I don’t make a secret of my love for the Kardashians. I’ve always thought that these women are geniuses if they managed to make their comparatively tame and boring lives the subjects of such intense interest and focus, Kim’s frequent nudity notwithstanding. I also think they’re all pretty innovative and groundbreaking businesswomen, as they’ve created an entire empire based on their looks and how to get them. Whether or not this is healthy for them or us is sort of irrelevant and dependent on the person. I, for one, have always found their message, if not necessarily inspiring, definitely enlightening.
The ways they approach beauty, insecurity, body image and self-love are undeniably influential. I cite Kylie’s lip plumping, Kendall’s subsequent assertion that “no one has to do anything [surgery-wise]…everyone is beautiful,” Khloe lasering her cellulite, Kim’s countless nude seshes, and Kourtney’s opinion that she feels best when she’s pregnant as examples of the myriad ways women relate to their bodies and perceive their beauty. They’ve had a positive influence on my life, and I’m not ashamed of that (but unfortunately I did feel the need to explain my love in this little intro, which shows that loving the Kardashians is perceived as something foolish). They’re a lot more than their public personas, a lot more than their apparent fame-seeking tendencies. They’re all that and more. Anyway—
I love Kim. She’s often ridiculous, but I feel for the girl. She’s a self-made woman who made her fame on her looks and with that scrutiny comes intense pressure that she obviously puts on herself. But she rises to the occasion time and time again, in big ways. Enter SELFISH, the book of selfies! The announcement of the book both made me laugh and gave me this intense desire to read it. So I did. And here’s what I thought, in a neat little list.
She takes this stuff seriously—but not too seriously. I expected a lot of photos of just Kim in various outfits, in varying states of dress and with her signature full face of makeup, and while the book is 70% exactly that, it also feels and reads like a personal scrapbook. Her family and friends are featured heavily, and the onslaught of gorgeous selfies is punctuated with thoughtful and lighthearted reminiscences on the memories she has made.
She’s funny and sweet. There are a lot of “lol”s in the commentary and she’s smiling in so many of the pictures! Yes! The woman who has said she doesn’t smile because it gives her wrinkles and who shot a video on “how to take a selfie” praising the duckface is smiling, laughing, pulling faces, rolling her eyes and showing a side of herself that only fans see. This is Real Kim, the Kim you won’t get from red carpet shots and scathing articles about her.
The book transcends narcissism. Look—Kim is a narcissist. You just have to accept that about her and move on. But this book, literally named “Selfish,” is more than an expression of narcissism. Kim is a woman who truly loves to let her fans and everyone in the world into her life. She thrives on it. It makes her happy, and it’s made her into one of the most recognizable and most photographed celebrities in the world. Honestly, Selfish transcends narcissism and becomes this window into her life that she likes letting us look into.
It’s honestly sort of a natural career move for someone like Kim. We should all have seen this book coming, and should not have been surprised. A book of selfies is a natural career move and next step for the woman who pioneered the selfie movement.
She’s constantly in a dialogue with her fans and critics. She refers to one risqué selfie as “infamous” and cites the moment she was taking a photo with the elephant and says the photo was taken “right before it scared her,” showing that she knows what her fans see and say about her, and she’s commenting on her public image.
It ends with her fairy-tale wedding. Also not surprising that Kim, ever the romantic, ends her “story” with a happily ever after.
There’s an entire nude section, complete with black pages. Kim’s entirely nude selfies are also included, like the ones she sends to Kanye and the ones that were hacked. She said she didn’t intend to include the naked ones, but when her photos were hacked, she decided to put them into her book. That’s controlling the narrative.
She’s self-deprecating. At one point she writes, “Any excuse, right?” referring to her frequent selfie-taking. She knows she takes too many pictures, but she places so much importance on them because she knows how powerful they are for her fame. She’s playful and self-aware.
It’s a gorgeous coffee-table object, but it should lie flat. So many of the photos are cut off right in the middle because of the binding, making this horrendous seam that cuts off her face. No! Not the face! It’s also a nice small trim size, giving off this personal feel and making it very easy to hold and flip through. Very sleek and monochrome, the book is how I imagine Apple would print a book of photographs.
There will probably be a “sequel.” I’m throwing my hat in the ring for “Selfless.”