Kim Kardashian was bound and robbed at gunpoint on Monday, and somehow the whole thing has become a set piece depiction of the normalization of gun violence and our collective hatred for women. This story and the reaction to it are a perfect storm of the factors which have made 2016 a banner year for apocalyptic awfulness. It’s as if imposter policemen broke into Kim’s Paris hotel room to steal $10 million worth of jewels, and expose the toxicity of our cultural sexism.
To be clear, I couldn’t give less of a shit what you think of Kim. Her empire requires an incredible amount of self-discipline and business savvy, but I’m not getting into that right now—I’ve moved on from the year 2011. Your personal opinion of Kim’s “value” is only slightly more relevant than Jonathan Cheban's dreams of hosting a talk show. We take aim at the supposedly superficial and self-promotional as a thinly-veiled method of tearing women down, and Kim’s brand is the epitome of those highly feminized traits. I guess that’s why it seemed OK for everyone to jerk off around a series of tweets about whether or not she deserved to have her life threatened.
The fact that anything besides the terror of this incident is being discussed is an automatic extension of the itchiest elements of Kim’s success. Would you be disturbed if a male reality star was robbed at gunpoint? How about if it was a “respectable,” Academy-Award winning actress? You’d have to be a monster to do a comedy routine about Meryl Streep being assaulted, and you’re a monster to do it about Kim. The misogyny is just easier to cloak with the latter. Even the defenders opting to signal her roles as “wife” and “sister” hit on the dehumanization at play. Being “famous for being famous,” doesn’t mean Kim hasn’t earned the "right" to be AFRAID OF BEING RAPED.
There are plenty of tweets showcasing the disturbing attitude directed at Kim's attack, but the Crown Jewel of Fuckery is surely the article by the New York Daily News titled, “Kim Kardashian's Paris robbery is too good to be true.” Seriously. A woman having her life threatened at gunpoint is really just a little too much attention-getting nonsense for Local Troll Toll Collector and author, Gersh Kuntzman. Gersh is truly sick and goddamn tired of people doing things for attention, let me tell you! Please read this article about how over it he is. Follow him on Twitter, if you want.
I don’t know what kind of expired LSD they are spiking the Keurig with at the NYDN, but holy crap, this is actually sadistic. When a person gets BOUND AND ROBBED that is not “too good.” I'm not sure how this is a controversial opinion to have in 2016, but here we are. Truly, let us all take a second to pull off our HOT TAKE VR headsets and recalculate what it means to be a person. Maybe from there we can dismantle toxic masculinity, or crack down on gun violence, if there's any time left after that. But really, just the "basic human decency" thing seems like it needs work.
The entire foundation for this article is that Gersh decided not enough "facts" have emerged about Kim's robbery. Of course, it goes without saying that his very strong personal feeling it didn't happen is apparently enough information to prove exactly that. “When it comes to the Kardashians, the media simply can't keep up,” he writes. “Indeed, our normal skepticism and usual methods for checking basic facts disappear.”
Sorry, so is the “proof” that people like the Kardashians too much, and that annoys Gersh? In case that wasn’t condemning enough, he brings in an ex-bodyguard to pontificate about Kim using social media too much.
“No wonder former Kimye bodyguard Steve Stanulis, an ex-cop [said], ‘it wouldn't surprise me’ if the story is partly a hoax,” Gersh continues. “‘If it is true,’ he added, ‘someone should tell Kim not to go on Snapchat telling everyone where you're going and what you're going to wear.’”
Haha, oh, so, it’s probably not true, but if it is true, it’s because Kim is too obsessed with herself? The NYDN should be ashamed of itself for publishing this unsubstantiated drivel, because a think piece by the Long Island Medium would be held to a higher standard of evidentiary support. But the most insane thing here is that this is not really that surprising. With rising instances of gun violence—and even more specifically the assault of female celebrities!—we funnel our anguish into disdain into condemnations of ego that women apparently don’t deserve to have. It’s not that Gersh et. al. believe famous ladies should be attacked—but, if they are going to be attacked, the least they could do is be chaste and humble! At least they could have been cowering in a corner, being wives, and mothers, and waiting to fucking die!
Isn’t this so boring? Another day, another essay about a thing being sexist, right? I’m becoming convinced that the current anti-feminist strategy is to making calling things sexist feel like a cliche. There are real-life people who are so flipped out by even the accusation of sexism, it’s almost as if they can’t handle processing the intense evil of our cultural givens! It’s painful to reconcile the argument that our entire approach to Kim is grounded in a disregard for female autonomy. It’s way more fun to just hate her, and talk about her ass and her sex tape. But continuing about that order of business in light of a flagrant act of gun violence is revealing of the stinking rot at the core of even the most mundane insults to her success. Everything is not fine.
Do you think I want to be sitting here going, "That's sexist! That's sexist!" like a kid pointing out every animal he sees at the zoo? I would rather be watching true crime documentaries, or shaving my foot calluses, or doing pretty much anything else. But I have a voice, and a platform, and if me pointing and saying, "That's sexist," actually ANGERS YOU to the point where you tweet at me to "shut [my] mouth," well, then we're nowhere close to being done here.
With Kim’s robbery and even in the online vitriol over whether things are sexist, the weapon of choice is fear. The aftermath of Kim’s attack has been about focusing on her overuse of social media, and finding a way to blame her for her own assault. The people (read: mostly men) who lash out at me for citing sexism want me to feel shrill, and ashamed enough to quiet down. I’m not stopping anytime soon, and I hope Kim doesn’t either. A refusal to see women as human beings is dangerous, but the fight continues as long as we reject the idea that we are any less deserving of safety or respect. Although, at the moment, it certainly feels like a world extricated from sexism is the thing that’s really “too good to be true."