Kim Kardashian’s advice to women in business is, well, out of touch
After a decade or so of paying no attention to the ever-growing Kardashian-Jenner clan and conglomerate—a family so influential in the Digital Age, they might as well have invented social media—I became a fan of Kim Kardashian, albeit reluctantly. It started with my introduction to her ingenious solutions-oriented shapewear brand, Skims, after losing weight in quarantine. Her global brand, which recently raised funding at a $3.2 billion valuation, is going beyond body “smoothing” solutions and venturing into other categories. First up is game-changing swimwear.
My admiration for her as a businesswoman, all-around creative and doting mother was fueled more by her pursuit of a legal career after securing clemency for Alice Marie Johnson in 2018, a grandmother in her 60s serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug charge from 1997.
Truth be told, I *love* Kim, but some days, she needs to be put in her place.
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Kim has recently drawn the ire of many after a Variety cover story, a tell-all about their family’s reality TV reign. When asked for advice for business women, she says matter-of-factly, “I have the best advice for women in business. Get your fucking ass up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days.”
To be “fair,” in that same cover story, she talks about studying law on her 12-hour flight back to America (well, in her new $95 million private jet, customized with cashmere walls), after appearing in Milan Fashion Week. She reveals, “I had a really good time, but I never want to travel and be away from the kids for too long, so two days was perfect. I have to prioritize everything.”
Replying to a thread by Variety on Twitter, which has sparked heated conversations, user Dan Price, whose bio states “CEO just trying to stand up for the underdog,” writes, “Kim K is one of the hardest working people out there, but hard work is not a very good predictor of success in business. For every success story there are 100 other people working 2 jobs and living paycheck to paycheck.”
When a person of immense privilege elevate themselves, and seemingly lacks empathy for other people’s reality, especially with the dynamics involved for those in poverty, people have a word for it: richsplaining. Replying to the same thread, Michelle Amor on Twitter describes the phenomenon as “when a person who hasn’t experienced poverty gives you patronizing advice on how to get out of poverty.”
Richsplaining: When a person who
hasn’t experienced poverty gives
you patronizing advice on how to
get out of poverty. 🙄
— Michelle Amor (@MichelleAmor) March 9, 2022
This is seemingly reminiscent of the time when Kylie Jenner was labeled the youngest “self-made” billionaire by Forbes in 2018, which sparked furious debate amongst netizens. After all, the Kardashian-Jenner children were born into an astounding display of privilege. I am not discounting their hard work; their work ethic is praiseworthy, but to say “nobody wants to work these days,” even if well-intentioned, is deeply insensitive and ignorant.
Most of us aren’t born into obscene wealth, with many facing financial constraints, limited access to resources and networking opportunities to “make it.” Kim Kardashian was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, which granted her the opportunity to get ahead of everyone else.
We can’t deny that work ethic plays a major role in success, but we can’t forget the other factors that play into it. As one Twitter user puts it, “[Kim] was born with millions. She and her sisters turned that into over a [billion]. She could afford to fail over and over and over and over again and still be richer than a majority of the world. Not sure why people struggle to understand how her lecture is laughable and out of touch.”
“Get your fucking ass up and work” means differently for the rest of us, young professionals who don’t have millions to fall back on and and are living from paycheck to paycheck, mothers who don’t have staff to take care of their children and are in massive debt. Assuming that we don’t is deeply damaging and out of touch.
Art Alexandra Lara