The Piece About The Dehumanization Of Kim Kardashian

The Piece About The Dehumanization Of Kim Kardashian

Originally published on papermag.com

Kim Kardashian was bound, gagged, handcuffed and held at gunpoint by two masked men posing as police officers in her Paris home – a disturbing and frightening incident later revealed to be a robbery.

Facts alone, this is a deeply alarming occurrence. But what continues to make it even worse is the marked lack of empathy for Kardashian currently on display by much of the Internet. Running the gamut from dismissive “who cares” comments to rape jokes to death wishes, it’s a horrific demonstration of how low the Internet’s anonymous forum of trolls can actually sink, and how little humanity we ascribe to our celebrities in general.980x980x-1980x-2

But despite being one of the most famous and polarizing figures in contemporary pop culture, what people often forget is that Kardashian is a human. After all, celebrities, by nature, often feel like they exist on another plane and occupy a bubble that is immune to criticism, plain nastiness and, to an extent, physical harm.

Because they’re in the public eye, fans and onlookers feel a certain sense of ownership of their existence – whether it entails demanding photos, autographs or art. And the Kardashian family, as a reality TV empire, is especially prone to this since their brand is built on a sense of accessibility. So while that means fans feel intimately connected to them, it also means that detractors feel especially entitled to judge what goes on in their lives.celeb

The whole Kardashian clan is subject to this, of course. But Kim receives the particularly explicit and sexually-charged ends of these responses, because a lot of her notoriety is indebted to the way she’s proudly reclaimed her body – whether it’s via magazine covers, selfie books or just nude Instagrams (hence the barrage of rape comments). And while it’s not as tangible as an album or a movie, the fact that Kardashian’s body is a huge part of her brand makes the public feel like they can critique, slam and dismiss her.

So when something undeniably terrifying happens to them, empathy isn’t the automatic response. Celebrities are dehumanized on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t feeling, loving and thinking like you. If misfortune befalls them, it’s easy to dismiss the impact of it with a callous “well, money fixes everything,” but what many forget is that wealth, security and fame do not negate emotional or physical trauma.

Thankfully though, not everyone of the Internet was a dick last night. Trolls were met with respondents like comedian James Corden, who pushed back against the horrific remarks with reminders that Kardashian is “a mother, a daughter, a wife, a friend.”celeb-2

And while obviously well-intentioned, it is unfortunate that this is the way we have to automatically frame her in order to elicit sympathy. She (like many women) is placed in this position where she (and her feelings) are completely alien to the general public – that is, unless there is a specific relatable reference point that reminds she is more than just a “famous reality TV star.”

Kardashian is a multifaceted person – she deserves sympathy, because it’s a traumatic experience. Nothing she has done in the past makes her immune to fear or deserving of anything less than support. People need to empathize with Kardashian in this way, and not just through the relational model that emphasizes her role as the X to another person’s Y.celeb-3

Her primary identity is not derived from the fact that she’s someone else’s wife, daughter and mother. She might be married to Kanye West and she might have two children, but she’s also an incredible businesswoman in her own right, and has been a powerful cultural figure since before all that. And even if she didn’t build an entertainment empire, she is still worthy of individual respect.

We should be shifting perspectives by reminding people that Kim is a real person – just like you or me.

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20 Comments

  1. Mandy
    October 08, 06:11 Reply

    Oftentimes I feel really sorry for the Kardashians when considering how poorly people regard them. Like seriously, what’s the worst thing they’ve done? So Kim had a sex tape… So they tape how they live for us to watch… So they seem like they utilize every opportunity to further their fame… So frigging what?! How is that not the definition of every human being on earth? Having sex, living their lives, and being opportunistic? Human beings can be such hypocrites.
    I feel very saddened that such a ghastly thing happened to her, and instead of commiserating, people are either casting aspersions, saying she may have made it up, or wishing that she’d been assaulted more than the tying up. How are people so callous? Tufia! Just tufia!

    • Mandy
      October 08, 06:12 Reply

      That one calling her a cheap hoe. She’s mega rich, has a husband and two kids. Get over yourself.

