Recently in a post to her Instagram account Kim Kardashian announced that she will be launching a line of women’s shapewear, which she has been working on as a passion project for the last year. She claims the reason for this product is that there is not enough shapewear in multiple sizes and colours available in the free market.
This idea is right on brand for the social media icon. She prides herself on her shapely body and trademark ‘Kardashian’ booty. However, it is the name of this shapewear line that has got Twitter in a flurry, with many calling Kim out for yet another breach of cultural appropriation.
This shapewear fashion has been named and trademarked as ‘Kimono’, you know, because her name is Kim – get it? Kim, Kimono, not super original.
The kimono is deeply embedded in Japanese culture and for someone with no Japanese heritage to disrespect the national dress by comparing it to underwear in this way is very offensive as it shows no acknowledgement or respect as to what the garment means in Japanese culture. Kimonos are traditionally worn to celebrations in Japan such as weddings and other special events.
Many people have been engaging in debate over the celebrity’s intentions – were they malicious or accidental?
I personally believe that Kim K has had way too many run-ins with appropriating other people’s cultures for this to be overlooked as an accident.
For instance, let’s not forget the time she was called out for blackface or the multiple times she appropriated black hairstyles such as box braids, African Fulani braids, cornrows, or the times she wore grillz, or when she wore an Indian headpiece. No matter how many times she appropriates culture from other ethnicities and is criticised, she never seems to learn.
Honestly, her privilege is showing and I’m starting to think that Kardashian ‘Kultural’ appropriation is part of their brand.
Currently, the hashtag #KimOhNo is being used to express criticism, concern and outrage at Kim’s latest business venture. The fact that she has had run-ins with outrage from social media users over previous incidents of cultural appropriation suggests that she actually did this on purpose knowing that Twitter and socially aware individuals would be furious and talk about her new product. If she did it for attention, she’s succeeded.
I believe Kim wants all the attention on her (as usual) and when there are such fierce competitors in the market such as Rhianna and her gorgeous Fenty x Savage lingerie line, which was being compared to Kim’s line before either product had even launched, Kim may just want the focus on her, even if it’s negative.
As if the cultural appropriation wasn’t enough, there’s MORE!
Kim claims this line will be for bodies of all shapes and sizes, boasting that sizes XXS – XXXXL will be represented in her brand with 9 different skin tones to select from. However, in the promotional photos released for this product only women with hourglass shapes are used. Not one small breasted model, not one plus-sized model – hmm, doesn’t look size inclusive to me.
At the end of the day, it is painfully clear to, well, everyone that this shapewear campaign is problematic and flawed, except it seems for Kim Kardashian herself who has not apologised as of yet for her latest public downfall.
The only reason that Kim K can hijack and trademark a word that has ZERO relation to the beautiful kimonos of Japan is because she is a woman with influence, power, and access to resources (such as her $350 million net worth). Therefore, no matter how infuriated some people are about her unethical business practices, Kim Kardashian is protected by her thousands of loyal fans who will purchase her product no matter what.