Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Kardashian Effect

 by Fadzai Nova

If there is one aspect of Kim Kardashian that people should admire it is her confidence. Most women would hide from the world if a homemade sex video of them was leaked on the internet; however Kim Kardashian has become a successful businesswoman and reality TV star. Whether the video in question was leaked deliberately or not is debatable, but Kardashian travels the world, making appearances with poise as if the incident never happened. Many people have tried the sex tape method of becoming wealthy and famous unsuccessfully, therefore there must be something, an effect, which continues to attract the world towards Kim Kardashian and is maintaining her career.

The Kardashian effect is the continuous pull and influence that Kim Kardashian has in fashion, television, tabloids and social media. London-based designer Roland Mouret stated that Kim Kardashian has more selling power when it comes to selling clothes than Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. This reflects how moral standards and ideals among women are shifting, as these two representatives of celebrity pop culture are vastly different in terms of lifestyle choices.

There is an innate need for people to be loved and accepted. Though Middleton and Kardashian are both
married, they represent themselves and themes of love and acceptance very differently for society. Middleton focuses on family and humanitarian efforts while Kardashian focuses on her family and how many people admire her outside the home. The dangerous element of the Kardashian effect is that people become attracted to the adoration of a mass online audience and become digital narcissists, constantly craving validation of their lives through the number of followers and likes they receive.

There is a current trend in the media to focus on outward appearance, earning and spending money, materialism and values that cannot sustain authentic happiness. Kim Kardashian has perpetuated this trend by having her private life on display. She has 24.2 million followers on twitter and 19.6 million on Instagram, which illustrates just how many people in the world are watching her life and her choices. Therefore, her choices have a significant influence on pop culture. The Kardashian effect has positive sides, as Kim Kardashian represents the curvy, seductive, successful modern female and has encouraged woman around the world to be more confident in their skin.

The media is easily accessible to a large percentage of the population, young impressionable minds included. Kim Kardashian has the right to live her life the way she wants, but it is also important for us as a society to start celebrating people who are talented and extending boundaries in their lives and professions - let's see a nuclear physicist receive those followers for a change.

There is an art to self-promotion that works in creating opportunities for an individual to advance in their career via social media, but it is vital that there is a balance between the image, the tangible person and the necessary skills to solidify these interests. There is no point in blaming the environment for the choices people make and trends like the Kardashian effect are going to be around for some time. It is the individual’s responsibility to create their own awareness and make decisions that they can be proud of in their lives regardless of the popular ideals at the time. We need to start being independent thinkers, not projectors and complainers of what is in the media.