No family in modern history has managed to attract the level of attention and popularity, among members of the public who often profess to hate the family, as the Kardashians have. The Kardashian family is famous for a reality TV show known as “Keeping Up with the Kardashians (KUWTK)” whose concept emerged from an infamous sex scandal by Kim Kardashian. Reality shows are trending because of a culture of celebrity worship and society’s obsession with fame and material possessions (Holmes and Deborah 31). Since its founding in 2007, the show has explored the lives of the Kardashian-Jenner family and has become one of the most popular reality shows. Critics have bashed the family for superficiality and distortion of reality.
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In addition to this, the show has been criticized for the participant’s lack of talent and authenticity. Reality shows have been described as a scourge to society because of their extremely scripted plots that are aimed at creating tension and manipulate viewers. KUWTK has been described as a biased and manipulated representation of the modern American family and culture. In spite of this unflattering description, people continue to be immersed in the show due to the drama that the Kardashians create and their outrageous behavior. The American society loves to hate the Kardashian family since it is so successful in entertaining viewers by mostly misrepresenting the best and the worse of the American culture.
Many Americans enjoy hating on the Kardashians due to the life of luxury that they lead. Kane observes that viewers are mesmerized by the amount of money the family spends on a lavish lifestyle (par. 3). People on social media are obsessed with how the Kardashians look and how they spend their money. The extravagance of the family can be seen by Kim Kardashian deciding to insure her bottom for $21 million (Dunning 38). Spending this much money to insure a body part is seen as a great indulgence by many Americans. Viewers are therefore shocked by such behavior and this causes them to hate the extravagant Kardashians.
Millions of Americans hate the Kardashians for their debauched life of luxury and misrepresentation of the modern American family. The show features different members indulging excessively in alcohol and even drugs. Substance abuse is a major theme in KUWTK and character’s such as Scott Disick, who was Kourtney’s Boyfriend, was constantly drinking excessively and abusing prescription pills. Aili and Helling note that Disick was often captured drinking to excess on the show and he had issues related to partying too hard (par. 2). This excessive behavior leads to dramatic moments in the show, which undoubtedly kept many viewers glued to the show. However, the viewers do not approve of the excessive indulgence. The debauched life of the Kardashians has also contributed to the hate directed at the family by Americans. For many viewers, this debauchery is a misrepresentation of the modern American family.
The family has been criticized for presenting a distorted and exaggerated image of American culture in their show. The Kardashian sisters are very conscious of their appearances and body images. Some of them have undergone several surgeries to perfect their looks and create images that appeal to the media (Kane par. 5). This trend perpetuates the idea that beauty and perfection are one and the same thing that women should yearn for. On the other hand, emphasis on fame, money, and lavish lifestyles gives young people the wrong impression regarding the real meaning of life.
The show promotes the importance of wealth and fame and ignores other important aspects such as contentment, frugality, and happiness (Holmes and Deborah 42). It is easy for viewers to embrace the notion that for them to be happy and successful, they have to attain wealth and fame. This leads to dissatisfaction in life, as most viewers are unable to acquire the wealth and fame that would supposedly lead to happiness. Viewers may therefore end up hating the Kardashians for causing them to be dissatisfied with their lives.
American’s hate for the Kardashians can also be explained by the concept of cognitive dissonance. This psychological concept occurs when an individual holds two conflicting beliefs simultaneously (Husband par. 2). It is a common phenomenon for people in different societies to develop interest in the lives of the rich and famous (Barker, Holmes and Ralph 1). Wealth and success are goals that many people pursue. Therefore, it is normal for them to admire and obsesses over wealthy and successful families. The Kardashians are some of the rich and famous who have attracted a lot of interest from the society.
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The Kardashian show is one of the most successful reality shows and has aired since 2007. The interest in the Kardashians has caused people to be exposed to how the family members act and their value system. This has caused cognitive dissonance as people admire the family’s unity and hard work, but on the other hand dislike their decadent life of luxury and obsession with fame. The feelings of hatred towards the Kardashian family are motivated by their contradictory lives that feature values such as hard work and vices such as decadency at the same time.
A lot of the dislike for the Kardashians is because viewers fail to understand why the family is famous in spite of lacking talent. Kim Kardashian has constantly been accused of being famous for nothing (Husband par. 2). American’s are used to the concept of people becoming famous for some talent they possess. For example, everybody understands that Beyonce is famous because of her great talent in singing. Oprah is famous because of her success as a talk show host. With the Kardashians, none of the family members have any extraordinary talent that would explain the level of fame that they have.
