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Betting on who Kim Kardashian will date next? You might be underestimating her

Serial heterosexual monogamy, with the ultimate traditional institution of marriage, is part of the Kardashians’ arsenal to ensure that their threat is minimised while they continue to take over the world

Katie Edwards
Monday 22 August 2022 10:50 BST
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Are you the gambling type? Have you got any money to spare during the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, then how about a flutter on a billionaire’s love life? I know. It sounds bizarre, but we are talking about Kim Kardashian – whose entire being seems to be up for discussion and commodification, so it’s all good.

Yep. That’s right. You can place bets on which bloke Kimmie will get off with in the near future. Sounds trite? Maybe a bit weird? Well, given that you can gamble online on just about anything, including ferret bingo, it’s perhaps not that strange that the most talked about, most photographed woman in the world generates interest from online gambling companies.

Some of Kardashian’s fans aren’t impressed, though. One Tik Tok user, pop culture commenter @laurenisgossip, railed that the suggestions for Kardashian’s next love interest amounted to “the most absurd list of names that I’ve seen”. The caption to her video was even more incensed: “How is this even legal, it’s messed up.” Well, you can bet on celebrity deaths too, but I take her point.

Other fans seemed to agree that taking bets on the celebrity’s next boyfriend was beyond the pale. “I’m not a fan, but this is actually really gross. Why are y’all so pressed that you’re willing to put money on this?” Another commenter added, “this is disgusting”.

It’s perhaps not that shocking that there’d be interest in Kardashian’s love life following her split from Pete Davidson. I mean, she has spent the last decade and a half commodifying every aspect of her life, including her sex life, for the public. What is weird, however, is that no one seems to have considered that Kim’s options extend beyond getting a boyfriend. She might, for example, get a girlfriend. She might even… and imagine this… choose to be single! I know, I know, I’m edgy. I’m out there.

Kardashian is, after all, a professional disruptor. She confuses, subverts and plays with distinctions around binaries. Think I’m being pseudo-intellectual and pretentious? Yeah, probably. But I’m still right. She’s made a phenomenally successful career out of messing with the separation between the private and the public, artifice and authenticity, object and subject, real and virtual, proper and improper – and yet, for all her transgression, subversion and disruption of social and cultural norms, the public imagination can’t conceive of her as anything other than bound by heteronormativity: a woman who’ll reliably and undoubtedly spend her life with male romantic partners.

For all her self-determination, self-representation and self-promotion, the public imagination just can’t conceive of Kardashian as a single woman. What’s going on? Kardashian is truly the woman who has everything – why does she need another bloke, especially after all the headaches the previous ones have caused?

Has she been consigned to heteronormativity because she’s constructed herself as an object of male desire? Well, her fan base shows that first and foremost she’s an object of women’s desire. Women are her main consumers. Women aspire to be like her and, yes, that may well include her sexual appeal to men.

The Kardashian brand is really about women. The Kardashian-Jenner phenomenon is based on sisterhood, quite literally. The Kardashians are a matriarchy, and while men have come and gone, the women of the family – and their empire – remain wealthier and more successful than ever. The Kardashians live in a reversed panopticon where the many watch the every move of the few. We lap up the highly curated images Kardashian puts out for her 329 million Instagram followers. And that includes her romantic relationships.

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Part of Kardashian’s trajectory to ultra-celebrity has included the exposure of her private life, especially her sex life. From the sex-tape with Ray J that sparked her career as a reality star, to the music video with ex-husband Kanye where they simulate sex, to her most recent declarations of feeling “horny” with her latest ex Pete Davidson, Kim Kardashian is a sexual icon informed by heteronormative culture.

The family are dab hands at minimising their threat as powerful, super wealthy women. Think about this: the Kardashian clan are highly influential, commanding women – who speak with little girl voices. They’ve been woefully underestimated, a convenient vessel for the projection of anxieties about women’s behaviour and women’s bodies, and moral judgements about “proper and improper” femininity and fame.

Serial heterosexual monogamy, with the ultimate traditional institution of marriage, is part of the Kardashians’ arsenal to ensure that their threat is minimised while they continue to take over the world. The real gamble isn’t on who’s going to be the next boyfriend or husband, it’s on who’s daft enough to underestimate the power and the smarts of the Kardashian-Jenners.

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