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Are the Kardashians-Jenners feminists? Show more Show less
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The Kardashian-Jenners have built an empire worth over a billion dollars around their name alone. While some argue their entrepreneurship is inspiring for young women, others point to their sexualization and fixation on appearance as evidence they are bad influences on young women. Are the Kardashian-Jenners empowering, feminist figures? Or do they demean all that feminism stands for?

No, the Kardashians are not feminist Show more Show less

The Kardashians only give lip service to feminism to profiteer from it.
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The Kardashians' approach to social movements often appear insensitive, making them seem out of touch with reality

The Kardashians cash in on feminism when it's convenient, but not important. Their presence and support in social movements often appears as reluctant and symbolic, rather than voluntary and realistic.

The Argument

The feminist movement is not isolated, nor can it be treated as such. Women are not just women but belong to other races, cultures and have different sexual orientations. Hence, feminism is meaningless, if it is not intersectional. The Kardashians however, often appear to be ignorant of this truth. In 2017, Pepsi released an advertisement featuring Kendall Jenner calming down a Black Lives Matter protest by handing a can of Pepsi to a police officer.[1] It received tremendous backlash, and rightly so. Kendall not only appeared insensitive but also came across as a "white savior" swooping down to save black lives. This not just trivialized the entire movement, but effectively negated it. Perhaps the criticism Kendall faced would have been toned down had she acknowledged her error and seen the part she played in belittling the BLM movement. However, when it was pointed out to her, she apologized tearfully, commenting on how the ad reflects negatively on her, rather than its impact on the movement. Moreover, during the recent revolts against police brutality against the blacks, the Kardashians released their statements much later, their silence speaking volumes to their immense social media following. Even then, all their contribution to the movement was to show solidarity through Instagram stories and sending donation links to the public.[2] Such a response appears to have more of a token value than actual outrage. With several members of their family belonging to the black community, including their children, and their outspoken love for the black culture plastered across their social media handles, the Kardashians support of the movement early on would have strengthened it. Instead, their prolonged silence made people question if whether they truly supported the black community. When countless men, women and even children have unconditionally supported the BLM movement, can the Kardashians with their power and influence be truly called as feminists with only their token and symbolic gesture?

Counter arguments

The Pepsi ad was written by the creative writing team representing the corporation, with Kendall being just like any other actor on the screen within the advertisement. As such she, much like many others within her field, has no control over its artistic direction and has to follow guidelines set down by the director and by extension, the corporation. However, it easier to blame Kendall for trivializing the BLM movement, then it is to point fingers at Pepsi & Co. The 21st century is still very much a male-dominated society, and as a result, women who succeed, particularly successful women who speak their mind are a threat to the fragile egos of those who supposedly run the world. Hence, Kendall became a scapegoat, criticized by people who lack the courage to hold accountable multinational corporations who have little to no regard for movements like BLM. Furthermore, with respect to social movements, the focus soon shifts from the actual problem existing in society to one created because the Kardashians’ response was not adequate. Such criticism levied against them is baseless, and often malicious and it creates a distraction, allowing the actual perpetrators of the crime to go scot-free.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] The Kardashian-Jenners only jump on bandwagons when it can benefit them, not when they actually believe in a movement. [P2] The Kardashian-Jenners often seem tone-deaf with respect to the consequences of their actions. Kendall Jenner's apology focused on herself, rather than the movement and the people the advertisement offended.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Focusing on the Kardashian-Jenners distracts from the real issues ins society that need to be addressed. [Rejecting P2] Kendall Jenner was the face of the advertisement, not the creator. As such, she was right in focusing on herself, rather than the company.

References

  1. https://time.com/4726500/pepsi-ad-kendall-jenner/
  2. https://www.bet.com/style/living/2020/06/02/kardashian-jenner-responses-to-the-george-floyd-protests-and-blm.html

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This page was last edited on Monday, 20 Jul 2020 at 17:24 UTC

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