In Defense of the Kardashians
It’s not that I think everyone should know that Kim’s father was OJ Simpson’s lawyer, her friend is Paris Hilton, her sex tape was suspiciously “leaked,” or her clothing and makeup lines are everywhere. It’s the anger that people feel towards the person I affectionately call “Kimmy K” that bothers me most.
At the lunch table at Harvard, when some began to question my strong loyalty and defense of the Kardashians, I pondered why the bunch had so quickly bestolen my heart. And then it hit me: I could relate to them. As a proud quarter-Armenian/Middle Eastern blend, I could relate to the dark features, shiny black hair and almond eyes of the Kardashian clan. I remembered that when celebrity dopplegangers flooded Facebook profile pictures, my choices were few and far between – mostly Latina, not Middle Eastern. When I began to watch the Kardashians, their brown hair and curves resonated with my non-blonde, non-size-2 frame. And the wackiness of their family mirrored the large, Middle Eastern families I loved from my own childhood.
And so, in an act worthy of being made fun of, I defend the Kardashians and I fully keep up with them. But when you go deeper into the subject matter of their show, I venture to claim that you can learn some valuable lessons. Each Kardashian sister has a different body shape, and all are celebrated. Different levels of traditional beauty are also seen within the family, as so many tabloids so rudely insult Khloe for not looking as attractive as her sisters. But, within the family, the sisters support each other. In a culture so ridden with pointing out the flaws of women’s bodies, their reassuring words to each other during their sisterly talks — even if scripted — are refreshing and welcome.
When discussing the Kardashians with older crowds (as I have tried with some Armenian aunts at family barbecues), the topic is immediately dismissed because of the association with Kim’s leaked sex tape. But that part of Kim’s life is barely part of the show anymore, and not part of Kim’s current fame. In fact, in one of the episodes more likely to be scripted, Khloe opens up to Kendall and Kylie about how she had personally lost her virginity at a time when she wasn’t ready, and she encouraged her younger sisters to wait for the right person.
These lessons of being true to yourself, accepting your body, and working hard are meaningful to the general audience, even if the show was borne from shady roots. And so, I give all a moment to make fun of my defense of the Kardashians, but also challenge you to give a full-viewing of their show a shot before fading into the hate group.