Cards on the table: I’m not a fan of Kim Kardashian. I don’t follow her online; where she goes and what she does means nothing to me; and her "brand" doesn’t influence me one iota. Equally, I don’t actively dislike her. I don’t see her and growl internally, I don’t believe she is the cause of all the world’s ills, or even an example of them. I don’t define myself in anyway against her – overall my feelings are “meh”. As a consequence, I can’t claim to have any real insight into her marriage with Kanye West, whom I do like, whom I do follow, for whom I do care. Can anyone other than the people inside it really know a marriage, after all?
Not really – unless of course you’re Piers Morgan, self-proclaimed knower-of-all and reckless opinion generator who this morning declared to the world that it was Kimmy K to blame for her husband being admitted to hospital, reportedly for psychiatric reasons. Let’s point at her and yell “Shame!” that she did not keep her husband well – that her scientifically improbable booty and strangely high-pitched voice could not stop her husband from falling ill. I know for a fact that Kanye West has had a winter cold in the past; ask yourself what kind of a woman stands by and let her husband’s Vitamin C levels drop so low, never mind allows whatever has happened this week to happen.
There’s something incredibly retro about the idea that a man’s health is the moral duty of his wife. It rings so closely to the sentiment of “keeping a man satisfied” – as though gaining a few pounds or being distracted by work is a sin if you happen to be a female with a male partner – neglectful, cruel, and, worse still, unfeminine.
“He's incredibly smart, bright, different, an incredibly talented guy and a brilliant musician,” Morgan said today on Good Morning Britain, “yet he was sucked into this vortex of the Kardashian reality television and now look... he's in a hospital in Los Angeles and he's in a terrible state.”
At this stage, we don’t know why Kanye has been taken ill. The assumed consensus is he is seeking treatment for mental health issues, but the fact is that we don’t know. What we do know is that Kanye is a man of his own agency, so aware of himself and his own wants that at points it has been abrasive to most of the world.
The idea that the brash, bold, outspoken performer has been “sucked in”, as if he is a feeble and easily manipulated stereotype – and not at all actively pursuing and wanting that distinctly Los Angeles-style celebrity life – is a wilful distortion of reality, playing out old sexist stereotypes of devilish women that are sexually irresistible yet soul-suckingly evil.
One of the most basic premises of being a decent human being is not to treat your loved ones with neglect or cruelty, to have their best interests at heart, to be there when you need them. What Piers Morgan said, glibly and on first appearance innocuously, is actually quite gnarly and grim (classic Piers, guys!) The privilege of being able to say something so old school – not to mention so offhandedly nasty – and it not stand out like a sore thumb is a reminder of quite how pervasive these attitudes are.
Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian has apparently cancelled her first public appearance in months since being robbed in Paris to attend to her husband and his medical emergency. It might be celebrity news but it’s still somebody’s real life, Piers. And bandying about bland sexist lies is unlikely to make anyone – whatever their issue – feel better.