Academic Absurdity of the Week: Kardashian in the Ivory Tower [With Comment by John]

I have never kept up with the Kardashians. I can’t even, as the saying goes. Not even when, as America’s most trusted news source (TMZ) reports, Kim Kardashian suffers a “wardrobe malfunction” at the Cannes Film Festival. (Now if someone photographed her with a firearm, she might be able to make Power Line on a Saturday.)

But never fear, academia is on it. From the journal Celebrity Studies:

Hottentot in the age of reality TV: sexuality, race, and Kim Kardashian’s visible body

Alexandra Sastre


Kim Kardashian is an omnipresent figure in today’s entertainment media. The daughter of O.J. Simpson’s defence attorney Robert Kardashian, she first entered the public eye in 2007, gaining notoriety with a home-made sex tape. Soon after came a reality-television partnership with the E! network that spawned five distinct programmes, and from there Kardashian took on an ever-expanding range of promotional and licensing opportunities, building a successful brand. Throughout, media coverage has placed constant attention on her curvaceous body, locating it as a site where both her ‘realness’ and artificiality lie. This attention to her body, much of it promulgated by Kardashian herself, works to consistently flatten the many interplays between race, class and sexuality in her image in order to best position her as both an accessible and unique commodity in the marketplace of personality. This paper addresses how the portrayal of Kardashian’s body is at once complex and contradictory, concurrently reinforcing heteronormative structures of reproductive, privatised sexuality and historic racial dichotomies positioning white bodies as restrained and non-white bodies as overtly sexual, while exploiting the interstices of these taxonomies for profit.

What, no references to “late capitalism”?  I am so disappointed.

JOHN adds: I have three daughters and therefore have kept up relatively well with the Kardashians. I can even tell Kourtney, Kim and Khloe apart! I admit, though, that I haven’t mastered the younger generation, the Jenners.

For quite a while, when my Democrat friends gave me a hard time about Donald Trump, I answered: Don’t laugh, if Kim Kardashian runs for the Democratic nomination in 2020 she will probably win! I actually think that is most likely true. Although, why an entrepreneur like Kim K. should be a Democrat is beyond me.

Here is Kim at Cannes, shot a day or two ago:


Steve wants to feature her on The Week In Pictures, but I am guessing she doesn’t have a concealed carry permit.