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Higher Ed Scholars Keep Up With the Kardashians

Higher Ed Scholars Keep Up With the Kardashians
Susan Dutca-Lovell

Keeping up with the Kardashians isn't too difficult in contemporary American culture - from the tabloids to social media, the Kardashians remain among the top searched items on the Internet, according to Google trends. Now the Kardashians have squeezed their way into academics. The world's first "Kimposium" will explore the world's obsession with the Kardashian family, and its impact on society.

Scholars from the United States, Germany and Britain will gather at Brunel University London this month for a day-long conference to discuss the modern-day reality TV epidemic. Scholars believe "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" is more than an overly dramatic reality TV show. Instead, the show and its cast is a reflection of popular culture and values. The first ever "Kimposium" will host discussions on current issues such as race, feminism, and the politics of "fat" and beauty. Dr. Meredith Jones believes there is strong cultural significance to be examined in Kim's "famously big bottom" and that "they [the Kardashians] may be vacuous and bland when they open their mouths, but they are also very powerful."

Professor Hall from the University of Liverpool believes Kim is simply famous for being famous. He equates Kim's success to scholars who have "high-profile scientific blogs on Twitter but have not actually published peer-reviewed papers of essence, scientists who are seen as leaders in their field simply because of their notoriety." Professor Hall has devoted time to calculating Kim's index score to draw parallels between celebrity success and academia. His Kardashian Index Theory defines modern fame by asserting that the wrong people are gaining attention for the wrong reasons. For supporters of this theory, Kim K. is the perfect example of fame without notable talent or work ethic.

Scholars believe that perhaps the Kardashians embody "a lot of values and tensions" that are prevalent in modern society; such as interracial marriages, the redefining of beauty through Kim's "curvaceous, dark-skinned body," glamour makeup, and the controversial transformation of former Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner. What is the motive in analyzing the success of these "talentless airheads?" Do you believe this discussion would benefit society, or will it only further Kim Kardashian's celebrity status?

Would you attend the Kimposium? In your opinion, is a scholarly discussion of the Kardashian epidemic worthwhile? Start your own discussion by commenting below.

