Kendall and Kylie (Yes, I’m Writing About The Kardashians)

Kendall & Kylie

My older son Jake graduated from university this spring. After four years living on the east coast he packed his books, bass guitar, laptop and came home. Oh, and he packed his girlfriend Michelle too.  They are living here for the summer before they head off to grad school in the fall.

It has been a very long time since I’ve lived with another female. But now I’ve got a daughter-like person living under my roof (or more accurately in my son’s bedroom) and a whole new cultural world is my oyster.

As the mother of sons, I often envied mothers with daughters, and the cool stuff they got to do. When I used to ask my boys, “Who wants to come with mommy to see the Princess Diaries movie?” they would counter with “POWER RANGERS”.

So this summer I am expanding my cultural horizons, and have developed a whole new respect for the Kardashians. Yes, you heard me right. And I’m the first to admit that I haven’t been keeping up with them. Get it. Keeping up with the Kardashians.

A few weeks ago I received a media invitation to a private preview for Kendall and Kylie’s fall-winter fashion collection. (You knew they were fashion designers, and business women, right?). When I mentioned this event to my friends, they all rolled their eyes and put their fingers down their throats. Except Michelle.

Michelle was excited and wanted to come. She’s no airhead, having just graduated with a combined degree in philosophy and cultural studies, and she has a whole different take on Kylie and Kendall: “It’s too easy to see what’s wrong with the Kardashians but it takes more engaged critical reflection to see their cultural significance.”

Michelle likes Kylie and Kendall’s girl power: “They are very unapologetic about their ambition and the things they like. They don’t hide the fact that they are into makeup and fashion, and I think it is important to be unapologetic about feminine things because they are denigrated culturally.” Michelle thinks cultural standards of taste are too often decided by men.

The other observation Michelle made is that women in business are scorned for flaunting their sexuality unlike female actors, musicians or athletes. She says, “We don’t say Beyonce is just selling her sexuality. She is adored and celebrated for it.” But Kylie and Kendall are not actors, musicians, or athletes. They are business women who use their own lives and sexuality as a platform—and like it or not, it’s clearly working.

It’s too easy to dismiss people. We do this to Reality TV stars, but also to ordinary people we really don’t know well enough to make that call. I know I sometimes make snap judgments rather than taking the time to critically reflect on my opinions of others, be they positive or negative.  Given my new-found respect for Kendall and Kylie, who knows who I may grow to like and respect if I give them the chance.

Photo credit:Flickr/Disney |ABC Television

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