I hate to make waves in the water on which Gloria Steinem walks, but some recent comments she made have left me a little disgruntled ... or at the very least, in serious want of a discussion to further talk about them with her (call me, Ms. Steinem, if you're interested). At a recent luncheon to promote HBO’s new documentary Gloria: In Her Own Words, she said ... the Kardashians aren't feminists.
Lady Gaga she's all gaga over, even saying she'd like to attend one of her shows, but the 77-year-old heroine of the feminist movement said the Kardashians "do not empower other women." While at first I nodded my head along with her, the more I thought about it, the more I disagree. While they're not out burning bras and marching on Washington, the Kardashians really do empower women in many ways.
Yes, yes, we wouldn't know their names if they never wore makeup and refused to strut around in heels, and they do promote those pesky diet products, but there's more to them than that. Their looks may have brought them into our daily vernacular (not so feminist-like), but it's what they've done since then that's kept them there and that just may be.
Sure there was that sex tape, but that was eons ago. It's their personalities and the real-life looks inside the formerly taboo women's topics they provide -- leaking bladders, psoriasis, and all -- that have caused America to fall in love with them.
They are loud and proud about their use of birth control (even do pap smears on television), burp and fart right alongside the guys, and besides some questionable behavior when it comes to Kourtney staying with Scott Disick, they pretty have healthy relationships in which they're not afraid to speak their minds or be the breadwinners.
They're wildly successful in businesses they have launched themselves, and like them or not, they rake in the dough. Kris Jenner in particular is a savvy businesswoman who seems to epitomize feminism, even whipping Bruce Jenner's career back into shape and leaving the primary parenting duties to him.
While they may inspire plenty to stalk their hair, makeup, and body parts, there are plenty of others who see them as role models for business (How many of you haven't wished you could open your own Dash store?). So I fail to see exactly how they're failing to empower women.
I'm not ready to add their names next to Steinem, Betty Friedan, or Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the feminist hall of fame, but I also don't think the Kardashians are the worst role models for women out there either. And especially today, I think feminism is a word that has evolved and can be broadly interpreted (pun intended).
At least Steinem doesn't hold their non-empowering behavior against them:
There's no point in blaming the people who take advantage of the system without changing the system. Imagine if this were a family of boys. If men were rewarded for the same things, they would be doing it too.
So isn't that a bonus for womankind?
Do you think the Kardashians are feminists or that they empower women in any way?
Image via david_shankbone/Flickr