Kim Kardashian, whether you hate her, you love her, or you love to hate-watch her, certainly gets a lot of attention. However, much of it is negative, with detractors criticizing her looks, her media overexposure, and her tendency to profit off a celebrity status that she earned through a sex tape and a reality show empire. But is Kim really the worst? Below are 10 things Kim has done that have made a positive impact in the world…
10. She has promoted awareness of the Armenian genocide
Kim Kardashian has used the media to promote many things: beauty products, clothes, vitamins, and even prescription drugs, a viral marketing attempt that earned her a warning from the FDA. However, in addition to the social media campaigns that have lined her pockets, Kim has used the media to advocate for something more surprising: recognition for the 1915 Armenian genocide. The United States, among other countries, does not recognize the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians after their expulsion from Turkey as a genocide, something the reality show star, who is of Armenian descent, has sought to change.
In addition to posts on social media, Kim unsuccessfully campaigned for President Obama to refer to these deaths as “genocide,” saying that her efforts to bring attention to the issue stems from the fact that, “We have this spotlight to bring attention to it, so why would we just sit back.” In 2015, the 100 year anniversary of the genocide, Kim, Kanye, North, and Khloe all traveled to Armenia, a trip that brought more attention to the cause, as it was featured on an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians and included a visit to Armenia’s Genocide Memorial in Yerevan.
Additionally, the star allowed her words to be used in a 2016 full-page ad in the New York Times, slamming the Wall Street Journal’s decision to accept ads from those who deny the Armenian genocide as, “totally morally irresponsible.” Kim’s attempts to bring attention to a largely forgotten chapter of history, and the deaths of hundreds of thousands that occurred, show that she has a conscience and that she can use her command of social (and offline) media for important causes, in addition to highlighting the products she hawks.
9. Her honesty reduced the stigma around fertility challenges
Kim Kardashian has in many ways been a poster child for TMI, publically disclosing, among other things, her preferred sexual positions and her unfortunate tendency to pee all over her Spanx. However, in at least one case, Kim’s willingness to open her life up to the public gaze has likely done some good: her openness about her fertility challenges.
In the United States, one in eight couples will experience struggles with infertility. Many suffer in silence because of the stigma surrounding the inability to have children; a recent survey of infertile couples showed that a majority hid their challenges from their friends and family. Silence around infertility has consequences: feelings of isolation and depression for affected couples, a lack of advocacy and funding for fertility-focused research and treatments, and a general lack of awareness of how common struggles with infertility are.
Kim Kardashian has done her part to lift the veil around infertility, showcasing her struggles to get pregnant with her second child on Keeping up with the Kardashians and in media interviews. In discussing her decision to be transparent about the travails of infertility, Kim said, “I didn’t know that I was going to be so open…But meeting people at my fertility doctor’s office who are going through the same things I’m going through, I thought, ‘Why not share my story?” In this one instance, we’re glad Kim decided to share.
8. She regularly visits patients at a children’s hospital
While Kim has previously commanded hefty appearance fees for showing up at clubs and reportedly once earned more than £400,000 for a couple hours of being a date to a Saudi Prince, one place where she’s repeatedly shown up for free shows that the reality star isn’t just out to line her wallet. Over the years, Kim Kardashian has been a frequent visitor to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA), where she hangs out with sick kids.
Kim started visiting CHLA in 2008, after a friend’s child got sick. Since then, she has paid numerous visits to patients there, sometimes bringing her sisters or husband Kanye with her. She’ll drop off presents, hang out to paint nails or capture a selfie with a patient. Some kids have requested that she post pictures with them to her Instragram account (and her tens of millions of followers), so they can get a taste of the celebrity life. In 2013, Kim and sister Kendall even showed up on Christmas Eve to spread some holiday cheer to patients and staff who had to be at the facility over Christmas.
One CHLA executive says that Kim’s involvement has buoyed families and staff, noting, “Her positive spirit and genuine concern for their situations has lifted up many families during unimaginable times.” Kim notes that the positive vibes go both ways, saying in a statement, “My family and I always love to come here [to CHLA], and throughout the year try to pop in and put a smile on the kids’ faces, or more importantly, the families that are struggling so hard to still work and take care of them and not wanting to leave their children by themselves…We love being a part of this community and helping out.”
7. She has made interracial relationships more acceptable
The United States Supreme Court ruled in 1967’s Loving v. Virginia that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional. But while this ruling opened the door for the legality of interracial unions, social norms have been slower to adjust. By 2014, a survey showed a record-high 37% of Americans felt that interracial marriages were a good thing for society, though 9% still felt that this trend was negative for society.
Some research suggests that media representation of mixed-race relationships helps to promote more accepting attitudes towards such unions. And whatever you think about Kim Kardashian, her marriage to Kanye West has certainly provided a very salient example of an interracial relationship across numerous media platforms. When Kim and Kanye graced the cover of the April 2014 issue of Vogue, Kim was quick to point out that the issue made history, saying, “There are a lot of firsts. Kanye’s the first rapper to be on. I’m the first reality person to be on, we’re the first interracial couple.” So, the next time you flinch at another story about “Kimye,” take some solace in the fact that the duo’s overexposure may be helping to promote more tolerance.
6. She’s encouraged women to embrace their curves
Sure, Kim Kardashian’s famously ample booty “broke the internet” when she showed it off in a 2014 issue of Paper Magazine. An alternate version of the cover showed her with a champagne glass balanced on her behind, a feat that caused Kim to take a swipe at her detractors, tweeting, “And they say I didn’t have a talent…” Whether or not her butt-related balancing feat qualifies as a talent is debatable, but Kim’s curves have had an impact well beyond stemware storage. In an essay, Kim noted that she hoped that her body-positive attitude and willingness to proudly bare it all, “can encourage the same empowerment for women and girls all over the world.”
