Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe: Meet the ‘Joneses’

Here is a paper I wrote for my Television & Culture class – I’m not sure if it’s what my professor was looking for, but it makes for a good blog! (and that is, after all, what really matters lol) 

Kim, kourtney, and khloe kardashian

Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe: Meet the ‘Joneses’ of the 21st Century


The phrase ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ refers to one’s need to stay ‘on top’ of what the neighbours are doing – where they are taking their holidays, what kind of car they drive, what type of school they send their kids to – and engage in an often futile attempt to ‘keep up’ with that lifestyle, which always seems just out of reach. With reality shows invading our television Networks and our fascination (or obsession?) with the rich and famous, there are new ‘Joneses’ in town, and they go by the name “Kardashian”. And it is through watching these shows and applying the same need to ‘keep up’ that once applied only to our white-picket-fence neighbours that we find ourselves perpetually wanting more, which leads to feelings of discontentment, anxiety, and depression.

The Kardashians aren’t the only ones offering us a glimpse into their over-the-top lifestyle, there’s also Kimora, Giuliana & Bill, the cast of Jersey Shore, and the oh-so-enduring women of The Real Housewives – to name a few. And because there are so many people showcasing their extravagant lifestyles, us ‘commoners’ begin to think that lifestyle is not only normal, but that it is attainable and even deserved, so we set out on our journey to ‘get what is rightfully ours: fame and fortune. And so the shopping begins: new shoes, new clothes, new car, new house – the purchases get bigger and bigger. Then onto cosmetics: fake hair, fake nails, fake tan, fake body.

And as the bills get larger, what do we do? We work harder. This results in several possibilities. First, if parents are expected to provide these things for their children, then they have no other choice but to work harder, which means less time at home, and a weaker family unit. Second, as children become teenagers and then move into young adulthood, the price tags are now their problem, and so they have two choices: get multiple credit cards and max them out, hoping mommy and daddy will come to the rescue, or follow their parent’s example and just work really hard.

The outcome is a culture in which people are overworked and unfulfilled, never reaching the ‘goal’ because the goal is constantly moving further and further away. As the rich get richer and acquire better toys, faster cars, and bigger houses, we fall further and further behind. And the more we work to try and keep up, the more unfulfilled, anxious, and depressed we become. However, despite what we commonly believe, these feelings are not the result of “not having enough”; they are the result of sacrificing everything of substance in order to chase after ‘enough’ in a context where enough doesn’t even exist. We think if we could just save up and get that car/do those renovations/go on that holiday, then we won’t be so stressed, tired, and depressed; but, in reality, we are simply fueling the flame, because there is no ‘enough’, there is no finish line, there is no maximum.

It is not the lack of things that fuels our anxiety and depression, it is the sacrifices we make in order to acquire those things. Fulfillment doesn’t come from fulfilling our desires (though on the surface it seems like it should); fulfillment comes from accepting what we have and appreciating it. Having Louboutins on your feet won’t make you happy – at least not in any lasting way – but achieving a sense of gratefulness and contentment with what you have will. We’ve lost our sense of contentment to our desire to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, and this is nothing unique to our generation, but what is new is that the modern Joneses are no longer our clean-cut neighbours in their white capris and argyle sweaters; the Joneses are Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney, and a game that could never be won in the first place has now become that much harder.    

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Twitter: @lauren_b_sag
and I’m Instagram-ing it up HERE

A Response to the Critics…

Proverbs 26:4-5: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.”*

I chose the latter…

Stop Fitspiration: My Response to the Criticism


The criticism I’ve received from Libero Network’s #StopFitspiration Movement has not been easy for me to digest. For months I have sat on all of the comments, unsure what to do, what to make of them, or whether or not to respond. But I’ve found my voice now, and this is what I have to say:

(note: this is an excerpt, the full version of this post can be read HERE)

Ever since we began our #StopFitspiration movement, we’ve received a lot of criticism in the form of emails, Tumblr posts, pins, and comments. Clearly some clarification is needed; so after much thought and consulting with people whose opinions I value and respect, I’ve decided the time has come to offer a response to the criticism. Please take note that any negative comments that have been made directly on our website that are pro-fitspiration have not been (and will never be) approved, and therefore will not appear anywhere publicly; this is not because we would rather keep other’s negative opinions about us ‘under the rug’, but rather because many of these comments are triggering and promote values and a lifestyle that we here at Libero Network are working to speak out against. However, for the purposes of this post, we have copied a few and have posted them either in full (in cases where we have saved copies) or paraphrased so we can respond to each one individually, thus the trigger warning below. It is my intention with this post to not disrespect others, but to acknowledge their concern/criticism and respond to it in a way that supports our Mission & Values as an organization. I ask that you offer the same grace while reading this post as we offer you when reading your comments.

