I don’t understand Kim Kardashian, or any Kardashians, really (it seems like there are a lot of them.) I seem to recall something about basketball players, and I did see that video with Kanye West–it makes sense they’re together, because I don’t “get” him, either, but at least I know what he does. What else? I know Bruce Jenner is involved in here somewhere–and that guy, I know about him: Olympic hero when I was a kid, his name used to be on my sneakers and his face on the Wheaties box, and he still rocks the same haircut as he did in 1976.
I also know what there was a Kardashian Television show, but our TV only goes up to channels with numbers I can count on my fingers and toes, so I’ve never seen it. And there was Porn, right? Maybe that’s why she’s popular–everybody loves porn, especially the people who say they don’t.
So is that it? Is she a porn chick? I was thinking the porn was a later thing, but I don’t know.
I could look. I know that I could look, with a few taps of the keys upon which my fingers now dance so merrily, and use the magic of google to learn far more about Kim Kardashian than any right-minded person should know. The interwebs are that strange and powerful, but I don’t’ want to use them in this instance because I’d rather hear from you, gentle reader,–and because if I used google I’d have to come up with something else to write this morning.
My big question about this Kardashian character is–how do I put it delicately?–the juxtaposition between what I’ve learned and experienced about perceived societal norms and relative beauty standards, stereotypes, and (here it comes) her butt.
I’m sorry, but for all of my life I’ve experienced the men around me going nuts for girls and women who engender a lean, shapely, but not overly curvy stereotype. The icon of my generation was Cindy Crawford–a tall, leggy, athletic looking woman who, while still emerging from the generation of models who actually ate food rather than living on cigarettes and coffee* resembled a healthy, vibrant human being–not a quasi-human living coat hanger. There were aberrations, of course–Dolly Parton springs to mind–but beauty, for my generation of young men, was pretty much dictated to us by Sports Illustrated, with a little help from Farrah Fawcett. Okay, a lot of help.
Then came the skinnies–girls that were more difficult to lust after because, frankly, they looked like mannequins and just as fragile, and it was a pretty good bet that underneath all that make-up was some 14-year-old schoolgirl from West Covina, CA into which all of her mother’s unmet ambitions and bitter self-loathing had been poured, since birth. Ewww.
And now, I’m hearing about “Kim Kardassian breaks the internet” and seeing her photo all over my news feeds, and I’m confused. All of my life, since about 5th grade, I’ve heard guys make fun of, ridicule, and reject girls with big butts. For nearly as long, I’ve heard girls and women do the same, generally behind each others’ back but not always. Since I’ve been involved with women on a more intimate level, I’ve likewise had them complain to me, and to anyone close enough to hear, that their butt is HUGE. I dated a girl was was 5’2 and 101–she incessantly ranted about her “bubble butt.” A few years later, I was involved with a 5’11, 130 lb volleyball player who, you guessed it, complained about her butt. Every woman I’ve been involved with, right up to my wife and including many friends, has expressed butt issues or, just as bad, butt snarkiness.
So, tell me: what the hell am I supposed to make of this? I mean, right on for breaking the mold and (one of my favorite phrases) subverting the dominant paradigm but really, what the hell? Just when I think I have everything figured out, this girl with this giant, gelatin-coated butt goes hyper viral. Is she so charming and wonderful that people are willing to give up their time-honored unrealistic body ideals for someone built like someone you’d actually see in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store? I hope so, but I’m a little cynical. I keep thinking that there is something at work that I’m missing. If so, what is it? Has the world really changed for the better because a woman who, as far as I can tell, is famous because some marketing geniuses decided to present her as something who was famous, has a stupendous posterior?
If that’s true, then the marketers have succeeded where an entire generation of feminists have failed, and by a precisely opposite methodology. Fascinating, isn’t it?–and tangentially related to my post about acting like you know what you’re doing to convince others what you’re doing is what you’re supposed to be doing.
1. Girls with big asses aren’t sexy and should be mocked, except…
2. Kim Kardassian has “got back’ like you freaking can’t freaking imagine, and…
3. Kim Kardashian is freaky popular enough to “break the internet” so…
4. Big bottoms must be sexy to more folks than just Queen.
*Let’s be honest, coffee is, and cigarettes would be, staples of my own diet if I knew the smokes wouldn’t kill me–so apologies to Kate Moss and her spiritual descendents.