The media emphasizes the physical appearance of Kim Kardashian so much that she is wrongly represented as unintelligent, untalented, and vague (Husband par. 6). This has been worsened by her family’s show that mainly focuses on aspects of her life that are likely to augment the aforementioned sentiments. Americans therefore hate the family due to the perception that they do not deserve the fame that they enjoy.
The on-air manipulative antics of the Kardashian’s, aimed at increasing their popularity, has contributed to the hate towards them. Through the KUWTK show, viewers are given an inner view of the Kardashian family. From this, they are able to see that the Kardashians are a close-knit family that has achieved great success and fame. Its women are independent and care a lot about each other as demonstrated by the success of their joint business ventures (Wallace par. 2). They own a television station, fashion lines, and recently signed a reality TV contract that has been described as the most expensive in history.
The success of the family has also been due to the Kardashian sisters’ willingness to feature their personal and work lives on the show that features themes such as failed marriages, family misunderstandings and tussles, and clashes between the sisters (Kitson par. 5). Many of the plots are manipulated to achieve certain desired results. Unlike many rich people who keep their lives private, the Kardashians give people access to their private lives. However, their actions are aimed at increasing the popularity of their show. Most viewers hate the family because of this manipulation.
Another reason why people love to hate the Kardashians is that while they use their show to explore real life issues, they do so in a hyperbolic and unreal manner. Kitson notes that reality TV has evolved tremendously and now covers many subjects and issues that affect the American society (Kitson par. 1). One of the reasons why people love the Kardashians is because their show explores real life issues and events that can affect the average American (McClain 49).
The sisters allow people to peek into their personal lives and experience the many challenges they face despite their fame and wealth (Wallace par. 3). For instance, Kim Kardashian does not shy away from letting the media learn about her marriage to Kanye West who is one of the best and richest rappers. The ubiquity of the Kardashian sisters is the major sources of the public’s interest in their lives (Murray and Ouellette 49). The manner in which they share their challenges is relatable to many viewers’ lives hence their obsession with the family’s show (Kitson par. 6).
For instance, Khloe Kardashian struggles with weight and self-image issues that are challenges faced by many Americans (Mattern 63). However, the family tends to overdramatize their issues and exaggerate them. While Khloe is not obese and can even be categorized as attractive, her weight is presented as a major issue. The show presents it as a disabling challenge while that is not the truth. The relationship issues between Kourtney and Scott are also blown out of proportion and the manner in which they resolve their issues is scripted. Some viewers are therefore inclined to hate the Kardashians for the hyperbolic and unreal manner in which they represent some real life issues.
Finally, some viewers hate the Kardashian because they are jealous of the family’s wealth and success. The Kardashians have made a fortune by sharing their lives on television with the world. One of their strengths is the ability to blend their work and private lives (Mattern 56). In today’s society, many people find it hard to create work-life balance because of factors such as family responsibilities and inflexible work schedules. The Kardashians succeed in their endeavors because they know how to merge their work and personal lives (Wallace par. 7). They have successfully used what they are passionate about to create careers that built a huge business empire (Brown par. 6).
While people love the fact that the Kardashians have converted their lives into lucrative careers that they enjoy, most viewers cannot help but feel jealous. Viewers are also jealous of the strong relationship that the members of the Kardashian family enjoy. A dominant theme in the show is the importance of family. They provide emotional and financial support to each other to ensure that their family remains close and united. The theme is explored beneath the show’s overt exploration of fame, money, and lavish lifestyles. Every episode includes a monologue that aims to explicate the importance of family (McClain 57). The sisters fight and disagree on many things because of their varied interests and principles. However, they remain united always and do not allow differences and challenges to affect their family. Some views are likely to be jealous of this family relationship, especially since the Kardashians are very rich and successful.
The Kardashian family is synonymous with lavish lifestyles, money, and fame. The media adores them because of their ability to attract millions of fans through their reality TV show that chronicles their private and work lives. Many viewers have developed a hate attitude towards the Kardashians, whom they cannot still seem to get enough of. Americans cannot help but admire the hard work, strong family ties, entrepreneurship, and independence.
They have succeeded in creating lucrative careers from their passions. However, this admiration is clouded by the hatred towards the family for obsessing over fame, money, and physical appearances and their manipulation of events in order to gain popularity in the media. The Kardashians are also hated since they use their show to present a distorted image of American culture. Americans love to hate the Kardashians but this does not stop them from wanting to know more about this famous family. The Kardashians will continue to be famous and achieve greater success because people find them entertaining and even admirable, although they hate them.
Aili, Nahas, Steve Helling. “Kourtney & Scott split 6 months after baby.” People 84.3 (2015): 60-63. Print.
Barker, Martin, Su Holmes, and Sarah Ralph. “Audiences for Stardom and Celebrity.”
Celebrity Studies 6.1 (2015): 1-5. Print.
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