Kim Kardashian’s business advice for women masks an exploitative message

Photo: 

Wealth doesn’t equal wisdom—as Kim Kardashian has once again demonstrated for us.

On Mar. 9, Varietyreleased an interview clip with the Kardashians on their upcoming new reality show. Near the end, Kim shared her best advice for women in business: “Get your fucking ass up and work!”

How insightful, Kim.

No doubt, the Kardashians own many wildly popular brands, including Good American clothing and the KKW Beauty makeup line. Kim’s 10-digit net worth makes it difficult to deny she’s successful in her business ventures. But there’s a lot of privilege propping Kim up that most women don’t have access to.

Kim’s ‘advice’ is heavily misplaced. Telling working-class women to simply work harder isn’t just insulting—it also shows how out of touch with reality Kim is from her position of privilege and wealth.

For the average person, working hard often means putting in every ounce of your effort without knowing whether or not you’ll succeed, and risking a lot of what you’ve earned in the process.

Kim, meanwhile, has always had a financial security blanket. For the richest of the rich, a job becomes a high-paying passion project. And that’s simply not the reality for working-class people.

 Kim’s exploitative message isn’t unique—it’s a harmful norm for the wealthy to encourage working class folks to work harder while directly benefiting from their toils.

Further, her statement promotes an ableist and privileged mindset. Opportunities for employment and upwards mobility aren’t equal for everyone. Those facing systemic barriers—based on factors like race, disability, and gender—are ignorantly labeled as “lazy” by sentiments like Kim’s for factors they can’t control.

Meanwhile, Kim glorifies overworking and exploiting oneself in a system in which it’s nearly impossible to achieve her level of success.

Kim’s advice should prompt us to re-examine how we value labour and how flawed capitalism is in distributing wealth. Wealthy people like the Kardashians can say and do whatever they like for publicity without consequences, all while spreading a harmful message.  

Even if the statement was made without malicious intent, Kim should’ve considered the rude tone of her words and the insensitive worldview they portray. Her advice is suited to someone in similar shoes: born into a rich environment with a plethora of connections.

Admittedly, Kim Kardashian is a woman media personality in the spotlight and isn’t exempt from misogyny and unjust criticism. But she must be held accountable for how she abuses her privilege to exploit people and appropriate Black culture at the foundation of her success.

 It’s possible Kim’s controversial advice is another publicity ploy. Despite its negative connotations, the media backlash brings with it a vast amount of attention to promote her new endeavours.

Yes, Kim’s statement was ridiculous. But her words shouldn’t be ignored. Harmful actions must be called out to establish these publicity tactics and bad takes are neither appropriate nor beneficial.

Kim, we appreciate business advice—just not from you.

Journal Editorial Board

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.