SELFIE HATRED

Now and again, I get sucked into the black hole of Instagram, more specifically into the profiles of women who appear to exist only to grace social media, albeit through their unrecognisably filtered personas. And I leave feeling like the real, flawed and insecure piece of insignificant shit that I am.

And that’s what they want, right?

If their fans didn’t feel like that, there’d be no point of difference for the Kardashians and the army of other occupationless clones that emerge from fly on the wall TV or simply their makeup drawer. No leverage with which to turn women from self respecting and contributing members of society, with real lips and actual jobs; to the jealous, morbidly-dissatisfied and utterly obsessed fans that mistakenly judge success in likes, follows and the size of their pout.

The selfie phenomenon is unprecedented and embarrassing. Girls all over the world are taking to social media to post pictures of their over-made up faces, posed as if ready to perform fellatio at any moment and edited beyond recognition; for no other reason than to fish for compliments. For this, I blame the Kardashians.

I’d never describe myself as being a fan of the Kardashians, that would jar with every fibre of my being; but I, like much of the female population who can’t resist looking at the latest developments on Kim Kardashian’s Instagram page, regularly become overwhelmed with the sheer perfection of celebrity life and feel compelled to try and emulate it – despite knowing that it’s all a load of orchestrated bollocks designed to fool impressionable morons.

At which point I make my best attempt to snap out of it and tell myself I’m too intelligent for this shit.

Alas the virus is fatally contagious.

It infects women and girls of all ages from twelve to fifty something. We all want a piece of perfection, of adoration, even from strangers – because it validates us. It’s the most toxic thing happening to women right now. It undermines any genuine sense of self-worth. It’s a social disease.

Narcissism has become a depressingly common characteristic for a generation that finds its role models on Instagram and reality TV.  Extreme displays of vanity aren’t considered distasteful anymore – taking and sharing endless flattering photos of yourself is considered normal, no matter how much of a conceited arsehole it makes you seem. There is no modesty or humility anymore.

As if that wasn’t the worst thing that’s happening to a whole generation of women, it’s also acceptable to aspire to people who don’t have a profession to speak of, who instead make their enviable living by becoming the sordid fascination of others – by exaggerating their own self importance until it becomes not just their only concern, but the only concern of legions of young people who are the shaky future of our civilisation.

These young, misled fools hang on their heroines’ every social media post and pin their empty pipedreams on a fame concept that can’t even begin to sustain a generation of copycat wannabes.

They’ll realise when it’s too late that they should have developed an actual skill when they had the chance. Instead this culture of education and opportunity that we’ve strived to create for our youngsters and especially the underprivileged, will have gone to waste. At forty five, these vacuous birdbrains will be scrubbing toilets and wondering where it all went wrong.

The Kardashian empire alone is an unstoppably monstrous publicity machine that has carved out million dollar careers for some extremely privileged women, who without the significance and money of their parents, would probably be scrubbing toilets too.

As it turns out they’ve unearthed a goldmine.

Thanks to the unfaltering determination and brass neck of their mum Kris Jenner, they’ve tapped into a relentless appetite for trash and been handsomely rewarded for it. Society consumes trash on an industrial scale and it pays right into the Balmain purses of these six women who are laughing all the way to the bank.

“Wealth, beauty and fame are transient. When those are gone, little is left except the need to be useful.”

Gene Tierney

In case this appears to be a non-aggravated attack fuelled by jealousy, my concern is bigger than that. It’s about the lack of integrity and substance behind everything the Kardashians and others like them stand for; and how it influences our young women.

The Kardashians promote the most unrealistic physical ideals to the most highly impressionable members of society – teenage girls, who all aspire to the same cookie cutter idea of beauty, consisting of a vapid expression that looks permanently poised to offer sexual favours.

