Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow and inconsistent celebrity politics

Perry, Kardashian and Paltrow have all been proponents of some kind of female empowerment. Kardashian used her groundbreaking reality TV show to spearhead successful business ventures and reinvent herself as a criminal justice reformer. Perry’s songs hinted at her LGBTQ ally and her 2013 single “Roar” was quite literally Hillary Clinton’s campaign anthem. She wore a “Resist” armband after the election of Donald Trump.

But these supposedly egalitarian values ​​have always nestled uncomfortably with reality.

After facing multiple cultural appropriation backlash, Perry was rebranded as purveyor of “conscious” pop on songs like “Chained to the Rhythm.” She sang about being trapped in “white picket fences” and wearing rose-colored glasses, criticizing social norms and highlighting how people get lost in their island worlds.

But Perry’s position has never been radical. She punctuated her Instagram post with the hashtag “#doyoubutjustuseyourvoteok,” the kind of old-school political education lesson Madonna implemented in the ’90s “Rock the Vote” campaign, as if voting were possible for everyone in an era of massive disenfranchisement.

Additionally, he affirmed right-wing talking points about the so-called out-of-control crime taking place in the Los Angeles landscape. “I’m voting for a myriad of reasons (see news) but particularly because Los Angeles is a hot ATM,” she wrote in the Instagram post showing that she voted for Caruso.

Like Perry, Kardashian built an entire empire out of an elusive kind of feminism founded on the idea of ​​selling her image on her own terms and building her own business.

At the same time, social media commentators, stylists, and even other celebrities have accused Kardashian of appropriating the black-and-tan style. She has also faced consistent allegations from former employees that she and her family are underpaying interns and underpaying social media workers, and even a workplace lawsuit for not giving domestic workers time off. (Kardashian did not respond to allegations from former employees about working conditions at KKW Beauty or the Kardashian Family Apps. Her rep responded to the lawsuit with a statement: “These workers were hired and paid through a third-party vendor. .. Kim is not a party to the agreement made between the seller and his workers, therefore he is not responsible for how the seller runs his business.”)

He has never thoughtfully addressed any of these issues of social media work. But in a conservative podcast last December, she spoke about facing criticism. “I’ve never really been into cancel culture,” she said. “I truly believe … in … freedom of speech.” Kardashian also defended her ex-husband Kanye West on free speech: “I thought, ‘Why should I [Kanye] to take [his MAGA hat] away if that’s what he believes in? Kardashian said. “Why can’t she wear it on TV? Half the country voted for it [Trump] so clearly other people like it too. As if everyone has equal access to corporate media platforms.

At the same time, Kardashian has injected a new element into her political persona: an alleged investment in criminal justice reform and fighting the criminalization of people of color. He is personal, he claimed she, because he is raising “mixed children.”

Yet, like many elites, he seems to see the mass incarceration crisis and his philanthropic work as somehow separate from the “scary crime” in his own city. In her Caruso endorsement video, Kardashian rephrased the right-wing crime wave talking points that Perry made, proclaiming: “I think it can help with crime in our city, which is such a huge and super scary problem.”

The endorsements of Kardashian and Perry are notable in part because they seem to be out of step with how millennials are often portrayed in the media, as an increasingly politicized generation, especially where work issues are concerned.

Paltrow is a little different, like a Gen X Hollywood kid who has long seemed above selling relatability. She has always been Oscar-winning Hollywood royalty who at best represented a free-to-be-you-and-me ethic that she articulates as liberal, as therapy speaks of her infamous “conscious decoupling” divorce filing; her lifestyle brand Goop’s gift guide regularly includes five- and six-figure luxury items.

She transitioned from acting, a career that required masses of people to accept her image. Even so, Goop has often sold a celebration of the second wave of women communicating with their bodies. For example, Goop unveiled a fake “luxury disposable diaper” to call attention to the so-called diaper tax, or the way diapers are taxed as luxury goods. (This made her a favorite right-wing symbol of tax hypocrisy after Goop made a list of “offendant taxpayers.”)

People have accused Goop of relying on the sale orientalism to white women. And like Kardashian, Paltrow’s labor politics boil down to: privileged people have a harder time. Even then, his statement from Caruso—”‘We desperately need Rick to get our streets cleaned up and running”—legitimized right-wing narratives of crime rising and deteriorating. (There’s also a Goop store at a resort owned by Caruso.)

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