We Have Created a Generation of Donald Trump Supporters and Kardashian Fans… and We are Mad at the Wrong People

So, I’ve been catching some heat for my article about Kim Kardashian from a few weeks ago.  There seems to be a misunderstanding of the true point of the article:

I would like to clarify a few things, and add a few points:

  1. I don’t think that Kim is doing anything for the “right reasons” in the sense that I don’t think she has sought fame and money so that she can change the world, or anything.  She enjoys being rich and famous. That’s not exactly shocking. I’m not going to demonize her for that.
  2. She started her career off of sex. There is no doubt about that.  She used her sex tape and her sexuality to kickstart a career.  It doesn’t seem that she thought she would rise to the level of “Kim Kardashian” but she was absolutely willing to capitalize on her sex appeal.  
  3. That sex tape has always been rumored to have been leaked by her ex.  His name was Ray J, remember him?  Brandy’s little brother. Anyway, one can assume that this was done as revenge.  I can’t help but think that Kimmy kind of won that one. It seems to me that she took something that could have ruined her life and her self-esteem and made a career out of it, instead. You can say what you want, but that is the truth.
  4. Sex is not that big of a deal.  And, what’s weird, is that most liberal types will obviously agree with this.  Sex is natural and normal.  Sex is beautiful. etc. etc. But, then many liberals/feminists judge her based on becoming a ba-jillionaire off of hers.  It’s nonsensical.
  5. When Kim started, she wasn’t attempting to be a role model for little girls.  That never seemed to be her target market.  But, the sad thing is that parents just let their kids watch whatever is on the tube, don’t talk to them about it, don’t monitor it, and wonder why their sweet baby is idolizing Kim.  The truth is, Kim can do whatever she wants to and her body is hers. And, she isn’t doing anything all that crazy…
  6. It could be far worse, people.  Have you seen the porn on the internet?  Show Kim, in PLAYBOY, to my kids before you show them anything on an internet porn site.  That’s the real danger.  And, that is not to say that porn should be illegal or that it is wrong.  What it is to say is that I don’t want my 4 year old seeing a donkey show, so I am going to monitor what the hell he is doing on the computer.  Take responsibility, Mom and Dad. It’s very cowardly to blame the media for how our children turn out.  Our society’s kids are at a disadvantage not because of all of the media available, but because of all of the media consumed. And, our education system is a joke.
  7. We don’t value our kids, or our greatest resources, in general – our people. And, that’s where dipsticks like Donald J. Trump sneak in.  He snuck in because we, as a society, have given up on our education system.  We have created a generation of Donald Trump supporters and Kardashian fans and now we want to sit back and act like we have no idea why. I know why.
  8. I’ll tell you why:  I taught a young  boy, a 4th grader, who read on a preschool level.  That means he was illiterate, essentially. He was making no progress on his reading and they just kept pushing him on through the grades.  I think about that little guy all of the time.I worry that I didn’t do enough to prepare him. But, as a first year teacher, I just didn’t know what to do but to listen to my principal and other superiors. So I didn’t know how to prepare him for the life that he was going to lead: for the fact that very few people were going to give him a shot.  He was black, huge for his age and stronger than hell, great at sports and charismatic but the 1o year old couldn’t read.  And, no one had done anything about it… and no one was going to. His mother seemed exhausted from trying and there was a resignation about her that saddened me.  My superiors didn’t want to hear anything about the fact that  this kid was being set up to fail. I know what you are thinking, but nope. He wasn’t poverty stricken.  He didn’t live in the ghetto. His parents were middle class folks who sincerely cared for their son.  He had advantages that should have made it easier for him to get the help that he needed.  But, he was generally ignored and allowed to fall through the cracks because his parents didn’t know what in the world to do.  I think that they had come to the conclusion that this would be the best that he would ever be and had come to peace with it.  I think of that family about once a week. The fact is that the system failed him. My hands were tied and I was brand new to the school, but I was the only person who even seemed to still believe he had a shot. This is not an isolated story.  I’m pretty sure every teacher has a similar story.  But, our teachers have no resources or help. So, the people who should be our kids role models can’t even afford to pay the rent for their one bedroom apartment. This system is failing terribly.
  9. Our teachers are exhausted, underpaid and given an inhumane amount of work to do. I am not saying that to be hyperbolic (I do have a tendency toward that). I am saying that because I worked 11 hour days every day as a teacher and then came home to work on my couch. My job was physically and emotionally demanding.  I was constantly putting out fires.  It required me to be one step ahead of the game. My anxious nature made me quite suited to that.  But, it was quite tiring.  I was walking the room all day every day, practically. Even when I was pregnant, I still had to be up and about from sun up to sun down… and I liked it.  I loved my job.  But, my kids were born and suddenly the job that had consumed me so much seemed like an absolute impossibility. I worked like a dog for nothing.  I loved my students, and sincerely felt that I would never be able to be a good teacher unless I found the good in each of them. So I did.  I may not have been the best teacher that the world had ever seen, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t care.
