A week ago, Kim Kardashian filed for divorce from her husband of 72 days, after selling the TV rights to her wedding for an alleged 17 million.
And people are pissed. Really pissed.
With just a minor amount of attention to this topic, I've seen her called "scum," "trash," a "ho," and "the most hated person in the world" in complete seriousness. In fact, when I mentioned that I was thinking about writing an article asking people to lay off Kim Kardashian, one friend begged me not to "waste" the column inches on her.
And look, I don't pay a lot of attention to celebrity gossip, and I've never seen an episode of Kim's show, but anytime a whole heap of vitriol and social codemnation starts raining down on one woman's head, one woman who hasn't killed someone, abused a child or an animal, I get a little suspicious.
And what I've found is that it usually has something to do with one of our sacred institutions of womanhood -- sex, marriage, domesticity, motherhood -- and some woman's refusal to treat them as such.
Is the problem Kim Kardashian, or the society that will pay 17 millions dollars to watch a pretty young woman put on a pretty white dress and play out the ultimate expression of pretty young womanhood?
And let me state for the record that I don't know what happened privately in Kim Kardashian's marriage and neither do you [True, and I haven't kept up with this at all either, but when I asked Kim if Kris had a big d*** in that interview, she did decline to answer. Just sayin'. --Jane]. But even if we assume the worst possible scenario, that Kim grossly treated marriage as a financial arrangement, well, she's hardly the first one. (Hello there, Real Housewives!) She just found a way to take the paycheck with her instead of chaining her life to a guy with a checkbook and a pen.
What Kim did was participate in the fantasy that a woman's very greatest worth is in matrimony, then turn around and give the equivalent of a nyah nyah nyah 72 days later. And call me biased, but I never blame an individual woman for exploiting a sexist system, whether it's the hooker who cashes in on her body, which she couldn't do if female bodies weren't for sale, or a reality TV star who capitalized on, but didn't invent sexuality as a path to fame and money.
But, oh the money! The 17 million dollars that could have been feeding children in Africa if only Kim hadn't extorted it for herself. Nevermind the fact that the execs who allegedly gave it to her (cause again, these are rumors), could have just as easily donated it to charity and never would have, because it's all Kim's fault, as is a lot of other stuff. As one ABC commenter put it, "And what the blazes has Kim Kardashian done to deserve $2.6M of anything, while Somali children die?"
The link between making lots of money and society's many ills is not casual, and it's cheap to suggest so. Kim didn't cause famine in Somalia or anything else that's wrong with society, and believe me, the people who did cause them and do perpetuate them want nothing more than for you to be frothing at the mouth over a reality TV wedding. Because it means you're not paying attention to what they're doing.
No woman can exist in a vacuum, and we can only make choices that are there to make. In a society that values fame, sex and money, a young woman courted those things. SHOCKING! In a society that treats marriage as a way for a woman to cash in on her youth and beauty and sexuality, a young woman had the audacity to take those messages literally.
I'm not saying don't be mad at the system -- be mad at greed, be mad at the commodification of marriage, be mad at a culture that awards celebrities huge amounts of money while people starve -- but leave Kim Kardashian alone. She's just following the rules as she found them.
UPDATE: A word on gay marriage, since several people have commented that what really pisses them off about this whole ish is seeing Kim K abuse the institution of marriage while gays who love each other can't marry.
Again, Kim has literally nothing to do with the fact that not all gay people can get married. And considering that the whole "sanctity of marriage" argument is one traditionally used by the conservative right to denounce homosexual marriage, I'd be real careful about turning around and applying that term to heterosexuals. Gays aren't fighting for the right to marriage on the condition that they will always perform it perfectly and never make mistakes or treat it casually.
The right to marry should be without conditions for everyone.