At least one unlikely celeb is thanking Kim for making curves more acceptable. Helen Mirren celebrated Kim’s “shameless and proud” attitude. While Mirren said she was “not into the Kardashians, it’s a phenomenon I just don’t find interesting,” she added, “It’s wonderful that you’re allowed to have a butt nowadays! Thanks to Madame Kardashian and before her, J.Lo. We’re also allowed to have thighs now, which is great too. It’s very positive.” Heidi Klum echoed those sentiments, crediting Kim for having “changed the look in the fashion industry.” Sounds like curvy women everywhere, and those that enjoy seeing curvy women, owe Kim and her shapely figure a debt of gratitude.
5. She upped the pool of potential bone marrow donors
When Kim heard about Adam Krief, a friend-of-a-friend who was seeking a bone marrow match to combat myelofibrosis, a rare form of blood cancer, she quickly took to Facebook and Twitter encouraging fans to join the registry to see if they might be a match for the 31-year old father of three. Overnight, the organization coordinating the donor registration drive saw requests for donor kits (to take a cheek swab) soar to 300 times their usual levels, with more than 5,000 kits ordered in the 24 hours after Kim’s social media appeal. Given that Kim’s fans tend to be younger, and younger people are more likely to have mixed ethnic backgrounds than older people, there was hope that in addition to maybe containing a match for Adam, these new donors might match some mixed-race patients who are desperately waiting for a donor, but who are harder to match because of their relatively unusual genetic profiles.
Krief did eventually find a bone marrow match, but sadly, died shortly after his transplant. However, the impact of efforts he spurred live on; the donor drives that Kim helped promote have resulted in 7 matches as of March 2017.
4. Kim asked for donations to a children’s hospital instead of creating a baby registry for North
When Kim’s sister Kourtney created her baby registry in 2012, some were surprised at the mundane nature of her requests. No fur-lined slippers were to be found, instead just the standard repertoire of diaper pails and teething rings. When Kim gave birth to her daughter, North West, in 2013, she and Kanye took their registry to another level of pared-down practicality. Rather than requesting gifts, the parents-to-be asked friends, family, and fans to instead make gifts to the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, which is located near where Kanye grew up. The couple publicized their request after several fake registries surfaced online.
The thankful hospital announced that any gifts received in honor of Kimye’s bundle of joy would be directed to the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Fund. Forgoing a registry didn’t mean that Kim skipped a shower. Friends and family celebrated the impending arrival with a swanky garden brunch, with attendees wearing floral crowns. Frankly, we think that asking for charitable donations instead of “stuff” is one trend Kim is linked to that deserves a crown!
3. She and Kanye gave 1,000 pairs of shoes to charity
Like many new moms, Kim Kardashian was flipping through the channels during some breastfeeding in the wee hours of the night. However, when Kim came across a show called Dish Nation, which was profiling the efforts of a teen girl to collect 2,000 pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls, a charitable organization that had helped the girl’s family after Hurricane Katrina, she was able to support the efforts in a way most viewers were not. Kim promptly committed to donating 1,000 pairs of shoes, on top of the 1,000 pairs the girl, Amelia Flores, had already collected. The 17-year old was surprised and thrilled to wake up to the news of the shoe donation and said she was “so grateful for the overwhelming response.”
A few weeks later, the shoes arrive at Soles4Souls, where organization President and CEO Buddy Teaster noted, “The quantity and quality of the Adidas and Kardashian Kollection donation from Kanye and Kim Kardashian West is really extraordinary… These shoes are going to make a real difference and we’re grateful for the awareness that came from Kim’s post and the commitment both of them have shown to helping men, women and children in need.”
2. She’s nice to the staff
Yes, everyone should be kind to their employees, but as many tabloid articles and tell-all books can attest, celebs are often terrible bosses. When the Kardashian family’s nanny and ex-housekeeper spilled the beans, some members of the famous family definitely fit that mold. The ex-nanny portrayed Kris Jenner as a demanding control freak, who once swore at her for forgetting to purchase broccoli, but noted that Kim was always “sweet and friendly.”
The ex-housekeeper blasted Kourtney as “by far the most rude and unappreciative member of the family, and noted Scott Disick was “constantly drunk.” But other than mentioning that Kim left a trail of makeup and discarded clothes in her wake, the housekeeper had kind words about Kim, whom she described as “humble and down to earth.” The housekeeper noted that she would often chat with the staff and was generous, surprising a staff member with the gift of a computer at Christmas. While it does sound like some members of her family set the bar awfully low, Kim wins points for her relatively kind behavior towards others, even when the cameras were off.
1. Her enthusiasm for spray tanning could save lives
In the US, skin cancer is on the rise, with some experts blaming tanning beds for increasing rates of melanoma. What does this have to do with Kim Kardashian? Well, Kim generally sports an even bronze glow, but she’s been pretty honest about the fact that her “Tanorexic” complexion often comes from a bottle. At one point, she posted naked pictures of herself during a midnight spray tanning session. Her family has even lent its name to a line of spray tan products.
What’s great about celebrating fake bake? Anything that gets people excited about tanning in a way that doesn’t involve sun exposure, or especially tanning beds, has the potential to help reduce dangerous behaviors that contribute to skin cancer. This is particularly true of Kim’s young, female fan base, whose skin has a lifetime ahead of it. The more Kim vocally touts the glow (and abs?) she gets from her spray tan, and the more young women who get their tans from a bottle instead of a tanning booth, and the fewer cases of dangerous melanoma we’re likely to see.