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Like father not daughter: the misogyny behind outrage of Kim Kardashian’s law degree pursuit

In a recent interview with Vogue, Kim Kardashian West made a statement that she is interested in studying law and taking classes to prepare for the bar exam in the near future. This naturally caused an uproar on social media amongst her fans and followers. Many commenters questioned her intentions and criticized her success, saying that she wouldn’t be capable of being a lawyer or have the capability to pass the bar exam because her fame is mostly credited to a 2003 adult film and her 12 years on the Kardashian family reality show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

On the surface, these criticisms seem valid because as consumers we often assume that entertainers do not have the ability, either mentally or physically, to hold a so-called “normal” everyday job, especially one as powerful and demanding as an attorney. However, on a deeper level, the traces of misogyny are obvious in these judgments of Kardashian West. The American public refuses to see women in high power positions, and at this point in time, only one-third of lawyers in America are women, which only furthers the idea that this is not an occupation fit for the female gender.

Additionally, given Kardashian West’s presentation as a woman who enjoys fashion, makeup, motherhood and other hobbies and occupations that are traditionally seen as feminine and thus would make her seem less stereotypically suited to hold this kind of job. Additionally, regardless of multiple successful businesses and multimillion-dollar net worth, Kardashian West is still dubbed by the media and American society as incompetent because of her ties with reality TV, regardless of the fact that her father, Robert Kardashian, is well known as one of the most successful lawyers in American history for his work on O.J. Simpson’s 1995 case.

These comments do not just affect Kim Kardashian, her family or even celebrities as a whole, but rather it attacks every young woman who would like to pursue a career in law. As a third-year female law student, I have had my fair share of classes dominated by men, I have fervently watched “Legally Blonde” and time after time told myself that there is no harm in being a feminine, powerful woman and future lawyer. However, when news such as that of Kardashian West’s pursuit of a legal degree comes to light and brings with it such negative comments about her ability to be a functional attorney due to nothing other than preconceived notions of what a woman can and cannot do, I am faced with the unnerving reality that as women, and especially as female law students, we have to support our sisters in their times of determination and advocate for them to educate and further their careers and themselves.

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