family and how the utterly solipsistic behaviour of the Kardashian clan, Kim in particular with her 67.3 million Instagram followers, promotes a global culture of selfishness and narcissism. This appallingly self-centred behaviour is a complete repudiation of feminist values that seek to promote equal respect, opportunity and standing in society rather than using one’s body and sexuality as a marketing tool to reap in millions annually, $51 million in the last financial year apparently. Kim Kardashian has parlayed her body parts and sexuality into a vacuous career of contributing nada to society while raking in millions, the embodiment of the ‘greed is good’ ethos. If we wonder what is the wrong with the world right now it can be personified in this vacuous personality who has offered the world absolutely nothing other than promoting a culture of “me me me”. Reading this rubbish is three minutes of my life that I will never get back. This is the last time I will be wasting my time reading your peurile, banal commentary, Helen Razer.

    1. Although, Francesca, I will naturally be haunted by your rejection of my future works, I would say that I mention the Kardashian fortune throughout this piece. I also say, quiet explicitly, that Kardashian employs her own body as logo. And so I fear your charge that I ignore the business woman’s unchecked money-making may be misplaced.

      1. I would also say that the use by a woman of her body for the purposes of money-making is no longer (thank goodness) held by most feminist to be anti-feminist.

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