Victim blaming is still victim blaming when the victim is a celebrity
Question: When did you first realise that the commentary on Kim Kardashian West’s robbery ordeal had gone too far? Was it when Karl Lagerfeld said Kim “shouldn’t be surprised” that people target her for exhibiting her wealth? How about when some speculated the whole thing was a hoax to drum up TV viewers?
For me, it was when the head of one of Britain's top private schools said girls should look up to Shakespearean heroines instead of the 35-year-old.
Give me a break. The suggestion that fictional characters dreamed up by a 16th century man are a better source of inspiration or influence than a cultural behemoth and phenomenally successful businesswoman is beyond laughable, but it's just one example of the hot takes that have followed Sunday's raid.
The most popular opinion offered about Kardashian's raid is that she somehow brought it on herself by posting some (admittedly crass) photos of her engagement ring and valuables on social media. Let's talk that one through.
Is that a justification? That anyone with a flash car or a big house should be treated with a muttered ‘tough’ if they become the victim of a traumatic crime? A woman was asleep when five vicious men broke in, dragged her from her bed and threatened her at gunpoint. She feared being raped, she was bound and gagged, fearing for her life and ‘badly shaken’, to say the least.
During those minutes, it's pretty clear she grappled with the possibility that she may die and never see her family or two young children again. Think about that for a second. Kardashian will have to carry the shadow of this incident for the rest of her life. It's an experience which is, thankfully for most of us, beyond our worst nightmares.
And the net result of that terror is a cascade of tweets and think-pieces explaining to us why she doesn't deserve sympathy? Good work, humanity!
How dare she have the gall to wear her best gear to Paris Fashion Week?! What was she thinking posting it online? And what in the name of God was she doing alone?
That last one is particularly problematic. It is textbook victim blaming. If this happened to anyone else in the world, there would be a very different and more sympathetic reaction.
The ring that was stolen from Kardashian's apartment
There's a wider conversation to be had about what it is to be a woman and famous in 2016. It's not for me to write it. You see it when the all-female Ghostbusters film is slammed before it's even released; you see it in the assaults on both Gigi Hadid and Kim Kardashian by a ‘prankster’, when one of the most gifted athletes of all time is body-shamed; there’s the sexist and racist abuse Leslie Jones was subjected to on Twitter and a lot more besides.
I never thought I'd be writing anything in defence of Kim Kardashian or pleading with readers to understand that celebrities, regardless of their brattish or stomach-turning social media habits, are human.
There is a certain snobbery that follows the Kardashians or anything associated with them. Despite being the star of one of the longest running and most-popular television shows in the world, the face of some of the most-downloaded apps of all time and the proprietor of a number of successful clothing and cosmetic ventures; apparently she's unworthy of acclaim or praise.
You are fully entitled to dislike Kim Kardashian or any celebrity who puts themself in the public arena. There is. however, a hell of a difference between disliking them and revelling in the fact that she had a gun held to her head.