Let’s Stop Shaming Khloé—and All Women—for Spending Money
TBH, it's not a great look
Turns out Biggie knew what he was talking about when he wrote “Mo Money Mo Problems.”
KarJenner family member Khloé Kardashian came under fire over the weekend for her spending habits after sharing an Instagram video of daughter True Thompson playing in a tiny pink Bentley (not to be mistaken for a *real* Bentley FYI). The video is seriously adorbs and baby True is *truly* the cutest.
But, what Khlo Money obviously saw as a sweet AF mother/daughter moment, some on social media took as just another example of the Kardashians’ excessive spending. One Insta user in particular stood out with their criticism, commenting, “Great, another Kardashian in a Bentley. You guys are so oblivious to how your excessive spending looks to the outside world. I really loved your family’s story and now just don’t care to watch as you spend all this money on worthless materialism. It’s so sad.”
First of all, we’re confused. Yes, Khloé does spend her money on material things… but show us someone who doesn’t?
Khloé herself responded to the criticism with a kind but firm comment, refuting the idea that all the family does is “spend money on worthless materialism.” And while our favourite Kardashian seems to have laid the issue to rest, we’re still seriously irked. Because this kind of comment isn’t just about her spending. Inherent in the criticism against Khloé is the long-held idea that what women spend their money on—and by extension care about—is frivolous. And that’s a serious issue.
It’s controlling AF
First of all, critiquing a woman on her spending habits is not a cute look. In effect, when that commenter told Khloé that she shouldn’t be spending money on fun toys for her daughter, they essentially told her that they think her value judgement is wrong. And FYI, that’s *super* controlling, not to mention infantilizing; it perpetuates the idea that Khloé—and other women who are criticized—don’t know what’s good for them.
And, sorry internet troll, but no one asked your opinion? It’s honestly baffling how entitled people feel they are to commenting on other people’s lives and what they choose to do with them.
The KarJenner women (and to a lesser extent, the men) have spent years building their respective empires, launching skin care brands, controversial shapewear lines, lip kit lines—and becoming billionaires in the process. So, when it comes to making money and then deciding how to spend it, we’re pretty sure they’re good, thanks.
It’s kind of hypocritical—and sexist
We don’t think we’re being hyperbolic when we say that you’d be hard pressed to find a man receive the same criticism as Khloé. (FWIW, rapper Future received flack for buying his 5-year-old son a birthday Rolex—but, that was a Rolex; this is a toy car.) The KarJenners’ kind-of-ex-brother-in-law Scott Disick has an Instagram page that, up until very recently, was one big money-blowing thirst trap. Yet, he’s deemed “the lord,” while she’s called “materialistic.”
And no, the lack of criticism isn’t because men don’t make bougie or over-the-top purchases. Have we forgotten the fact that Drake essentially has a panic room filled with Birkin bags for his future wife?
Shaming women for their spending habits is a real and well-known issue. For some reason, people hate when and how women spend money—regardless of what they’re even buying. Refinery29 has tried to tackle the taboo of women and money with their Money Diaries series, which features young women who share their salary and details of their finances for a week, outlining everything from online shopping to takeout and exercise classes. It’s a fun series, but one that continuously receives serious backlash. So much so, that The New Yorker wrote a piece looking at why we feel so comfortable judging people’s spending habits.
This over-critiquing of women’s spending is something millennial money expert Jessica Moorhouse sees quite frequently, and traces back to centuries of—what else—the patriarchy.
“I think it comes from centuries of women not having any financial independence, leaving us with an unconscious bias we as a society haven’t fully unpacked or acknowledged yet,” Moorhouse tells FLARE.
And it extends well beyond Hollywood celebrities. As Sady Doyle points out in a February 2018 essay for HuffPost, “When Hillary Clinton gets a $600 haircut, she’s an out-of-touch narcissist. But Donald Trump can literally coat his entire home in gold and still be taken for a man of the people.”
Which is to say that female spending has always been and continues to be cast as decadent and frivolous in a way that male spending is not. As Jennifer Wright wrote in a February 2018 article for Harper’s Bazaar, this is linked to the assumption that when men spend money, they’ve worked hard for it, whereas women are assumed to have inherited it from a father or male partner. Which is, in 2019, very incorrect—not only are millennial women set to become the most financially independent generation of women, ever, but 18- to 26-year olds are already more financially independent than young men.
And it perpetuates the idea that women are frivolous
What’s more, casting female spending as frivolous and decadent is all part of “the horrible, no good, very bad assumption that says things young women like aren’t to be taken seriously,” argues personal finance writer Desirae Odjick.
And when we decide that what young women like isn’t serious, in essence we’re saying that young women themselves aren’t serious—or at least they shouldn’t be taken seriously. This is a hot take that really needs no introduction, because it’s evident in so many realms of our society. From U.S. congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez having to defend her hoop earrings and red lip—as well as her right to have a spot in congress—to the enduring argument that skin care is not a serious expense, women are constantly being belittled for their interests and have to prove themselves as adults who can, and should, be taken seriously.
Listen, there are undoubtedly fair criticisms of the KarJenners’ materialism. “The Kardashian effect“—the desire to emulate the famous fam after being inundated with images of their lavish life—is real, and can have a serious effect on everyday people’s values. But, as Dr. Meredith Jones, the creator of “Kimposium,” the world’s first academic conference dedicated to the famous fam, pointed out to VICE, to call out the Kardashians for emphasizing “consumption and consumerism” is super hypocritical. We have to acknowledge that these qualities are born from our broader culture. And regardless of their own consumer politics, shaming a woman just for spending money ain’t it.
The solution, Moorhouse says, is to support women earning and taking control of their money. “And part of that means not dragging them through the mud because you don’t agree how they spend it,” she concludes. “I doubt most people care what luxury toys Scott Disick or Rob Kardashian buy for their kids, so why care so much what the women in the family buy?” *mic drop*
And spend it however the hell you want.