Article by Tony Sokol
The Kardashians, they are inescapable, and oddly hypnotic. Whether you love, hate or have somehow been able to remain indifferent to them, Kim Kardashian and her family of entrepreneurial magicians are mesmerizing. Maybe you thought they had too much, when they first came to media view, that they didn't deserve their fame and fortune, but now fans of the clan are clamoring to give them more. Kim Kardashian West's half-sister Kylie Jenner, known for flawless selfies and callisthenic lips, is set to be the youngest-ever self-made billionaire and her fans want her to hit the goal before she is 21. Jenner, who turns 21 in August, would surpass Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who became a billionaire at 23. Jenner's cosmetic company, reality shows, sponsorships, and endorsements earned her $900 million. Her followers put up a funding site to help her nab the other $100 million. On the fan Go Fund Me page – 167 people have already donated. The person who made the account wrote: ‘Kylie Jenner was on the cover of Forbes Magazine today for having a net worth of 900 million dollars, which is heartbreaking. I don’t want to live in a world where Kylie Jenner doesn’t have a billion dollars.
But why? 71 percent of Americans take advantage of government benefits like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, or unemployment checks, but many of them are willing to help Kylie become a self-made billionaire. And now they promise to "skip child support payments to help this fierce female become an iconic billionaire!" Have these people been programmed, after years of saturation, to respond like Pavlov's dog? Are the memes of Kanye West being brainwashed Get Out-styled trying to tell us something?
It looks like people will empty their purses just because Kylie Jenner pursed her full lips. The youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner siblings is the sole owner of the cosmetics company, Kylie Cosmetics, worth about $800 million by itself. Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, Kendall and Kylie exert a potent cultural influence, who rode mainstream and social media to bring on “Kardashian Kulture.” Keeping up with the Kardashians indoctrinated reality TV aficionados with intimate peeks inside the lives of the rich and famous and beautiful. The series made the superstar lifestyle appear achievable. Just like it looked like you could learn their secrets to bigger butts, fuller lips, smaller waists and clothes that fit.
Kris Jenner pitched the reality show Keeping Up With the Kardashiansto Ryan Seacrest’s office in 2007 with a dream of turning fifteen minutes of fame into thirty. The picturesque family sold magazines and generated online page views. They were SEO Gold and forever trending. Kourtney's pregnancy announcement came just four days before a season premiere, pulling in an audience of 2.8 million. Kim’s engagement to Kris Humphries in 2011 came with a People magazine cover. The divorce, 72 days later, was even bigger and made Kim more relatable and spawned the show Kourtney and Kim Take New York. The youngest sister got her own show, Life of Kylie, and became a cover girl, and sold everything from Pepsi to Pumas.
The Kardashian-Jenners tweeted, took over Snapchat, and ultimately claimed to break the internet. Their mass appeal and understanding cyber psychology drew a legion of loyal followers. Kim Kardashian sold lollipops to help people lose weight and has her own makeup line, KKW Beauty. Followers took the “Kylie Jenner Lip challenge,” suctioning their lips with cups until they swelled, creating a fuller look. Jenner had a hit with her first launch, the Kylie Lip Kit, which cost about $29 each. She made 15,000 lip kits and they sold out in less than a minute. When Kylie admitted she had lip fillers, her fans got lip fillers. Then they got hip and butt injections.
Fans think they are close to the Kardashians because they follow them on media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. The relationship between fans and Kardashians feels real. Even feminists defend the Kardashians, arguing that throwing shade on the family, even if they embody negative feminine stereotypes, is misogynistic. Concluding that Kim Kardashian is only famous because she made a sex tape reinforces male supremacy. But the worship doesn’t mean the devotees have higher self-esteem as they fail to live up to the ideal the Kardashians present.