I don’t really like talking about the Kardashian’s. I don’t like that I know more about the intricacies of their lives and relationships than some of the people closest to me. I don’t like that they parade their wealth on social media. I don’t like their constant need to post pictures of their perfect bodies on Instagram supporting things like ‘flat tummy tea’. I don’t like that I enjoy Keeping up with the Kardashians. (I do respect both Kim and Kris for making a billion dollar industry off of a sex tape!)
Recently however, I have been unashamedly interested in the latest gossip and rumour mill surrounding the Kardashians. If you don’t know, Kylie Jenner has a best friend called Jordyn Woods (best friend and almost employee.) Khloe Kardashian has a baby daddy called Tristan Thompson (who previously cheated on her during her pregnancy.) The two significant others have been accused of partying together, kissing and even having an affair.
The details of this is not what I want to talk about. Although the incessant speculation and scandal has kept me entertained, I don’t really care about anyone involved enough to worry about who kissed who. What I do care about is how this story has unravelled in the press. How a 20 year old woman has been personified as the eye of the storm. An act that requires two people has become a solo crucifixion.
All too often, in films, reality television and our visual culture generally, this is how an adulterous act will play out. The ‘other woman’ becomes the strumpet, the whore, the home wrecker and the man is the innocent party. The all too famous idiom of ‘boys will be boys’ works as a coat of armour and releases the guilty male of any guilt at all. This isn’t to say that the ‘other woman’ isn’t also at fault. Of course she too had a part to play in this tango and shouldn’t be excused either. It’s easy however, to enter the realm of victim shaming.
If Jordyn Woods is telling the truth about what happened that night, then she was a victim of her environment. Her actions put her in that position sure, but it was the Basketball playing, known adulterer that invited her and her friends back to his home and kissed her goodbye at the door. For Khloe Kardashian to support Tristan, in the defence that he will always be her baby’s Daddy, is victim blaming. It excuses the man that owes her everything, the man with the responsibilities to her and the same baby that she uses to defend him.
In a post #MeToo world I would argue that this situation should have played out a little differently in order to spear head our new way of thinking. Both people in this situation are guilty of betraying trust and acting inappropriately. Therefore, Khloe Kardashian may have been better to present them with the same damnation. Of course she’s right, Tristan will always be her baby’s Daddy, but in my eyes, that at least makes his consequences equal to that of Jordyn, who at the moment is the Villain. She is having to defend herself publicly, she is getting targeted on twitter and she is taking the blame for both of their mistakes.
The fault isn’t that Khloe has forgiven Tristan, chosen to love him and retain a relationship with him. The fault on her part is that she has publicly chosen to defend him and allow a young woman to take the full force of the backlash. As the fight for equality is ripe, this isn’t about the sisterhood and Khloe running to Jordyn and saying ‘it’s ok babe I know what he’s like and it wasn’t your fault’, it’s just about an equal share of the blame.
I went to a sex museum in Amsterdam where a retired prostitute speaks to you on a head set throughout the tour. The most important thing that I took away from that experience was something she said: ‘Men are so stupid, they think with their dicks’.
I don’t hate men, but I hate that their phallus is used as an excuse for poor behaviour. And no, not all men, but I think that we can agree it’s been a common motif. I hope that this is changing. I hope that this particular situation is an anomaly. I hope that men will be held accountable for where they put their dicks, with the same vigour as the women who receive them. I hope that putting your hands up after wrong doing will become more fashionable than shrugging your shoulders and getting off lightly.
I don’t defend Jordyn Wood’s actions, but I respect her ability to admit, to question the treatment she has received and to take responsibility for her own blame, but refuse to hold on to Tristan’s share.