Work in America’s Klan
This chapter uses the success of the Kardashian family to examine the present condition of women in the United States. It defines the work of that family as the repeated creation of themselves as a family: a family with a particular investment in their physicality, their ornamentation, and their reproduction as a family. On display in their transmedia empire is an endless maintenance of the body, the steady chiseling and re-crafting of eyelashes, waists, necklines, and toenails. When the Kardashians are having blush applied, when they’re rubbing in lotion, when they are deciding which tennis shoes to wear to the gym, they are working. But this work is not merely a tool of their own post-feminist reclamation of their objectification. These tasks are the requisite practices for participation in the family corporation. The definition of their family is the definition of their bodies, and the relations between them are bound in a continuous reproduction of their bodies through the claims of kinship affinity that relate them.
Keywords: Kardashian, Kanye West, Melissa Click, kinship, work, mediation, reality television, cosmetics, primal horde, family values