  10. Unfortunately, it just seemed like I would be putting my family at a disadvantage both financially, and emotionally, if I continued to teach.  I had 2 kids in 2 years and no one was going to give me the kind of maternity leave I would have needed, or any of the healthcare benefits to help.  It just didn’t make sense for me anymore.
  11. In addition, I was held to exceptionally high standards ethically. I was always worried to be found on social media, etc.  Teachers are supposed to be some of the pillars of our society.  But,we get paid nothing and worked like farm animals. I had co-workers who only slept 3 hours a night because they were so consumed with trying to get their kids on grade level. They probably brought home less than  $2,000 that month. But, if teachers choose to take side jobs they have to be very careful about what they choose to do.  You can’t associate yourself with just anything.  It is not OK for you to run a blog where you curse, rant and act like yourself. You’re a public figure eating ramen every night. 
  12. Kim Kardashian has nothing to do with education and she shouldn’t have anything to do with our kids.  She is a grown woman with two kids of her own.  Why is your daughter dressing like her, or following her on Twitter, or buying her thousand different beauty products?   That’s YOUR fault.
  13. I want to emphasize that I do not particularly identify with the Kardashian brand. I think their lifestyle is excessive, they are a bit money-hungry and that they may not have any idea how the rest of the world works.  I live in a 1200 square foot house that I love. I don’t think I would ever want to live in a house larger than 2,000 sq. feet, to be honest. That just sounds like extra rooms to dust.  I don’t need expensive things. I buy everything from Goodwill. I am a lover of vintage clothes for that very reason.  I do not need or want excess. I enjoy a simple life. So, Kim Kardashian and I are completely different in pretty much every way.
  14. But, Kim isn’t doing anything wrong.  That is the point.  Kim is not doing anything that matters unless we, as a culture, allow it to matter.  We have made her influential. We have given her the power and money.  She seems to have been extraordinarily business savvy in the last decade or so.  I can respect getting what you want. Beyond that, I don’t know enough about her from watching snippets of her life on the E! Channel.
  15. And, yes. I do watch the show. I don’t watch every episode. I certainly don’t DVR it.  If I see that it is on, I will flip over and take a look. Again, I do not identify with her brand or aspire to that lifestyle.  I watch them because they are a huge part of a current culture.  Whether you like it or not, they are relevant.  So, yes, I am going to check out the show every so often.  I am going to read an article about them once in a while.  I’m not going to make a point to pretend that they don’t exist on “principle” or act as though the show and its fans are silly or dumb.  That’s condescending as hell.  It’s also not true.
  16. I am not a fan of the show. As a matter of fact, I only know one true Kardashian fan and she is a brilliant medical professional.  Is it strange to me that she likes them as much as she does? Yes.  But, I see it as her guilty pleasure.  I know she aspires to have more money than she currently does. So, I know she would probably love to live their lifestyle and she is most certainly materialistic.  But, she is not a vile teeny bopper with no soul, either.  She just happens to be one of the only adult woman I know who will openly admit to loving the show, as well as all of the Kardashians.  So, I respect her for owning it and not “closeting” herself about it.
  17. I was corrected about my last article by someone who wanted to clarify that they didn’t look at her as sexy or attractive and that they found her vile and gross. (I’m paraphrasing here. You can listen to the podcast, here.)  I would like to clarify that that was a hyperbolic statement.  Perhaps, I should be more careful with my exaggeration in the future. So, allow me to rephrase: She’s become a global sex symbol.  That’s a better way to say it, I suppose. But, my goal is not to defend or advocate for Kim. I don’t think she needs my help with that. I get the feeling that she is doing OK without my stamp of approval.
  18. My goal is to call out the hypocrisy that lies in the fact that our culture, our kids, our students, our neighbors… all made her rich and famous.  She didn’t spontaneously become filthy rich. We have failed our kids for years and it is starting to become obvious that the price is going to have to be paid at some point. There are always going to be people willing to teach our kids, if we don’t.  There is always somewhere for them to get information or images.  Our daughters’ body images are our responsibility.  So, instead of pointing the finger at a reality star, perhaps we should start spending more time with our kids, getting our girls involved in STEM, working on critical thinking skills and getting youngers outside to play and away from the computer and TV.

 

If I left your question unanswered, please feel free to let me know.

 

 

 

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