Equally damaging is this concept of fame as a ‘career’ in itself, with no actual profession that underpins it.  Kardashian fans will jump eagerly to their defence and list the plethora of businesses they ‘run’, failing to realise that these ‘businesses’ are obvious opportunities that have arisen out of their fame, not the other way around.

What kind of moron wouldn’t milk it for all it’s worth, if they had at their disposal a captive audience of tens of millions of suckers, all gagging for the next piece of merchandise to come off a production line that’s permanently on standby?

It could be lipgloss, it could be perfume, it could be jeans or it could be emojis. Whatever it is, it only exists because there was a big pot of money to play with and a totally impressionable market ready and waiting to part with their parents’ cash.

Can anyone really justify that as an inspiration?

It’s bad enough that the Kardashians are able to fool a legion of young women into thinking they’re worthy of attention. The biggest disappointment is when the likes of Vogue cave to the pressure of their popularity.

Anna Wintour, not unlike Kris Jenner, is the shrewd but morally questionable businesswoman and editor of American Vogue, who has proved she can’t resist the opportunity to increase sales at the expense of her integrity. In 2014 she shocked the fashion world by putting Kim and her husband Kanye West on the cover of the legendary magazine, stating, in her own words:

“I think if we just remain deeply tasteful and just put deeply tasteful people on the cover it would be a rather boring magazine. Nobody would talk about us. It’s very important that people do talk about us.”

She might as well have said: ‘Even an insufferable snob like me is prepared to sell out and put trailer trash on the cover, if it means we can sell a few more copies. There’s no such thing as bad publicity, darling!’


The downward spiral.

Wintour, famed for being a complete cactus at work and intolerant of anyone outside of her own elite circle, proved that even at the elitist heights of Vogue, ‘distaste’ can be overlooked in order to maintain a profitable business. It makes you wonder what the point of a brand ethos is. Rumour has it that her decision backfired and sales of the issue flopped, which doesn’t come as that much of a surprise.

It’s a great exercise in understanding your market. Just because a brand wants in on the luxury sector, doesn’t mean it’s good enough to make the grade. Wintour, well into her sixties and glaring through the gap in that helmet shaped bob she’s sported for the last thirty years, ought to have known better. Five met galas later and Kim Kardashian is still a permanent fixture in Wintour’s fashion brigade, getting more and more unrealistic looking every year.

When I teach my university students about digital marketing and we talk about social media influencers, the Kardashian name comes up often. What I hear from my male and female students however, could not be more different and it’s a worrying sign of how society seems to be mentally dumbing down our young women.

A typical male response ranges from indifferent to arguably misogynistic. Something along the lines of – “What’s to like about the Kardashians? All they do is post pictures of themselves. And they dress like slags.”

Whilst it’s quite obvious I wouldn’t condone the judgement of females based on their choice of attire or penchant for sexual promiscuity, I think the female view is entirely more disappointing. I hear things like – “God, I love Kim so much, look how beautiful and successful she is. I want to be her!”

“What does she do?”, I quiz them, “What exactly are you aspiring to?”

“I don’t know,” they tell me, “…but she must be doing something right, look how much money she’s got!”

The polarity in male versus female opinion is intriguing to say the least and it makes me want to slap some sense into the girls, really fucking hard.

Against my better judgement, I don’t care that the boys take a view based on her tasteless demeanour and her slutty code of dress. If anything, it shows that they believe women are worth more than that and they don’t have to reduce themselves to a semi-clothed, expressionless sex symbol in order to be liked.

I do however, care that the girls harbour this continual fascination for everything the Kardashians represent and look up to them, as if they’re on some kind of social pedestal, which you could argue they are – thanks to their fans.

If our entire new generation of young women buys into this ethic of entitlement and bases their self-worth solely on their looks and the ability to turn heads by the ridiculous arse to waist ratio of their arse cheeks, we might as well undo everything that’s happened over the past hundred years to position women as the intelligent and useful creatures that we know they can be.

I can already see it happening and it’s a fucking embarrassment.