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The pop culture of 2000s owes Kim Kardashian an apology. Here’s why

When Kim Kardashian recently appeared on Saturday Night Live, it took me back to the days when Kim, and/or one of her family members were frequent fodder for SNL comics.

 

When Kim Kardashian recently appeared on Saturday Night Live, it took me back to the days when Kim, and/or one of her family members were frequent fodder for SNL comics. Every week SNL picked on one of the things that the Kardashian family was doing – be it gender transition, or dealing with tough times after Kim’s private video was leaked without her consent — and it was a part of their comedy routine. Since those early days of fame, Kim has come a long way. In one of her lines in the monologue, Kim casually mentioned that she has over 360 million followers and SNL probably just has an audience of 10 million, which makes the show a casual, intimate outing for her. With this one statement, Kim showed that she was way ahead in the game and SNL was just a small chapter in her storied life.

The episode had Kim taking a dig at many controversies that have surrounded her and her family members in the past and making light of them. While Kim has soared in the many years since one can’t help but think of how women in the mainstream media were criticised for being the way they were in those years. Kim came up with Paris Hilton in the early 2000s, who had introduced the audience to the concept of ‘famous for being famous. Unfortunately for Paris, she too was a victim of severe media scrutiny after her private video was leaked without her consent. In the recent documentary This is Paris, she wonders if something like this would have happened today, it wouldn’t be the subject of insensitive jokes. When Kim visited David Letterman’s Netflix show, he called it a “violation” of her privacy which sounded quite hypocritical as late-night television anchors and other pop culture drivers of the time basically painted Kim as the woman who had orchestrated it all for publicity. A reference that’s so imbibed in people’s minds that Kim used it to break the ice in her SNL monologue.

In 2021, mainstream consciousness is examining how women like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Megan Fox, Katherine Heigl among many others were painted as “problematic” and were constantly exploited for tabloids. The sexualisation of Britney Spears’ image and how she was hounded by paparazzi became the subject of the New York Times’ documentary Framing Britney Spears. It forced us to re-examine how unfair the popular media was towards the pop star. Even in Megan Fox’s case, the Transformers actor was fired from the franchise after she publicly criticised Michael Bay’s work culture but the narrative that was commonly accepted was that she was somehow “problematic” to work with. It was in the same era when Kim was casually looked down upon for being a ‘reality show star’ and was often called an ‘opportunist’ who got married to Kris Humphries for ratings.

Kim’s 72-day marriage to Humphries was the centre of all the jokes in that phase and it wasn’t like she was the first person to walk out of a bad marriage after a short run. Yet, the presupposition that Kim had gotten married to boost the channel’s ratings and later divorced for the same reason was seen as the only possibility. Not many have escaped unscathed from such scrutiny, neither has Kim, but what she has managed to achieve, is quite remarkable.

Kim’s 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries was seen as an ‘opportunist’ move by pop culture pundits. (Photo: Kim Kardashian/Instagram)

In an era where being an influencer is an actual profession, one might not realise that this profile of work came into being thanks to Kim Kardashian. When Keeping Up With The Kardashians was in its early years, social media was seeing a big rise and the family utilised the platforms as well as they could, which has now resulted in Kim being one of the most followed celebrities all across social media. She owns the tag of being an influencer proudly and has made the most out of it while launching her many successful business ventures.

She has been happily ‘breaking the internet’ since she first appeared on the cover of Paper magazine in 2014. And she did it again recently with her Met Gala appearance in 2021.

Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala 2021 look became a must-see for all social media users. (Photo: Kim Kardashian/Instagram)
Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala 2021 look became a must-see for all social media users. (Photo: Kim Kardashian/Instagram)

Through the run of her reality show, Kim went from being the privileged woman who would cry after losing a diamond earring in the ocean to now being a woman who is actually fighting for prison reforms. She has often spoken up about she chose to study law so she could be the changemaker, instead of just sitting on the sidelines.

She has seen the worst of social media and developed a thick skin for it over the years but that doesn’t absolve the pop culture of the aughts for casually making her the butt of their jokes. They couldn’t break Kim but that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to do so. As for Kim, who is laughing now?

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