How the Kardashians have been influencing our culture for years


Kim Kardashian, the protagonist of the reality series, rose to fame as a girlfriend and stylist for Paris Hilton, and for her 2007 sex tape. That same year, the reality series Keeping Up with the Kardashians started. “Just like Hilton, Kim was one of the first to be known for being famous”, says media scientist Linda Duits from Utrecht University.

There has been criticism from the beginning of the series. Someone who is known, but cannot sing, dance or act: that provoked a lot of hatred. “Anti-fandom arose, people who hate her and are busy with that on forums. Kim Kardashian has exploited that very well. At a time when few people said: ‘I’m a fan’, there were a lot of people who followed her. on social media. ”

And the series also caught on. “It is very well made. In the period that it came up, we started watching less and less soap operas. But some elements of the soap genre – emotions, drama – are returning to the Kardashians. We sympathize with them, but loathe also the choices they make. That’s nice to watch. And because the little drama there is is spread out over the season, you don’t have to pay too much attention. ”

The American series is now broadcast in more than 160 countries. And not only Kim became world famous for being famous, so did her sisters Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall and Kylie and mother Kris.

Sponsored posts

Led by their mother, the Kardashian children are the first to play the influencer market and their followers. Sponsored posts soon follow in which they promote products. “How things are now in terms of influencers and reality stars, they really have an enormous share in that.”

“Kim is an incredibly smart woman,” said British sociology professor Ellis Cashmore. He wrote a book about the Kardashians, ‘Kardashian Kulture’, in which he describes how the family has an impact on Western culture.

According to Cashmore, Kim Kardashian knows better than anyone how to hold the media attention, which keeps her in the spotlight. And according to him that is essential to do what she does, namely: sell stuff.

“Kim realized that if people are interested in you, you can convert that into a revenue model. You can convert fame into money. All she has to say is ‘I use this day cream’, people see her smooth skin in photos and buy the product. It’s an incredibly smart way of marketing. ”

Meanwhile, Kim (188 million followers) can charge $ 300,000 to $ 500,000 for a sponsored Instagram post. The youngest sister, Kylie Jenner (195 million followers), has now overtaken her in terms of followers and is said to be at 1.2 million dollars per Instagram post, according to the Instagram planning tool Hopper HQ.

Several members of the family have also launched make-up, clothing and underwear lines. Kylie Jenner’s is especially lucrative: Kylie Cosmetics was estimated at $ 900 million by Forbes last year.

The family is not taken seriously by everyone, and that is something that the Kardashians play a lot with according to German. “When selfie culture was hated in opinion pieces, Kim managed to become the ‘queen of selfies’. She released a book called Selfish, with nothing but selfies.” She does that almost as a provocation to her haters, and it made her a lot of money, says German. “She’s laughing all the way to the bank.”

Beauty ideal

In addition to the influence on purchasing behavior, the Kardashians have also caused a shift in the beauty ideal. “At first a solid round butt was only for women of color, now white girls want a round butt too.” Another example that German mentions: sprayed lips. “They don’t make any fuss about plastic surgery.”

Cashmore agrees with the reality family’s influence on appearance. “The way she makes up her eyes, the color of her foundation, the shape of her eyebrows… We don’t all look like Kim Kardashian, but when you see the looks of famous women, you see her influence.”

Kasia is a Kardashian fan from the very beginning

Polish Kasia Dolkowski started watching Keeping up with the Kardashians to learn the Dutch language, using Dutch subtitles. By now she has seen almost every episode.

The series is ideal for her to relax or to laugh, she says. And the show inspires her in several ways. “The Kardashians are a great example of how to positively deal with drama in your life. And for young women they are a very good example of girl power. In the series, the women are in charge, while it is normally the case that the men are. ”

“They are trendsetters with their beauty tips on how to do your make-up, your eyelashes, the lips, the clothes, their black hair, but also their curves. More and more people followed that trend.”

She too has been influenced by the reality family in terms of appearance, she says. “I look like the Kardashians too. I’m inspired by them.”


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