The ‘influencer’ and her family were pioneers in understanding that the digital economy was about attracting attention, building a personal brand and monetizing any aspect of life
Now they will give lessons from this work hell in their new ‘reality’ on Disney +
The Kardashians have returned to television. The new ‘reality’, whose first episode is available on Disney +, presents a more restrained facet of the family than the one shown by ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’, the original program that made them rise to fame. this time already no physical fights, no prison time for drunk driving, no ‘sex-tapes’.
In ‘The Kardashians’, the title of the new artifact, we attend a show that, despite the fact that it continues to use family dramas as its backbone – there is, if not, the presentation of Kim’s new boyfriend, the comedian Pete Davidson, synchronizing watches with the premiere of the program –, tries to convince the audience that the sisters are the archetype of the ‘girlboss’the enterprising woman who, with effort and out of nowhere, has reached the top.
This is what Hulu, the producing chain, affirms, certifying that the ‘reality’ focuses on “the gigantic pressure involved in managing billion-dollar businesses” and “life under the spotlight.” Two closely linked aspects in the construction of the Kardashian empire, since they were pioneers precisely in what has become the ‘modus operandi’ of success in the digital economy: knowing how to attract attention, monetize any aspect of life and become your own publicist, capable of creating a business brand based on yourself.
“His business is to live”
For the journalist Juan Sanguino, this boils down to the fact that “his business is to live.” Namely, today’s society has gone from monetizing what an artist does to what an artist is. “When you consume the Kardashians, you’re not consuming their work, you’re consuming them.” Your content is literally your life.
So consider this tv clan is the maximum exponent of an economic system that does not put limits on what is monetizable. Something that, according to Silvia Lorente – a journalist and “staunch fan of the Kardashian-Jenner ‘klan'”, as she defines herself – blames American culture and societies, whose deep-rooted capitalism is based on the maxim that there are few limits if it’s about making money.
1,000 million dollars reaches his fortune, according to ‘Forbes’
Even so, the Kardashians have not invented anything. The cult of ‘celebrities’ has always existedand has been magnified as they became more visible to the public, be it with the invention of cinema, the paparazzi boom or exposure on social media.
Even, according to Lorente, this The self-promotion that the Kardashians have been criticized for so much is something whose credit can hardly be given to them: “It has always existed, even in things as basic as when your neighbors showed you the slides of their trip to Egypt, which were made to show off,” jokes the journalist. However, she maintains the thesis that they have managed to magnify these same pretensions, reaching millions of people.
— Disney+ Spain (@DisneyPlusES) March 14, 2022
The Kardashians, therefore, although have contributed to boosting the self-promotion industry, are not the only causes of the current paroxysm. they only they are a (very visible) cog in a system that rewards self-exploitation and in which “we all participate”, warns Sanguino. “There is a false illusion that we can all be ‘influencers’. And that, if you don’t, it’s due to lack of effort. So you keep trying more, self-exploiting more,” he warns.
Obviously, when an industry promises that the door to success is easy to cross, “it’s normal for many to try.” In addition, it is difficult to get out of the vicious circle: to which we receive attention or recognition, our batteries recharge and we remain trapped in this wheel. “It is the neoliberalization of human beings,” concludes Sanguino. “Each person exploits themselves with the aim of becoming an attractive brand. And since there are many people who have achieved it, they are constantly imitated.” In the end, it is simply a job bet in favor of a hypothetical success, where, often, what is given in return is mental health, free time and work overload.
Kim has 300 million followers on Instagram
Fetishes of the economic press
The press has also worked hard to popularize this culture of effort adapted to the channels of the 21st century. For example, that ‘Forbes’ crowned Kyle as the youngest self-made billionaire in the world only feeds this diabolical wheel. The Kardashian family does not come from nowhere, but are rich and media ‘socialites’. Even so, since they have had to fight against a public opinion that constantly belittled them (“and always in patriarchal terms,” Lorente points out), they feel that their millionaire empire is currently the result of an effort comparable to that of starting from scratch. “A fiction has been generated around the Kardashians,” says Sanguino, “and they have ended up believing” falsely that theirs is pure meritocracy.
“I have the best advice for women in the world of work. Get up your ass and work. It seems that nobody wants to work these days,” Kim said days ago in the magazine ‘Variety’, fueling that perception that the lack of success is correlative to the lack of effort and opening the ban also to a handful of former workers accusing her of exploitation.
1.3 billion users add up to the clan’s digital audience
So it could be said that the Kardashians have become something similar to effective ambassadors and even necessary cooperators in this work culture that feeds on consuming people until they are burnedas the journalist Anne Helen Petersen maintains in her ‘best-seller’ ‘I can’t take it anymore’.
Sanguino cites, as a visible consequence of this, the normalization of the Onlyfans phenomenon, a platform on which all the intimacy – and sexuality – of a person who uses their own body and personality as a brand and commercial claim is sold. In the same way, one could also mention the dozens and dozens of ‘streamers’ on Twitch, such as ElXokas, who boast of dedicating more than 14-hour days to their work, without even having time to cook or eat with dignity. The ‘influencer’ era seems to be synonymous with the era of self-exploitation.