One of Kim’s first jobs was working for Paris Hilton, and that is not a job that just anyone can receive, it requires a certain level of status and connections.
Why the rich should stop telling people to work harder.
By Ash Sabinin, Contributor
If you’ve been on the internet recently, you’ve probably heard about the current backlash against Kim Kardashian. An excerpt from an interview with Variety is circulating where Kim says “I have the best advice for women in business. Get your f**king ass up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days”. Now, this article is not written to slander Kim Kardashian, as is sadly often the case with women in the media. They are typically afforded less forgiveness and are more harshly punished for social mistakes or failures, and I do not want to contribute to that. This is, however, to point out how insensitive and extremely privileged her statement was, and exactly why it’s not her place to tell women that they just need to work harder.
Kim Kardashian has benefited from many privileges, most importantly in this case, she was raised in a wealthy family. Having money increases and diversifies the types of opportunities one has. There are so many different ways that being financially secure and socially connected contributed to the ability that the Kardashian family had to become the social phenomenon they are today. One of Kim’s first jobs was working for Paris Hilton, and that is not a job that just anyone can receive, it requires a certain level of status and connections. This opportunity only presents itself to certain people and that’s what is so frustrating about when those people turn around and blame others for not working hard enough. No matter how hard some people work, they’ll never be given the same opportunities as other people, due to external forces, like poverty, racism, or ableism.
In the same interview, she follows up her ‘advice’ by saying “hey, we made it. I don’t know what to tell you.” admitting that she doesn’t recognize how much her privilege affected the opportunities she had in life. She doesn’t have any other tips to give us because in her mind all it takes is hard work. And I do recognize that she has put a lot of work into building her brand and business, but she doesn’t acknowledge that her hard work was supported by a privileged background that not everyone has.
She claims people don’t want to work, but yet that’s all we ever seem to do. Kim seems to think that people simply just do not want to do work, for whatever reason and I don’t believe that to be true. People like having a sense of purpose and that often comes from working. And in a time where many people feel desperate for extra cash, every hobby becomes a potential side business, any talent becomes another potential avenue for employment. Everything we do for fun or as creative outlets is now viewed as an opportunity to make more money, which we can see in platforms like Fiverr or the rise of online businesses.
When my parents were in college, that’s all they were doing. In the summer they would pick up a summer gig to tide them over but in the school year, it was about focusing on learning. Now, most students work at least one job alongside schooling, I work three part-time jobs alongside full-time classes. Having multiple jobs now is a common occurrence and yet people like Kim like to say that it’s people’s work ethics that are holding them back.
Although she does have a point, people don’t want to work, yet we still do, we have bills to pay. This supposed reluctance to work can be traced back to an overall feeling of burnout. Many of us feel as if our work barely matters and we only do it to be able to afford to live a decent life. We would love to work a job that emotionally fulfills us and leaves us feeling proud of what we’ve accomplished but for many of us that’s not an option, many of us just need to get the closest job that pays the best and doesn’t destroy our mental health. So again, this idea that people are simply choosing to not work and then be miserable about their situation is laughable at best and tragic at worst, because some people really do think that’s how it works.
Again, this is not to attack Kim, as the issue is larger than just her. The idea that all someone needs to do is work hard to achieve their dreams is not only unrealistic but places the blame on those who don’t achieve what society dictates of them. We’re still in a place in society where some factors will limit or expand one’s employment and life opportunities and to disregard that is a gross injustice to all those suffering from its effects.