It has been awhile and my first post back is my favorite kind of post: useless. Since the internet went after Ms. Kardashian for her (accurate, but poorly delivered) advice to women, she waited approximately one month before giving folks something else to type about: her Met Gala dress. To the horror of some fashion history enthusiasts, the former Mrs. Kanye West wore Marilyn Monroe’s ‘Happy Birthday’ dress to the mega fashion event of the year. Despite the short amount of time on her body (wearing the garment only on the red carpet and switching into a replica after), claims started popping up that she had damaged the dress. So did she? The image below is from the Marilyn Monroe Collection website, the originator of the ‘damage‘ accusation.
It isn’t clear when the image on the left was taken. The different lighting also makes fair comparisons harder. It could be a replica for all we know, so I went to the source: Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
If you watch the clip, the camera pans down the back of the 60-year old dress to show, you guessed it, damage.
This video was posted on May 3 and depicts Kim K’s fitting before the Gala, giving a better idea of the condition of the dress before the loan. Ripley’s released a statement denying that the reality star had done any harm to the garment and the images support their claim.
A recent episode of WatchMojo featured a top ten list of celebrities that are famous for no reason. What struck me was that the only ones who made the cut were females. A tired trend on a lot of these lists. Search the term ‘famous for nothing,’ and you’ll see countdowns littered with the usual suspects (reality stars, children of celebs) and topped by the mother of them all, Kim Kardashian. A few years ago, I would have nodded my head to the beat and banged the drum in the hater parade, but now, I see two things:
Self-righteous judgment masquerading as promotion of talent and true art. The 2000s ushered in the golden (or dark, depending on who you ask) age of reality TV as well the communication landscape known as social media. Suddenly, reaching thousands or millions of people was not the sole province of the chosen few. ANYONE can cross the threshold from obscurity into celebrity without having to beg permission from the establishment. So what happens? Card carrying members of the elite don’t want to walk red carpets and be named in the same breath with someone who’s most famous for pooping on a flight of stairs. So, the argument goes that reality TV celebrates what’s wrong with America and gives a tremendous platform for foolishness, so the success of any person in that genre makes a mockery of success. Only hard workers and people with discernible gifts (not hood rats and rednecks) get touched by Midas. But that’s what so great about reality TV… it democratizes fame. But this type of notoriety, while the easiest to attain, is tremendously difficult to manage because it requires YOU. When an actor or singer gets criticized, it’s about what they do (or maybe what they wear), something separate from their individual selves. For a reality star, you’re getting railed on for who you are on a regular basis (multiply that through social media and you’ve got a recipe for disaster). This is not a life that many can handle much less maintain for a long time, so some credit is due to those who survive which leads to…
Why all the hate? Especially for women that have managed to make something of themselves in a field littered with burnouts and has-beens? So many of the tirades that mention people who are ‘famous for no reason’ almost NEVER mention men. For all the Kardashian talk, no one seems to remember that Brody Jenner’s fame stems almost entirely from reality TV and his debut (in 2005 with The Princes of Malibu) predates his step-sisters’. But mentioning a few male examples isn’t the point. In our culture, there’s something infuriating about a woman who figures out how to monetize her good looks or charisma or both in a way that increases her capital and status. We get mad about the pretty twenty-something who marries the millionaire; she gets called a gold-digger (he doesn’t get called any names); we roll our eyes and suck our teeth at the size 2 supermodel making thousands per fashion shoot (but give a pass to the (likely male) designer and agent who require she maintain her size to fit the clothes) and we gossip about that cute (and competent) co-worker getting all the attention from the front office (but we’re not questioning the fact that the ones at the top of the chain are all men). Women who succeed at using their feminine wiles turn the system on it’s head because they win at game they’re supposed to lose. They snub the idea that the only time it’s acceptable for a woman to be pretty and charming is in service of a man. They also turn their backs on conventional wisdom about what it means to be ladylike. Are Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton this century’s greatest feminists? I’m not sure, but they’re definitely doing something.
What’s so special about these Kim Kardashian pictures that they’ve been the talk of the town for the past 24 hours? Ok, I’m not blind; I get it; it has that ‘roadside accident that you can’t look away from’ quality to it and it’s supposed to, but doesn’t anyone remember that she already posed nude for W magazine four years ago? It’s the same stunt but less artistic; in Paper, she looks like she showered in Canola; ‘W’ re-imagined her as a living Balloon Venus, painted silver and looking, honestly, quite stunning. Why this magazine thinks a naked woman is earth shattering in 2014 is beyond me, but when’s the last time the publishing industry did something revolutionary?