Comments (15)
Gabriela R 12/2/2015
I am not going to sit here and lie and say I would not attend the Kimposium. All of society is surrounded by following the hottest celebrities (Kardashian/Jenner Clan). Society is built on whom is the hottest celebrity, who are they dating, what brand they are wearing. Although, I think it would be beneficial for everyone to watch it because let's face it no matter how many degrees we get, sadly we won't make as much as them. They will get more fame but it can also open some teenagers and adult's eyes on how shallow they are. In my opinion, I do not think I will learn anything from this Kardashian epidemic which I can take into my life and change it in a positive way. I do think it will be entertaining but is it really worth someone's time and effort? When they can do an epidemia on things that really matter such as education, advocating for ASD, or ADD children who are not getting the services they need.
Crystal M. 11/30/2015
I would more then likely to join the Kimposium because now in days it's all about beauty.
Jordan s. 11/26/2015
I would attend the kimposium because I feel this is the today world of what you should look like and I would definitely like to know more
Tiffanie B 11/19/2015
In today's world it's all about looks and beauty but is that the only important thing there is? What about having knowledge and getting an education? The Kardashians put out an image of something I would like to call fiction beauty. Fiction beauty is not a natural beauty, it's a pretend or fake beauty. They get plastic surgery on everything and get noticed because of their fabulous life style. Going to a kimposium would absolutely be a waste of time. Looking good is an essential but so is knowledge. I want to be remembered because of how I act and what I'm capable of instead of what's on my body. Its a shame how people are so focused on beauty that they lack to see what else is important. There's more relevant things to worry about.
Tracy M 11/18/2015
The Kardashians are another way of saying you can be rich by doing nothing. I would definitely not attend a kimposium, its just a waste of my time to sit and hear people talk about nothing productive. I don't even know how they became relevant, and don't let me get started on Bruce Jenner. He changed his sexuality and now he is a relevant subject, people saying he has courage and winning awards for changing his sexuality. The way I see it they are a waste of time and thought, but I just wasted my time thinking and writing about them so I guess they must be doing something right... Yet very wrong.
Nadia Y 11/18/2015
While I do believe the idea of having a leadership summit based around the world's most superficial family does sound silly, the purpose behind the madness is a great idea. The goal of this discussion is to have a greater understanding of why they are so popular, to understand why seven year old girls and forty year old moms desire to be like them, and why people like Kim Kardashian are so relevant in such an advanced society. I would love to attend an event like this one; maybe as a seventeen year old, high school senior I could enlighten people on the reasons for their fame and what is happening with our generation.
Katerin v 11/17/2015
I would love to attend the "Kimposium",just being a human in general triggers curiosity about what revolves around us. Entertainment is One way to keep us distracted from many of the problems around us. The Kardashians have such and interesting life it's kind of like a fantasy. most woman don't have that but admire her for not having such a talent but acquiring everything the Kardashians have. It takes such bravery to expose such classified information. Although the Kardashians are such an interesting topic I don't think it's necessary to host a discussion based on them or how they represent woman. The Kardashian are just a light entertainment and no one should take offense.
Leterriya P 11/17/2015
I would not involve myself in what you call Kimposium, The Kardashians continues to make simple decisions thats cause me to not want to be influenced by anything under there name.
Alexis M 11/17/2015
I would not attend "Kimposium". The Kardashian's are a poor example to be using because they are famous just because of their father. They have no talent what so ever and portray themselves in such an ugly manner. They shouldn't be role models to people just because they have "famously big bottoms" . I do feel as thought this will bring more attention towards the Kardashians. Having more focus on a family that's only famous from one family member than a serious topic is what will ruin society.
Abby Hayes 11/17/2015
Many things about the Kardashians, I can't stand. I think its interesting that the daughters have become famous for essentially no talent or work-ethics. However they are trendsetters for the beauty world and they are huge influences and voices for millennials. I might attend this event if it was to discuss social patterns more than to discuss the history of the Kardashians. On another point, the world's fascination with people who have no talent/work ethic is not new, for example, The Beverly Hills House Wives or Toddlers and Tiarias. People have always liked to obsess over other people's beauty, "better" lifestyles, and dramas.
Sonia, Zuniga A 11/15/2015
I would not attend the "Kimposium", but I do believe that a scholarly discussion would be interesting and even educational. Everyone, despite the stereotype belief of it just being teenagers, want to be "socially acceptable". Media depicts an image of beauty, and as a young women myself, we dream to someday be it. What the media shows us is a lie! They only show us what they want, therefore I strongly believe that a discussion based on the importance of accepting who we are would be necessary. Not only will it emphasize the importance to express ourselves freely, but also help give a better example of media usage for the future generations to come.
Kathy J. 11/14/2015
I would not attend Kimposium. The Kardashian name had relevance and integrity because of their father & to me it has become a mockery. They are a poor representation of the way women should present themselves in public. But yet, it is this type of symposium that continues to give them revelance. In regards to their business sense, the mother took the embarrassment of a video and decided to cash in on it. Their true claim to fame is how to stay relevant to society by any means necessary. They market products that they don't truly utilize and to make it worse, the clothes they wear in public are not from the Dash store or Sears. The symposium should be about why our society is infatuated about the fascade of reality television.
Sydney L. 11/13/2015
I would not want to join Kimposium, because its simply about being involved in something ridiculous big that your peers would indirectly pressure you into joining. Having this much attention towards this epidemic speaks volumes on how impotant we should address the situation. Knowing that if we focus too much on the Kardasians, not only it would increase their stardom by adding more views, but it would raise awareness on the basis of where the attention from our society is heading, and that we should do something sbout it. If not soon, it may lead to the absence of support that we need from everyone on a matter way more important than a show about a few talentless people.
LGE 11/13/2015
I don't think I would attend the "Kimposium", however, the success of the show and family is def conversation worthy. I disagree with the digs I've read from some the the professors on this subject. It sounds a tad immature and judgmental. To break it down to simple terms, the show has a brilliant exec producer (Ryan Seacrest), who is able to tap into what young people crave for entertainment. Most young woman love to shop and look through magazines to see what is trending, and the show covers this in abundance. Third, it doesn't feel scripted (we all know it is), but they are being pretty real in the moment and not afraid to air the drama of what the family is going through. On a psychological level, many young women can find their "doubles", in the characters. (Boyfriends cheating, arguments with mom,etc). When some people say they are famous for being famous, I think that is scratching the surface, and not digging down to figure out why the show and family are such a phenomenon.
Passion J. 11/12/2015
I would define attend a Kimposium. The Kardashians embody the modern entrepreneur. Being that they have turn all the things the love such as clothes, make-up, hair products and themselves in to a million dollar proud.
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