What is it like to be Kim Kardashian? What is it like to live her life, and know her mind, and walk a mile in her rhinestone-studded stilettos?
You probably have not asked such questions, partly because it would be extremely uncomfortable to walk any more than a few feet in Kim Kardashian's shoes, but also because Kim herself does not seem to be terribly interested in engendering empathy. There are generally two types of Young Female Celebrity: the ones whose personas are based on their personalities—the ones who, in interviews, drop f-bombs and mention The Method and talk about Hollywood's treatment of women—and the ones who attempt to transcend their own pesky personhoods in the name of Fame itself. It's not a sharp divide—they are all, on some level, objectified, and they are all, on some level, on Twitter. But it comes down to a difference between those celebrities who primarily want to be heard, and those who primarily want to be seen.
Kim Kardashian, she of the airbrushed cheeks and the synthetic lashes and the lips glossed in paradoxical shades of Nude, falls squarely into the "wants to be seen" category. She has a doll-like quality, like an American Girl who grew up to become a mannequin. She is plasticine. Her favorite activity seems to be posing. As a self-conjurer—as a Whitmanesque singer of herself—Kim is prolific. There are the reality TV shows, certainly, and the sex tape, but there are also the US Weekly spreads and the red carpet appearances and the endless stream of mirror selfies. There are, inevitably, the meta-selfies. Kim gives an age newly obsessed with self-documentation a perfectly vacant-stared mascot. Her preferred medium, the TV shows and the sex tape notwithstanding, is the photograph. And photos are extremely good at making their subjects seen and not heard.