This week, Kim Kardashian tweeted a censored nude of herself. And the internet went mad.
As I write this, the photograph has been retweeted 130 thousand times. And favourited 240 thousand times.
That's twice as many favourites as the first tweet of Edward Snowden. Which means: if that 'broke the internet', this photograph did it twice.
It would appear, however, that the internet didn't like it all that much.
And then Pink had this to say:
But no Kardashian takes hate lying down (or something like that). So Kim K went ahead and instagrammed a video of herself tousling her hair to Lilly Allen's F*** You:
And then wrote an essay about body-shaming and slut-shaming. Where she basically says it's 2016, down with slutshaming, up with body pride.
(And then proceeded to follow it up with yet another nude photograph on Twitter).
It's a point, and possibly a valid one. But that's really not at the core of this.
Kim Kardashian has created little. She has achieved, in normative terms, even less. And yet, she's the queen of what is indisputably empire. Because she's a very, very, good businesswoman.
And her trade: voyeurism.
She's made a craft out of being in pseudo-reality TV shows. And this, it's important to note, is no mean feat.
Because before her, reality television was the domain of B-grade stars of a bygone era, hoping desperately for a comeback. Even if at the cost of revealing their very nastiest.
She's changed that. She reveals her most fabulous.
And she hasn't stopped there. Her website charges its audience for an 'insider's' peek into her life. For a fee, you get makeup tips. And her views on being a mother to two children. That's the sort of thing most other celebrities give for free. Just to stay relevant.
And then there's Instagram. Kim K has ensured that her family, collectively owns Instagram. Here are the numbers:
Kim Kardashian's account has 62 million followers (Beyonce has 62). Kylie Jenner has 53 million (more than Nikki Minaj). Kendall Jenner has 50 million. (also more than Nikki Minaj). Khloe Kardashian has 44 million (more than Katy Perry). Kourtney Kardashian has 35 million (and that's more than Victoria's Secret). Kris Jenner has 11 million.
For reality show celebrities, those numbers are crazy. And they translate into real $$$ for her entire family. She isn't just looking out for them; she's empowering them to look after themselves.
Kim Kardashian is also proprietor of a series of emoticons that are a graphic series of her own body parts - her pout, her fingernails and her bobble head.
Our main grouse with Kimojis so far has been that she isn't important enough to merit a series of emojis.
But that's precisely where her genius lies. No other celebrity has created a series of emojis about themselves, because no other celebrity wants to seem like a money-mongering narcissist.
Not Kim K.
She isn't afraid to seem like a narcissist. Not if it translates into more moolah. Besides, Kimojis eventually resulted in the Apple store site crashing, because of the unexpected demand for them. That's the most successful marketing of a non-product since the pet rock.
Her net worth as of 2015 is declared to be US $85 million. She's richer than Andy Murray. With a small fraction of the human effort and close to no perceptible talent.
Kim K doesn't want us to fixate on her sex video from thirteen years ago and I entirely respect that. But it's precisely that video, by the admission of her own PR-managed Wikipedia page, that spiralled her into very monetisable famedom.
Not to mentioned a $5 million settlement.
Think about it for a moment: where Jennifer Lawrence will condemn a naked photo leak, Kim K will embrace it loud and proud.
She doesn't subscribe to the normative understanding of privacy or dignity. She isn't afraid to blur the lines between private and public. She milks money out of your weakness for voyeurism. She exploits our worst.
So thirteen years after she started, why does a Twitter nude still surprise us?
Edited by Payal Puri
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