Sincerely, Lauren Bersaglio
Founding President & Editor

**Trigger warning: some of the comments posted below may be triggering for those who are in recovery from compulsive exercise and/or eating disorders.**

For those who have limited attention spans, I filmed a 5min video summing things up, you can watch it here: http://youtu.be/2ttBplc0WLM (or by scrolling to the bottom of this page)

***

Fitspiration: Images or messages similar to ‘Thinspiration’ but focused on exercise. Rather than promoting a commitment to exercise for the sake of one’s health, Fitspirational messages equate exercise with ‘perfecting’ one’s body – contributing to negative body image and compulsive exercising behaviours. -Lauren Bersaglio

I won’t go into details defining fitspiration in this post, but if you’d like to know more, I suggest reading my previous article What is Fitspiration, Anyways?

Critic #1

The first criticism was aimed directly at me by someone I know personally(albeit, not that well). It appeared the morning after I published my Fitspiration post (yes, that quickly) in the form of a comment on my Facebook profile. I do not have a copy of what was said, as I didn’t even read it in full myself (it was long-winded, ill-informed, and incredibly upsetting); let’s just say I am not the best at accepting criticism without taking it personally… This individual began his comment by saying (paraphrased): “This is the most ridiculous thing I have read in a long time” he then went on to talk about the obesity rates and lack of health amongst the general public in our society and how we all could stand to lose a few pounds and then some filler that I skimmed over. The comment ended with:And did you really say that having a muffin top is not a bad thing?”

My Response: Yes, I did say that.

Critic #5

(click image for better visibility)

My Response: “How is inspiring a person to eat well and exercise more often a bad thing?” Well…when it comes to strict diets (that often – in this context – are a gateway to Orthorexia) and exercising beyond what is recommended (which ‘more often’ typically is), well, that’s when it is a bad thing.

It is these very messages- eat less, eat ‘better’, exercise more – that are part of the sociological factors that contribute to the development of an eating disorder.

What I find most disturbing about this comment is the second last sentence: “being healthy and strong is beautiful and that you should push yourself harder to get there”. First of all, being strong has nothing to do with beauty. Being a person of integrity is beautiful, being a person who fosters genuine love, is beautiful. Being YOU, is beautiful. Being strong has nothing to do with beauty (unless you are talking about the kind of strength that is not physical). And being strong does not mean you are ‘healthy’. Health is determined by balance: physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. There are many a professional athlete who would put my cardiovascular system to shame, but the compromises they make to achieve that level of physical health (and sometimes they don’t even have balanced physical health!) result in a lifestyle that is far less healthy than I desire.

And “Pushing yourself harder to get there”: We are all for pushing yourself when it matters – persevering in recovery, sticking to your meal plans, enduring through a relapse – but pushing yourself harder as a means to achieve a physical end is not the form of ‘pushing’ that promotes healthy living. Rather, I only took part in this form of ‘pushing’ when I was struggling with Compulsive Exercise and anorexia athletica (yes, I do in fact have personal experience with all of these issues being discussed).

Conclusion

I realize that you cannot please everyone. And when you are going up against messages that are becoming widely accepted by our society, you often please even less. But I (along with the rest of us at Libero Network) continue to stand firmly behind our beliefs – and though we realize that the criticism will most likely keep coming, though we will continue to consider the views of others and will keep an open mind, we will not change our stance in a way that will contradict our Mission & Values as an organization.

In the words of the queen of handling criticism herself, Christina Aguilera:

“They can say all they want to say…but I’m going to carry on, I’m going to keep on singing my song.”

And we here at Libero Network will keep on singing OUR song, too.

As a good friend said to me:

It breaks down to this…

1. You have the Truth and a message to share
2. They do not like the truth and will fight it
3. Speak the Truth (scratch that) SHOUT THE TRUTH

Read original article with my full responses to the criticism HERE


Here’s the short 5min video I did summing things up…


*The Bible tends to use harsher titles than I would – and I in no way consider those who have criticized this movement ‘Fools’. Not most of them, anyways…