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Kim Kardashian is evil

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Clive Caines CaribDirect

Clive Caines Cultural Contributor

Thinking of Kim Kardashian as responsible for all of the ills of the modern western world maybe unfair but, given that her message for womankind is that you don’t need talent and that physical appearances alone are enough to bring you untold wealth, it is understandable.

I’m all about looking at messages and there is definitely something to be said about the messages brought by the likes of Kardashian, Katie Price and Paris Hiltion; especially when there are plenty of young women willing to follow in their footsteps.

It has to be acknowledged that, the bottom line with women who have successfully ridden the celebrity bandwagon is they are financially astute. Even if there are some who are willing to ignore them it cannot be denied that they have a certain cache with those who are happy to say, “if someone is willing to pay you for turning up at a party wearing a nice frock then take the money and run.”

In stark contrast to Kardashian’s world of celebrity and trivia is a world where

Kim Kardashian. Photo courtesy people.com

musician and actress Fatioumata Diawar uses her talent to draw attention to the ills of female circumcision. Word has it that Diawar’s track ‘Boloko’ couldn’t be released while she lived in Mali, the country where she spent the bulk of her formative years, for fear of physical reprisals.(See Boloko video below)

Even after leaving her homeland Diawar still has to deal with a vociferous outcry against her culturally critical choice of song content.

When it comes to messages for the masses I think that what Fatioumata tells us is that we need females of a griot stature because they are willing to swim against the tide of popular culture.

Dr Helen Wright’s attack on the ‘Zoo’ magazine cover featuring Kim Kardashian certainly points to the disquiet around the type of images that young women are being encouraged to aspire to.

Dr Wright doesn’t use the word evil in her article entitled ‘Why Zoo’s Kim Kardashian cover is wrong’ but she does say, “The abundance of images sexualising and objectifying women does untold psychological damage to young people.” She also goes onto say, “It is not too strong a statement … that almost everything that is wrong with Western society today can be summed up in that one symbolic photo of Miss Kim Kardashian on the front of Zoo magazine.”

Fatioumata Diawar. Photo couertesy last.fm

Unfortunately the difficulty that Wright faces in persuading us of the importance of her message is that cashing in on physical attributes is an attractive proposition; especially when it comes with what appears to be a carefree lifestyle and the confirmatory attention that celebrity brings.

Women attacking the likes of Kardashian throw up something of a contradiction: they leave themselves open to accusations of behaving as badly as the very men whose ideas they seek to attack. But I believe that the accusations are worth living with if the alternative is

to exist in a world where no one is allowed to suggest that our obsession with celebrity has its dangers.

Emma Moore, of Pink Stinks fame, is just one of the many female voices trying to recalibrate the political/social agenda to one of raising questions about gender images. Emma certainly doesn’t think that it is possible to have political agendas neatly divided into male and female politics:

“I have mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, it’s absolutely vital that we ensure that politics includes more women – both in the issues that politics focuses on and the participation of women in politics. So focusing on women’s groups, single sex shortlists etc, can be seen as a positive step in the right direction.

Abi and Emma Moore, founders of Pink Stinks. Photo courtesy platform51.org

My issue with this is that by doing this we appear to be treating women’s issues (and women) as separate somehow from the mainstream. And therefore women’s issues become issues that only women worry about and which only women politicians are deemed suitable to deal with. Women’s issues are everyone’s issues. Men and boys have mothers, sisters, female work colleagues etc. And we are half of the human race!”

There is plenty of food for thought in Emma’s ideas of what would make up a female political agenda if you accept that women have a role to play in all aspects of public life:

“It’s too easy to fall into the trap of saying that childcare, reproductive rights, caring responsibilities are the areas on which women’s politics should focus. Women’s politics should be focusing on much more fundamental issues: economic development, environmental issues, globalisation, health and education worldwide; If we don’t focus on these broader issues from a female perspective then we are doomed.”



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