How the kardashians changed the american dream
Updated: May 7, 2020
The Kardashian family is arguably one of the most influential, and controversial monarchies of modern America, but what lasting affects have they stamped on the American Dream?
The American Dream has meant different things to multitudes of people for centuries. In the mid-1700’s it meant being independent of Britain. Fast forward to the 1950’s it meant a quaint little house complete with the all American family. Nowadays it's shifted from “the little things” to having a private jet, mansion, and millions to your name. Not to say these shifts are negative, but they're definitely something to talk about. Celebrities have always had a large impact on the American public, whether they suggest a product, share certain habits, or even tell you to go do something, we tend to listen. Why? Because famous people don't live regular lives. If they did, we wouldn't be interested. So we're going to take a look at one of the most influential, and controversial families to ever grace the American, and for that matter, the world's public eye. That's right, today I’m going to explain how the Kardashians completely altered the American Dream.
To understand how the K/J clan became so influential we need to take a look at their origin story, and it didn't start with the person you might assume. The beginning of their rise to power started in 1995 when it was revealed that Robert Kardashian would be an attorney on O.J. Simpson's “Dream Team” in a case that would go on to be known as “The Trial of the Century”. Though the case happened after Kris Jenner and Rob Kardashian divorced, it still put the family through emotional turmoil, as both of them were on opposite (and rather aggressive) sides of the case.
A mere month after Jenner’s divorce she remarried Bruce Jenner, former olympian, and boxing star. To have such a scandal occur within the 1% did generate mass rumors, but still no worldwide fame. However, it should be noted that at this point, their rise to stardom became extremely calculated, and this was admitted by Jenner in her memoir later in 2011.
Jenner made sure all her kids were making friends with either wealthy or regionally popular families, which explains all the Kim Kardashian/ Paris Hilton feuds.
In 2006, the three Kardashian sisters launched their store, DASH. The store didn't do much to improve their wealth status, however, it did give them a boost of popularity amongst locals, and put them back in the public eye. At this point, Kris knew she had something special. A family with so many revolving doors, feuds, and business ventures would most likely make good television, so that's exactly what she did. In 2007, Jenner pitched a reality show about her family to Ryan Secrest, and thus began, Keeping up with the Kardashians.
That same year Kim’s sex tape with former boyfriend Ray J. was released, boosting her status high enough to be invited on Dancing with the Stars. I guess all press is good press? Right?
Flipping back to us mortals, at this point America was beginning its sudden financial decline into the Great Recession. Banks were suddenly panicked, houses empty, and 15 million Americans were jobless. While most families were struggling to find ways to keep the lights on, parts of the Kardashian/ Jenner clan were each searching for their second homes.
So picture this: You just spend all day begging the cable company for another week's extension while you pull together some money. You sit down with a bowl of cereal for dinner, turn on the T.V. and see these women running around traveling in their private jets and buying out entire stores. Now, either two things could happen. You get very very envious, or very very mad.
This pivotal moment in Kardashian history is when the country collectively decided they either hate this family, or love them, and these opinions more or less never changed.
At this point, I think it might be beneficial to mention that the Kardashians are smart. They can spot a trend 3 years in advance, and are business, real estate, and legal moguls. Truthfully one of the smartest business decisions they've made is the facade that they aren't intelligent.
When Instagram became popular in 2011, they recognized it as a platform that could be personal, but distant, and hopped on instantly in July of 2010. From there they used it as a way of marketing directly to the consumer and building their billionaire brand. “I realized pretty quickly that social media was going to be used as […] my free focus group,” Kim said in an interview in 2019, it's reported that she now makes an average 1 million per post. However, with record-breaking success, comes controversy.
Over the past 10 years, the family has made too many bad choices to count. In such a political climate they have been behind the creation of multiple racially insensitive marketing campaigns, signed on to radically tone-deaf advertisements *cough* Pepsi *cough*, and sued many small businesses for simply creating art that arguably is too similar to items they've trademarked. So how are they still relevant when they should have been canceled years ago?
They were the idea of rich American royalty when we had nothing, and we as a society are not ready to let them go.
The Kardashians reach all ages, groups, and countries with their platforms. At this point it's harder not to keep up with the Kardashians, but who is holding the weight of their audience? Generation Z. Gen Z is generally concluded to be born between 1996-2010 which puts them right at the birth of Kardashian fame. When they got their show, we had just become old enough to watch reality T.V. When they hopped on Instagram, that was one of the first social media platforms made with us in mind. We grew with them and helped build over 72% of their audience. So now as we grow up, and become adults in “the real world”, we look to them for what our next move should be. The difference is that theirs is buying their 12th property, while we scrape together loans for our first apartment.
This created the monetary gap that inspires us to dream life as luxurious and carefree as theirs. This American monarchy has somehow calculated such precise fame, that they have managed to change the vision of what we all deserve to have when we grow up, thus altering the American Dream.
There is absolutely no way of telling how relevant this family will be in 20 years, but with an entire generation indoctrinated to chase after the life they have inspired, odds are they will remain very relevant. With a new heir being produced every year, and a storyline to go along with each one it's been made clear the Kardashians are here to stay. After all, if these people are known to be famous for having no talent, why can't we be? Why can't we live out our fantasy of living life in a mansion with no husband, and lounging in our various hot tubs in designer swimsuits? In the age of affluence correlating to average, we deserve to have at least our basic human rights.
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Forever in your corner,