    • Pjay
      October 09, 00:53 Reply

      Hi Amenable Amanda, The politically correct one. I love the Kardashians and all but I wasn’t at all mortified when I learnt Kim got robbed. I just thought there’s more where that came from. In fact, I didn’t begin to think it was a ghastly thing that happened to her until I read this post. She’s fucking rich mehn! When good things happen to her tho, like when Kanye proposed and when she drops baby news, I’m usually the first to congratulate her. What sort of person does that make me?

  2. ambivalentone
    October 08, 07:10 Reply

    Guilty. While I never wished rape on her, it was very hard for me to believe she wasn’t and frankly, I thot it more drama to spice up her show until I saw statements from the French govt. She’s quite the sex symbol and I forget she has children many times she’s in the news. I guess there are business-minded thieves after all.

  3. Francis
    October 08, 07:33 Reply

    Mscheeeeww. Ndi “feminists” always lurking around the corner to make a harsh statement about a harmless remark.

    • ambivalentone
      October 08, 08:24 Reply

      I remember my harmless remark was misconstrued in a not-so-distant past. ??

  4. Bain
    October 08, 10:02 Reply

    I tot dah shit was made up….. ion know Kim personally buh in her show…. shes very dramatic…. so I guessed?….
    buh I can’t imagine how traumatized she will be riii naw……it is well.

  5. Delle
    October 08, 10:32 Reply

    Really, I just do not get it. But the thing is this: many of these people, anonymous and the likes, tend to create a different entity from who they are originally. Being online is all about one thing – Drama. Many may not be that mean in reality, but the facade social media creates is enough to cause someone, who originally wouldn’t nurse such ill feelings, to dish out hurtful sentiments just so they ‘belong’.
    It’s almost the same thing with what goes on here on this blog. Where pseudonyms spew the most callous of things just so the drama is brought to the table. It’s a plastic existence online. Everyone is being fake and just living a lie. An opportunity to be that person nature prevented you from being.

    It’s sad that Kim is an easy target for such faceless people. And her ring? Oh, I myself, hasn’t even gotten over the shock of the loss.

    • Keredim
      October 08, 11:48 Reply

      Adelle nkechinyere, biko speak for yasef. You can be fake online.

      Me I am real o!! I like being an old and haggard International hoe, inugo!!

      ??????

  6. Dontdropthathun
    October 08, 12:37 Reply

    Uhm…were there no surveillance cameras? Excuse me this is Kim Kardashian or Katrashian or whatever…what if she’s pulling a stunt like Ryan Lochte? And if the claims are true..sorry for her then but please let’s move on with our lives and face our own chilling issue….Before you know it…the media blows up about a new whatever she or her family got her…XX

  7. Gag
    October 08, 19:22 Reply

    I would have been bothered about her, but she is clearly obsessed about herself and business. She never speak doing #BlackLivesMatter, she didnt say anything during the Orlando killing. Even during #BringBackOurGirls. So………………..

    • dontdropthathun
      October 08, 20:30 Reply

      Come to think of it…you’re very right! She never took any stand to any of those actions. …xx

    • Brian Collins
      October 08, 22:32 Reply

      Every one knows that she doesn’t care about anyone but herself. It’s why I can’t stand her.

      • Pink Panther
        October 08, 23:41 Reply

        How does everyone know this? How do YOU know this? What instances has she shown you that she doesn’t care about anyone but herself?
        And if she does, is it justification for celebrating her ugly experience?
        Abeg speak within reason of a fellow human being.

    • Pink Panther
      October 08, 23:49 Reply

      I’m sorry o, Gag. But did every celebrity in Hollywood speak about #BlackLivesMatter or the Orlando shooting or #BringBackOurGirls?
      Do you even know for a fact that Kim Kardashian didn’t express empathy for those movements?
      What are you people even saying? That somehow, if she didn’t take a public stand on such issues, she deserves this?
      Smh. Humanity sha.

    • Dito Rezz
      October 09, 09:48 Reply

      She’s Armenian and she speaks for the Armenian community in America when the need arises so I guess she’s not all about herself. Most people don’t know this because her community is one of the many minorities in America.

  8. Brian Collins
    October 08, 22:29 Reply

    Me I just decided to do what James Corden prescribed on social media. I felt bad cause I have e perienced something like this and it was very traumatizing. Other than that, I really don’t care. Can’t stand her.

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