“What is this cunt doing on the cover of Rolling Stone ? Music has officially died. Who knew it would be Rolling Stone that murdered it? Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh can no longer be expected to take all the blame. Bob Dylan must be fucking horrified.
I should mention that many, many people have graced the cover of Rolling Stone in its nearly fifty years, and not all of them have been musicians. The cast of Friends comes to mind. Al Gore. Johnny Knoxville. The girls of American Pie 2. Tori Spelling. Ashton Kutcher. The Olsen Twins. Sarah Michelle Gellar. Once, on a cover that seemed a little odd even to me, Laura Dern posed topless in a lei and jorts. These non-musical cover models were not really called out by anyone. No one suggested that they were cunts or that music was doomed by their presence. Life went on, and we all continued with the quiet desperation of our lives.
But here, in 2015, is Sinead O’Connor, livid. Here is music’s end: a pretty, popular, hugely successful woman on the cover of a magazine.
I must protest.
Kim Kardashian was born in 1980 to lawyer Robert Kardashian and Kris Kardashian. Her godfather was OJ Simpson, whom her father defended in his 1994 murder trial. In 2006, while she was working as a celebrity stylist, a sex tape between Kim and then boyfriend, rapper Ray J, was allegedly stolen and released to the public. That same year she and sisters Khloe and Kourtney, opened a clothing boutique called DASH in Calabasas, California. In 2007, she and her family appeared for the first time on their long running E! reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Over the following eight years she released three fragrances, recorded a song, sold a self tanner and co-authored a book, Kardashian Konfidential. She endorsed Midori liquor, Skechers shoes, Carl’s Jr, and OPI nail polish. She has supported recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and urged the U.S. government to acknowledge it. She created a line of contemporary jewelry called Belle Noelle. She and her sisters designed a clothing line, the Kardashian Kollection for Sears. She posed for Playboy. She appeared on Dancing with the Stars and The Apprentice. She created an online shoe company called shoedazzle.com. She donated her clothes to the Dream Foundation, a charity that grants final wishes to ailing adults. She traveled to Africa for Russell Simmons’ Diamond Empowerment Fund, which educates and empowers individuals in diamond communities around the world. She starred in two spinoffs of her highly-rated reality show, Kim and Kourtney Take Miami, and Kim and Kourtney Take New York. She and her sisters opened a second store, Kardashian Khaos, in Las Vegas. She began dating rap superstar Kanye West and was profiled by Oprah Winfrey. She gave birth to a baby girl, North West, and, aligning with her marriage to West, appeared with him on the cover of Vogue. She has an insanely popular online game, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. She is pregnant again. Her estimated net worth- and this seems low, honestly- is around 85 million dollars. She’s 34.
Well, you might say, she’s famous for having sex on tape.
To which I would answer: Fuck you. So what? Don’t buy it. Don’t watch it. A woman having sex with her partner and enjoying it, and not being ashamed of her body? That’s controversial?
Well, she’s a slut.
FOR HAVING SEX? What is Ray J, then? What year is this? Fuck you.
Her father defended OJ. That’s where they got their money.
When she was a child. What would you have done? Legally emancipated yourself? Go to hell.
She’s stupid and vapid.
Compared to whom? You? What’s the last book you read? Was it filled with LifeSavers?
She’s had a lot of plastic surgery/she’s so filled with Botox.
You know….even if she’s had work, which is absolutely none of anyone’s business, it’s her fucking body. And may I please go off book for a minute to discuss how this woman was treated while she was pregnant with her first child? She was pregnant, wearing what she wanted to wear, which, apparently, was not up to par for us, the sweatpants and cat-shirt wearing public, and we went balistic in our cruelty. She wore a black and white dress and was memed in a side by side photo with a KILLER WHALE. She wore a flowered dress and was compared to A SOFA. Can I also tell you that I gained seventy pounds with my first daughter. I was massive, and I felt like garbage, and yet everyone around me wanted me to know about my fucking glow. Had I gone through a fraction of what Kim Kardashian West was subjected to, I never would have left the house and I never would have stopped crying. Why was it OK to do this to her? How do we validate this?
She’s a bad mom. She’s rarely photographed with her daughter.
Yeah, well, that’s bullshit, but whatever. You ever seen Blake Lively’s kid? What about Mila Kunis’? But they’re just being protective. They’re good moms. If Kim Kardashian is photographed without her daughter, though, it’s because she’s a distant, shitty mom.
She opens herself to criticism. Every part of her life is tweeted, or Instagrammed, or in a magazine, on on TV. She’s a business.
No. She’s a businesswoman, and a really good one. She is not a woman who gives us what we want, which is to be affected by our vitriol, so we try harder and harder. We’re angry that she doesn’t hate her body, and she isn’t ashamed that we’ve seen it. We hate that she is not like other female celebrities, that she knows she is beautiful, that she doesn’t apologize for it and self-deprecate. We hate that she loves her life, perhaps because we hate ours, and it’s easy to bully a person who won’t fight back, a person whom everyone else is already bullying.
I don’t know what exactly spurred Sinead O’Connor to call a pregnant mom a cunt and say that she ruined music, but I know that a lot of people were very quick to applaud her. At this point the hate for Kardashian West feels like some warped game of telephone: one person whispers one thing to another, and by the end of the line whatever was said has become so distorted and wrong that it’s funny, but in this case everyone believes the last whisper- it is as comforting and familiar to us as hearing our own names said aloud. We don’t have to like a person, or put money in their pockets, to admit that they deserve the most basic respect. We don’t have to buy the magazine to know the woman on its cover is human. What I know for sure is that I will defend this woman, not because she needs me to defend her, but because people shitting on her day in and day out for fucking stupid, antiquated reasons that no sane person would ever, ever attribute to any other woman "IRL" is blatant, shameful fucking sexism. You can go ahead and talk yourself out of that, you can try to, but in the end you won’t be able to. Because you know what you’re doing.
Recently, in C magazine, Kardashian West talked about being body shamed while pregnant:
"I couldn't help it, and everyone would say, 'She can't stop eating.' I delivered at 180, and they were like, 'She's 210 pounds. She's getting dumped because she's too fat' and all these ridiculous stories. It really took a toll after the fact, when I was losing weight. I gained 50 pounds, and it's tough to get it off….
"Before I was always smiling, and so into being out and about. After I had the baby, I was like, 'These are the same people that made fun of me, and posted the stories that were so awful, calling me fat for something I couldn't control.'
"I don't want to smile for them. I don't want to be out. Even if I was more confident, I just didn't feel like being that girl who was going to be smiling for every photo. It changed my mood; it changed who I was; it changed my personality a lot."