Kim Kardashian does not empower women, says Gloria Steinem


Image Credit: Jason LaVeris/Getty Images

At a luncheon for her new documentary Gloria: In Her Own Words, Ms. Steinem had a few for Kim Kardashian and her celebrity sisters, reports the New York Daily News. When asked by luncheon hostess and Newsweek editor Tina Brown whether the Kardashians empower women, Steinem said bluntly, “No. They’re not empowering other women.” See Steinem’s qualification, as well as her thoughts on Lady Gaga and Sarah Palin after the jump.

“But there’s no point in blaming the people who take advantage of the system without changing the system,” Steinem continued in her appraisal of the Kardashians. “Imagine if this were a family of boys. If men were rewarded for the same things, they would be doing it too.”

Steinem also had little fondness for potential presidential candidate Sarah Palin, designating her “a woman only a man can love.”

So who does the founder of Ms. magazine see as a powerful female role model? Look no further than Lady Gaga. “I think she speaks for outsiders and she champions being yourself no matter what,” said Steinem. “It seems positive to me.” And look out, PopWatchers, you might just see Steinem at one of Gaga’s upcoming concerts. The icon said she’d “be happy to go” see Gaga in the flesh.

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Comments (51 total) Add your comment
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  • Lauren

    Can’t argue with her logic, even though I hate to admit that I Keep Up With the Kardashians.

  • slizzard

    I don’t think Gaga’s comments about weight/not eating do wonders for girls. However, I have felt personally empowered by some of her songs and statements, so that’s something.

    I do not Keep Up with the Kardashians. My problem with them is not that they are not good role models. My problem with them is that they are boring.

    • N. Chaplin

      Amen, slizzard. As media personalities, The Kardashians are pointless. They have no apparent depth or point of view and they’ll seemingly endorse anything. Even when it comes to tackling ‘issues’ such as psoriasis and light bladder leakage, (preemptively, I know these are things that do affect people and I don’t find other the suffering of others funny or inconsequential,) the depth of the discussion never seems to penetrate the surface beyond whether/how much money can be made either because of or in spite of the situation at hand. If any, their only redeeming cultural value seems to be unwittingly acting as a glaring example of what is seen as entertaining and valuable at this moment in time, inevitably drawing attention to our collective shallowness and this country’s sickening disparity of wealth and exploitation of the working poor.

  • JD

    I agree with Gloria. Same goes for Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton

  • hitwoman

    Amen, Gloria.

  • me

    The Kardashians only empower useless, fame-seeking reality show idiots who are born with silver spoons in their mouths and offer nothing to society.

    • Regina George

      So they empower basically no one.

  • Nicole

    I have a lot of respect for Ms. Steinem and wholeheartedly agree with her, but when did she start moonlighting as Captain Obvious?

    • mscisluv

      Since reporters are apparently asking her stupid questions like, “Do the Kardashians empower women?”

      • abadstroller

        miscisluv: I’m with you on this. Ask a stupid question, get a arch and obvious answer!

  • ELLE

    honestly, i disagree with all of you. the kardashians do empower women and teenagers. in the sense that they aren’t stick skinny and the fight the stereotype that girls have to live up to every single day. and honestly they aren’t idiots and don’t have any talent b/c would every single celebrity out there be able to brand and promote more than a dozen products- i don’t think so. and would every celebrity be able to handle the hate and media pressure they get–heck No. so lay off on them cuz on top of all this they bring out the importance of family and friends and each family member goes through the same things we do–and we can all relate to them-so stfu haters who are just jealous. they don’t need all this hate,their people too

    • kim

      they dont even realize ppl hate them bc they are in their own lil world..and how do they empower women? with their fake assets? by hating their own body and using surgery to improve themselves? or by using tons of make-up instead of letting their natural beauty shine thru..and about promoting dozens of products..honey get a reality check they only care about MONEY! thats why the promote so much..

    • steph

      ok, i get that they have curvy bodies and aren’t sticks. woo. but the fact that Kim is even on the entertainment map because of a sex tape she made with Ray J years ago is what automatically nullifies any “empowerment” her body acceptance implies.

  • ELLE

    i mean’t do have talent*

  • K8

    I disagree with her on the GAGA point, she’s such an affected and fake persona, I don’t see how changing yourself to the point of no return for profit is empowering to anybody.

    • SometimesElla

      My thoughts exactly.

