The Feminist Media Reader #3 - Kim Kardashian Hollywood

by - Friday, October 17, 2014

Ask anybody I know: if I could change my name to Kenessa Kardashian without some sort of injuction being taking out against me, I totally would. I am completely in love with all things Kim, Khloe and Kourtney and will not be shamed. And why should I be? It's reality at it's absolute finest, and at times, oddly touching - say what you like about their fame-hungry ways, they are at least a family who visibly care about each other and make the time to enjoy each other's company, which is no mean feat when you lead the lives they do.

With that in mind, you won't be surprised to hear that vast amounts of my past few weekends have been lost to Kim's latest venture. That right, I'm talking about Kim Kardashian: Hollywood - the most addictive life simulation game since I got my iPad, downloaded bakery story and started having palpitation in the night if I hadn't taken my virtual brownies out of the oven. Whilst that was a dangerous addiction, Kim K Hollywood is an inherently more engaging play, channelling the glitz and glamour you see on TV alongside a little insight into the rigours of being a celebrity - those 8 hour photoshoots are hard work on the thumbs okay? 

Suprisingly, amongst all the pop up ads and avoided micro-transactions, there's also quite a startling amount of feminist discourse at play. In the midst of all the 'GirlGamer' issues that are playing out across the world's media (expect a further post about that soon), here's a breakdown of some of things I've been enjoying most about the game, and a few that are a little concerning from the perspective of young, impressionable girls who might be playing...


Same sex marriage! 
Hell yeah! A recent update of the game made it possible to date and marry characters of the same sex, making Kim Kardashian land a much more liberal place that many US states. And rightly so - this game is indulgent aspirational play in it's finest form, so why shouldn't people be able to play as their true selves? A nice touch that simply isn't recognised in similar free Apple games. 

The gender balance
Within Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, you will encounter a variety of managers, photographers, shop owners, models, designer, party planners.. you name it, they have it. The heartening thing about this is that to the best of my experience of the game thus far, the balance of genders across professions is pretty much perfectly equal. I'm talking male teachers and fashion designers, female doctors and lawyers... a nice message to send out to young people that they can be anything they want... in virtual form at least.

Kim is never too busy to be your friend
Feminism in action right here people - no matter your age, sex or social standing, Kim is right there inviting you to parties, helping you book gigs and generally being a top gal pal. True philanthropism right there. 

You can be who you want to be
Right now, my avatar shows that I'm a sassy-fab Jamaican woman with a killer 'fro and a strong line in ballgowns. Is this who I am in real life? Hell yes Not really. Like all life simulation games, it the customisability that is really empowering, allowing all users to project the image of themselves they either would like to be, or are comfortable seeing themselves as. Interestingly, the weight adaptation options are fairly limited, but then again, this isn't SIMS. Although I would quite like my character to be able to have a Kimmy-K worthy booty...


Wherefore art thou Kanye?
It is possible to spread a gender equal or feminist message whilst still having a partner, and I for one an pretty disappointed by the complete and utter lack of Kanye. It's distinctly possible that he took one look at the creative brief and was all like 'ain't nobody got time for that', but let's be honest - who would love dressing a caricature of themselves in various couture outfits more than Kanye? Nobody, that's who.

Willow Pape's chronic bitchface
Everybody needs a nemesis, and whilst Willow Pape (aka Paris Hilton, lets be honest Kim) plays the role well, it's a little tiring how the only time she ever wants to fight with you is over Dirk Diamonds. I mean, Dirk Diamonds is a cool guy, but famous feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was right - "girls are raised to see each other as competitors, not for jobs or accomplishments which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men." If Willow Pape wants to get up in my grill because I beat her in a Math test or a runway challenge, so be it. But do I really want to be scrapping with her for the affections of some perma-tanned male pixels? I think not.
Why are all my dates horrible to me?
Currently I'm dating a guy called logan. He's pretty hot, for a cartoon character. I don't seem to mind spending my Kardashian dollars on expensive wine for him, he shares my social standing (currently C List, but I'm working on it) and we've been dating long enough that we've hit the top 100. But here's the thing:

he's SO MEAN about my outfits. Like, really, really mean. Even as I type this, he's cutting me down for wearing the same dress twice but blowing up my phone to request another date. If I try and dump him, as you would in real life, my social rating plummets. Apparently this can be avoided by buying the outfits that have the biggest hearts, but screw you dude, I'll wear what I like. THAT IS HOW FEMINISM WORKS. 

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