The World’s Most Hated Woman is Probably More Successful Than YouFrom C. McGinty
“Why are we obsessed with this woman? She’s famous for doing nothing!”
Kim Kardashian haters everywhere, circa 2007-present
It’s hard to pin down exactly why America is so mesmerized by the Kim Kardashian. Her rise to fame began as a cast member in the early-2000's reality show The Simple Life, where she periodically appeared as then-It-Girl Paris Hilton’s stylist and assistant. Then, as is indelibly inked in the public eye, her sex tape with R&B singer Ray-J was leaked in 2007. Kim took what should have been her 15 minutes of infamy and spun the ordeal into a career that spans from reality star, to boutique owner, to clothing and makeup consultant, to app designer. Not only has the reigning Queen of Selfies secured her own future, but her family’s and children’s as well.
Yet she has one of the worst Q scores (a statistical measure of public familiarity and approval) of any celebrity for daring to commit the following offenses:
Self-absorption. Kardashian currently has 29 million Instagram followers and is famous for her frequent “selfies” and extensive beauty regimen (a source reported she spends $100,000/year on beauty products and treatments and another $100,000/year on a personal photo retoucher). As we all know, women who put visible effort into their appearance, and work hard to look good, are universally shallow. Women who dare take and distribute pictures of themselves? Conceited and attention-seeking.
Not feeling the requisite amount of shame that America demands of women whose private moments have gone public. Has Ray-J received nearly as much hate as Kim has for their leaked sex tape? No, not even close. Furthermore, she dares to continue posting sexualized images of herself instead of covering up, becoming a nun and posting #ConventSelfies.
Plastic surgery. See #1. Our society at large seems to consider itself the moral authority on elective plastic surgery for women, its verdict being: don’t you dare, but we’ll pick apart every aspect of your appearance in every major news source regardless.
Kim, however, doesn’t let the sheer volume of hatred get to her, and she and her family are business as usual. Although some call her a gold digger for her consecutive marriages to Damon Thomas, Kris Humphries, and currently Kanye West, her current worth is estimated at $65 million. Here are some of her less-mentioned professional achievements:
Running a chain of boutiques. Kim, along with her sisters Kourtney and Khloe, opened the clothing store D A S H in Los Angeles in 2006, which now has additional locations in Miami and New York.
Securing the public’s interest in her reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, for 10 seasons and counting. The show began in late 2007, in the wake of her leaked tape. Kris Jenner, Kim’s mother, just signed a deal to produce four more seasons of the show as well as spinoffs, for a reported $100 million.
Creating clothing and makeup lines. The three Kardashian sisters designed the Kardashian Kollection for Sears, as well as the Kardashian Beauty line for Ulta.
Designing an app. The Kim Kardashian Hollywood app, in which you play a Kim-like character making a name for yourself in Hollywood, launched in June of 2014 making $43 million in its first three months alone. Kim reportedly gets 45% of the profits.
Bringing attention to the Armenian genocide year after year. This year, Kim, who is third-generation Armenian, is traveling to Armenia for the 100th anniversary of the start of a genocide that took millions of lives, which is on April 24th. Many political leaders still haven’t formally recognized the genocide, including President Obama.
Controversially appearing on the cover of Vogue. Anna Wintour, Vogue editor-in-chief, was criticized harshly for featuring Kim and Kanye on the April 2014 issue, as many considered it a dilution of the “high fashion” Vogue is known for. However, that month’s sales surpassed 1 million, more than either Beyoncé’s or Michelle Obama’s covers.
America usually loves a story that arcs from hardship to success, but somehow Kim is an exception to that. Why so much hatred for women who are beautiful and know it? Or for women who use their sexuality to their advantage instead of withdrawing in shame? We need to recognize entrepreneurship and business savvy in fields less traditional than the C-suites. In an age when the critical mass of people consuming your product becomes the product, it’s no surprise Kim is so successful at what she does. In the words (which is to say, tweets) of Madonna, “If you don’t like me and still watch everything I do…you’re a fan.”