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Kim Kardashian & Kanye West: What We’re All Getting Wrong About Their Situation

If you’re someone who has used the internet, watched TV, turned on the radio, made small talk with a hairdresser or simply wandered into a corner shop in the last decade and a half, then you know at least one thing about Kim Kardashian and Ye, formally known as Kanye West

Whatever the news (a romantic engagement! A lavish wedding! A feud with another celebrity! A holiday! A beautiful outfit! A very confusing outfit! A baby! A new product line! An album! Another new product line! A presidential bid! A divorce!) you’ll have been hard-pressed to avoid at least some of it. 

I personally don’t follow any Kardashian or Jenner and haven’t watched their shows (not a boast, I devour plenty of other reality TV) and yet still I manage to see their faces each and every single day on social media. I know their voices by ear, and could probably pick their children out of a line-up as easily as I could the children of my friends or cousins. 

Ye and Kim Kardashian are currently separated, with divorce proceedings underway. In the last week or so, Ye has posted and then deleted several derisive and inflammatory memes about her current partner Pete Davidson (plus other celebrities both directly or indirectly connected to the situation), several images allegedly showing private text conversations between himself and Kardashian and himself and Davidson, pleas for a family reunion, calls for fans to harass Davidson in public followed by calls for fans not to “do anything physical” to him, as West would “handle the situation.” He continues to refer to Kim Kardashian as his wife. 

For us at home, all of the previous access we’ve had to these figures on television or in interviews can give us an unearned sense of insight into these new developments. We feel that we know the figures involved and we talk confidently about motives, forgetting for a moment that it’s all entirely speculative. 

Kim Kardashian, as wildly rich and seemingly untouchable as she is, is a real person on the receiving end of a campaign of harassment, with four real children, one of whom is old enough to use the internet, and very possibly read all of the jeering coverage for herself.

For fans or defenders of Ye, it might be tempting to see at least some of his current actions (such as allegedly sending a truck full of red roses to Kim’s house, posting pictures of them with their children with captions vowing to reunite his family and seeking out her phone number from third parties) as simply misguided romantic gestures or internet love notes that just didn’t quite land.

But they aren’t. They are frightening and they are unacceptable. In the last few days, domestic abuse charities have been posting information about post-separation abuse [PSA]– what it is, how to identify it and what to do if it’s happening to you. 

PSA can include trying to alienate an ex-partner, shifting or controlling the narrative by spreading degrading rumours, misusing court proceedings or litigation to their advantage and bombarding an ex-partner with unwanted contact. You don’t have to like Kim or any of the Kardashian clan to feel horrified that this is happening to her, just as you can be a lifelong fan of Kanye West’s while still identifying this behaviour as deeply concerning and unacceptable. 

I wish it was redundant to say, but women aren’t only victims when they have an unblemished history, and men aren’t only capable of being harassers so long as they aren’t brilliant and beloved artists.

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