Whether you’re browsing through TV channels or even looking through social media, it isn’t uncommon to accidentally come across new gossip about the Kardashian-Jenner sisters, or even their latest fashion go-to looks. The Kardashian-Jenner sisters are well known for their TV show on E, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. But besides that, the Kardashian-Jenner sisters are all over Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and many other forms of media.
As I walked to class the other day, I was calmly looking around, gazing at different houses as I passed by them. One thing caught my attention in particular. In one window of an apartment building, there was a poster facing the street showing the Jenner sisters modeling. There is no doubt that whoever lives in the apartment building enjoys the Jenner sisters and perhaps they even look up to them. This made me think about how influential the Kardashian-Jenner sisters are. The Kardashian-Jenner sisters most definitely have had a huge impact on the way people see themselves, others around them, and the world as a whole. I am arguing that this is problematic. I argue this because the Kardashian-Jenner sisters are guilty of cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation is a form of disrespect to another culture due to the unacknowledgement of why these elements are culturally significant.
So, let’s take a closer look at some photos the Kardashian-Jenner sisters have posted.
Almost a year and a half ago, Khloé Kardashian posted this picture of herself on Instagram. She decided to caption this picture “Habibi Love.” In this picture, she is wearing a niqab. A niqab, not to be confused with a burqa or hijab, is a veil that some Muslim women wear on their face that does not cover their eyes. Wearing a niqab is a part of some Muslim women’s faith. For Khloé to be adopting this significant element of another religion is disrespectful. It is disrespectful because Khloé does not identify as a Muslim and rebranding the niqab erases its cultural significance.
Kylie Jenner posted this photo on her instagram and captioned it, “I woke up like disss.” First of all, we definitely know Kylie did not wake up with that hairstyle. We also know, that Kylie is guilty of cultural appropriation due to the fact that she decided to have a cornrow hairstyle. This hairstyle has historically been worn by black women and originated in Africa. Kylie’s decision to have cornrows is inappropriate due to the lack of acknowledgement of where cornrows came from and why they have been historically worn by black women.
Cultural appropriation eliminates the historical roots behind whatever is being culturally appropriated. The Kardashian-Jenner rebranding of other communities’ elements to be “trendy” is disrespectful and socially unacceptable. People look up to these women and when cultural appropriation is seen as the norm, people stop questioning it. It’s time for the Kardashian-Jenner sisters to stop culturally appropriating and start culturally appreciating.
Heather Helm is a student at Saint Cloud State University. She is currently studying Women’s Studies, Psychology, and Human Relations. Heather is extremely passionate about helping others. She aims to apply a feminist framework to her anticipated career in the future as a Social Worker.