Kris, Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, Kendall and Kylie! Oh, and Rob. Through my teenhood, I have paid close attention to the lives of the Kardashians and the Kardashian-Jenners, as my sister did before me. From Khloe’s front bangs (2008) to Kendall’s Sweet Sixteen (2011), I have kept up with the Kardashians.
My mother always questioned our obsession with the filthy-rich, “talentless” family. The Kardashians worried my mom– would her children see the glamorous family as admirable, aspiring to be Kardashian material? She insisted that I do not watch the numerous Kardashian shows. The exposure to the rich and famous would surely poison my young and impressionable self.
Alright. I can admit that maybe my mom had a point. As some (many) wonder, why are the Kardashians rich and famous? Well, during the OJ Simpson murder case, Robert Kardashian (father to Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, and Rob) played a key role on Simpson’s defense team. Prior to the case, no one even knew what a ‘Kardashian’ was; Robert Kardashian was your average lawyer living in California. His marriage with Kris ended in 1991, and he later passed away from cancer in 2003. After her first marriage, Kris Kardashian married Bruce Jenner, Olympian, later giving birth to Kendall and Kylie Jenner.
The three eldest girls began to gain fame as they reached their late teens and twenties. After Kim was featured on Paris Hilton’s “The Simple Life”, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe opened their own store, DASH. Because they were able to open the store, one can assume their parents already had money to spend. The fame came later.
The idea for “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” was pitched by Kim, and in 2007, the show aired on E!. The same year, Kim gave everyone something to talk about: her infamous tape with Ray J. Ten years later, two husbands later, we still remember that life-changing video. (Find a full timeline here.)
Although the family is physically beautiful to some, making them appealing to watch anyways, the previous three paragraphs don’t fully explain why the Kardashians hold a networth of $339.4 million. A trend exists: We love to watch rich people live. Whether it’s “The Real Housewives” or, obviously, “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills”, we love to see what it is “really like to have it all.”
This brings me back to my mother’s original concern: are the Kardashians ruining her daughter?
While I have seen the belligerently drunk Scott Disick, Kourtney’s baby daddy, punch a hole in the wall and Khloe’s gumball-bathtub nude photoshoot, I am still capable of filtering out the trash, considering my own morals and values. Yes, of course while watching the family jetski in beautiful Santorini, Greece, I said to myself, “I wish I was a Kardashian.”
However, after realizing Kourtney was the only Kardashian with a college degree, I can admit, “I am glad I have school tomorrow.”
While my mother thought I watched “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” plotting to become a member of the famous clan, appreciation grew for my own suburban, middle-class lifestyle. Not only was my life not destroyed by the Kardashians (as my mother predicted), I also learned from them.
- Social media is important, and possibly dangerous.
Although I am not obsessed with the Snapchat and Instagram accounts of Kendall and Kendall Jenner, I do know that the branding has made a significant effect on their careers as a model and…whatever Kylie is. The two sisters use their accounts as a platform to market for companies and connect with fans, promoting their popularity.
However, the Kardashians have all experienced their fair share of backlash on social media. After posting a photo in a Native American costume, many accused Khloe of cultural appropriation. Whether agreed upon or not, her post stirred the pot among her fans, showing the importance of how one’s actions on social media.
In regard to the dangers of social media, after being robbed at gunpoint in Paris, Kim Kardashian took a three month break from social media. The star posted numerous Instagrams showcasing her flashy engagement ring, often displaying her location, leading to the terrifying robbery. Kim reports to have learned from the event. She has since “sorted her priorities” and is now focusing on being a mother, daughter and sister. This robbery serves as a reminder to keep social media accounts free of intimate personal details, such as location and phone number.
- Love yourself!
Although Khloe was once called a “fat piglet” by (none other than) Donald Trump, she did not allow haters to hinder her from loving herself. For most of her life (in the public eye), Khloe has been the “bigger” sister in weight and height. However, Khloe has continued to show girls that it is possible to love your body no matter the size.
Kim also made me contemplate what “loving yourself” really is. During early 2016, Kim received endless scrutiny over a nude selfie added to Instagram. Many celebrities called Kim out, criticizing her for her post, and at first, I agreed with them, However, if that is the form Kim wishes to love herself, who is anyone to criticize her? Women criticizing other women for personal life choices grants men permission to do the same.
- But you can always change yourself for the better.
Although Khloe promoted self love no matter the number on the scale, she also took action to better herself. Just because she loved herself as the “big sister,” doesn’t mean she can’t want to make changes to her body. Khloe lost 40 lbs, gained 6-pack abs and worked for a killer back side. Now, Khloe hosts her own show on E!, “Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian”, where she helps regular people build the body they want. Khloe talks to each individual on a personal level, ensuring that they know they are beautiful both inside and out, with or without the body transformation. She then hooks each participant up with celebrity trainers and successful diet plans.
Kylie Jenner also admitted a huge insecurity last year: her thin lips. After receiving criticism in magazines, Kylie finally admitted her past with lip injections and lip plumpers. She came to terms with her insecurity and did something about it! Although I do not love the idea of plastic surgery for solely cosmetic reasons, I do admire Kylie for admitting her insecurity to the world. If lip injections change the way in which one views themselves, then all power to them!
- No relationship is perfect (even if the people seemingly are).
When Khloe and Lamar Odom got married, Kardashian fans everywhere rooted for them to last and truly believed it! The two seemed perfect together, demonstrating the perfect balance between best friend and lover. However, off-camera, the couple was struggling with Odom’s drug addiction. His abuse was kept secret from public eye for a few months before Khloe hinted at the problem on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. Fans, including myself, were truly shocked by Odom’s addiction and supposed mental illness which eventually led to the couple’s divorce. The couple that seems so genuine, so playful, and so perfect, can also have a fair share of issues.
- Family is forever.
Through it all– death, divorce, drama– the Kardashians (and Kardashian-Jenners) continue to show their incessant love for each other. Whether they the girls (and one Rob) are defending each other on social media or just going out to dinner together, the family supports each other to no end. If the Kardashian family can withstand it all, my own family and families alike can too.