• Hannah Ferguson

The ongoing success of the Kardashians tells us one thing: we're failing

The Kardashians have been the key drivers of excess wealth, disordered eating and diet culture for more than a decade. As long as they sit at the helm of social power, the war on the patriarchy is lost.

Two days ago Kylie Jenner posted a photo between two private airplanes with partner Travis Scott, the caption reads 'wanna take mine or yours?'

I have never been a follower of the Kardashians. I've never seen an episode of the show. I haven't bought a product. I avoid their content at all costs. Everything I learn about this family is against my will and yet, their social presence is so pervasive that it would be ignorant to say they have not been influential in my life.

In a cultural paradigm where our news feeds deliver us an infographic on accessing abortion during an at-risk pregnancy alongside videos of the latest piece of Skims shapewear, it is incredibly difficult to feel like we are fighting the patriarchy, in fact, it feels like we are wedded to it.

The Kardashians are evidence of our obsession with excess wealth. We don't care about the mundane drama their content presents, we are drawn to an alternate reality of over-consumption paired with an unmatched ability to impose a culture of dieting and disordered eating on young women around the world.

What does our interest in the Kardashians tell us about our cultural conscience? That we have been trained to derive enjoyment and entertainment from a source that exists to exploit our insecurities for personal and professional gain.

This isn't an attack on individual consumption of Kardashian content. But it is an opportunity to reflect on our engagement with a celebrity platform that predicates itself on women's self-hatred. Every click, every view, every thought contributes to fueling this fire.

While I guilt myself over paper straws, slow fashion and the hard truth that I may never afford a home, social media delivers me a laxative tea promotion an influencer was paid millions of dollars to shove down our throats. These individuals have so much to answer for. They impose ideas and standards that aren't simply unrealistic, they're dangerous.

The Kardashians are not 'girl bosses' to be applauded. Those days are over. We need to stop watching the fucking show. We have to stop buying the shit-yourself-to-death-smoothies and waist trainers and cleansers. Every second that we spend engaging with and buying into this patriarchal rhetoric we are not only hindering the movement, we are limiting ourselves.

Patriarchy is not to be blamed on women, it's destruction is also not the sole responsibility of women. But when we place women on pedestals who feed directly into these power systems that are designed to destroy us, we are failing ourselves. Their apathy for real life, their disdain for true human experience and struggle is sickening. Participating in the artificial experience they have created is something I can no longer stomach.