    • fancypants

      I agree. Plus Lady Gaga is literally a slave to fashion. Her whole persona is ridiculously high heels, tacky wigs and excessive makeup. She is the embodiment of fake and I don’t see how that’s empowering.

  • Samantha

    I have to disagree. Sure the Kardashians have no describable talents and they’re catty sometimes but they’re honest. They’re also not the stick thin ladies we see so often (i.e. Gaga) and don’t want to be! Lady Gaga on the other hand is just trying to damn hard.

    • SometimesElla

      No, they aren’t stick thin, but their super plastic surgeried so what difference does it make – they’re still (physically) fake. They opted for nips and tucks and augmentations and plumps, not lipo. Still. fake.

      • SometimesElla

        Ugh, of course I mean “they’re”.

      • Ano`

        Have you ever had braces? Teeth removed? If you did then you’re fake as well. I hate how most people had teeth removed and had braces. Since it’s the norm it’s ok. Bottom line, you changed or altered yourself for functionality and beauty. Stop being a hypocrite.

      • SometimesElla

        Um…Ano? Are you out of your mind? Having your existing teeth (in your mouth) moved slightly (in your mouth) by braces is not NEARLY the same as having parts cut off and replaced with new parts. Teeth before move=real, teeth after move=still real just a few millimeters over. Nose/Boobs before surgery=real; Nose/boobs after surgery=silicone=fake. To the tiny semblance of a point that you might have – if it were just a matter of, say, her jaw had been broken and she had it re-set or something, no, I would not consider that fake. It’s still the same jaw, it’s in a slightly different place. But replacing body parts with MANUFACTURED versions is something entirely different. Your mama failed with you.

      • Samantha

        Uh Ano I had braces because I HAD to. My teeth were growing in wrong and causing pain. Definitely not the same thing.

      • Ano`

        @samantha & @SometimesElla yeah just moving them but did you have teeth removed? If you did then that’s just like someone getting nose job, they remove the excess and reshaped it into something pleasing and also helps you breath better.
        Also @samantha, did you stop with the braces when the pain went away or did you keep them on until they were perfectly straight and good looking? Bottom line, people are hypocrites. My mother didn’t fail me, she taught me to treat people with respect and not to hate on them. I think your mother failed you for taking gossip as true and hating on people you’ve never met.

      • Kat

        Have you seen Gloria Steinem recently? She was on the Colbert Report and…either she’s got the most AMAZING genes that suddenly started aging her face in reverse since the 70s or 80s….or she’s had some plastic surgery done. And I don’t just mean the eye lift she admits to. Her whole face was smooth and tight and a little bit shiny. I don’t care if she had plastic surgery – it’s just a lift, it’s not like she made her face a generic Barbie face like Lil Kim – but I found it interesting all the same.

    • jasmine

      lady gaga is empowering she is a champion for outsiders.. When my cousin was on the brink of suicide because he was bullied EVERYDAY about his sexual orientation, GAGA was his inspiration his hero, I went to her concert with him about a year ago and people were CRYING she inspires so many to be themselves no matter what ignorance they face
      “Dont ever let a soul in the WORLD tell you you can’t
      be exactly who YOU are” – lady gaga

      • Samantha

        I don’t really understand why she’s any more special than anyone else. she’s so fake and annoying.

    • Alexander

      What? Lady Gaga is a powerful woman she is not fake not at all how can you say she is fake? You don’t even know her!!!! At least she has talent She can SING and play piano she is genius in 3 years look at her She is more successful then most stars out there who have been working for 10 years or more It is ridiculous! Lady Gaga is a good role model And no one ever said she is special……

      • Amyleigh

        but you don’t know the Kardashians either…

  • Dee Jones

    I so agree with Gloria about the Kardashians and Palin aa well. Kim is no role model to anyone. I wish Gloria should`ve said something about the pimp mother Kris.



    • SometimesElla

      But then we’d be here mocking you for how big of an idiot you are. You don’t want that! ;-P

  • Soleil

    In other news: Water is wet! Clay Aiken is gay!

  • Lia

    I watch the show but buy nothing they promote. So at least I’m only part of the problem, lol.

  • Lia

    But seriously, who would ever think that they empower women? They’re entertaining (well, Khloe is) but that’s it. If Kim hadn’t made a sex tape there would be no ‘careers’ for any of them. But they were smart to turn that in to a profit. Talk about making lemonade out of a dirty dirty lemon.

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