Most of the media related phenomenon concerning controversy and the Catholic Church has been in regards to random appearances of Pope Francis. Just recently the Christian faith caught a media frenzy but with a different star at the center, Kim Kardashian. The media mogul who is notorious for her provocative efforts to “break the internet.” Well-respected news sources such as New York Daily News, Fusion News, and a number of others on the Hearst network have documented opinions regarding the incident as ‘unsurprising.’
The event occurred on April 20, 2017 when an array of web icons known as emoji icons or in this instance, a “Kimoji” was released with an image of herself as the Virgin Mary on a candle as well as images of Kimberly Kardashian were release sporting a dress designed by Dolce Gabbana, also featuring the image of the Virgin Mary. The image’s completion with a depiction of the ‘Immaculate Heart of Mary’ over her chest influenced a great sector of her fans to be furious over her decision-making, so much so that she lost an estimated 100,000 followers. The candle was also made available on her website.
I was awaiting the southbound train on the beautiful platform of the brand new 72nd street Q, R station when I encountered a man with a Home Depot apron. The aprons notorious for their artistic flexibility in regards to expressing ones name as one so chooses, the man wrote ‘Deacon’ in large letters with ‘Luis’ in subtext. Could this be a sign from God maybe? I approached the man and asked in a stern voice “Sir, Are you an actual Deacon?”– “Yes” he responded, “I am a deacon at the New Mount Zion Baptist church in Brooklyn New York.”
I studied the Deacons’ reaction after informing the Deacon on the facts regarding the culturally shocking incident. His response to the statement of the Catholic League describing the incident as an ‘exploitation of Catholic iconography’ was that he “agrees” but he “can’t really hold her accountable.” Luis exclaimed that the power she has acclaimed has been received from the public, and he questioned their persecution of her status if they’re aware that they placed her in such a position.”
In Kardashian’s defense, scriptures of the Bible including Exodus 20:4 have reprimanded the usage of imagery to depict religious figures. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth or in the waters below.” Deacon Luis of the Mount Zion Baptist church commented, “If she is to be persecuted for her personal use of the image, all other religious images should be as well.” In today’s society an abundance of progress have been made in regards to the acceptance of female sexuality and ownership sexuality. It is after all, how icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Raquel Welch, and Kim Kardashian have risen to fame.
Technological differences have definitely increased the chances of which the Kardashian clan were allowed to take control of their public self and their private self as it has been discussed in social scientific conversation within the academic world. In a time where and when ‘Front facing cameras’ have widened the opportunities for the ‘perfect selfie’ social scientists describe these times as “The Internet Narcissism Epidemic.” According to an academic journal published in 2014 by the McKendree University and The Psychology Association of America, “The criteria for diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder requires significant impairment in personality and interpersonal functioning as well as several pathological traits that indicate that the subject is grandiose, superficial, and attention-seeking when referencing tendencies studied from a fraction of 1.23 Billion Facebook users and functioning for the betterment of one’s own ego.
Oppositions to this statement have included that if a celebrity that was “less controversial” committed the act it would not have blown up as much, while many others feel that the act of iconography in any fashion in regards to the Christian faith is a violation of the second commandment. It’s been noted in multiple instances throughout history that phrases of the bible have been taken out of context for personal gain. Kim Kardashian’s controversial rise to wealth and fame is directly related to her contributions to the porn industry as well as her infamous marriages and capability to influence ‘Pop Culture.’
In Kardashian’s defense, scriptures of the Bible including Exodus 20:4 have reprimanded the usage of imagery to depict religious figures. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth or in the waters below.” Deacon Luis of the Mount Zion Baptist church commented, “If she is to be persecuted for her personal use of the image, all other religious images should be as well.” In today’s society an abundance of progress have been made in regards to the acceptance of female sexuality and ownership sexuality. It is after all, how icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Raquel Welch, and Kim Kardashian have risen to fame. In retrospect her husband’s association with the pseudonym “Yeezus” has been criticized by well-respected public figures, but the backlash did not yield a response from one of if not the most powerful religious entities in the world, the Catholic Church. Was the controversy yet a direct response to Kim Kardashian’s rocky entry into the spotlight? It is all a matter of personal opinion however one thing is for sure–it broke the internet in one of the most detrimental ways possible her career has seen yet.
Somerville A. Tiffany (2014). McKendree University. https://www.mckendree.edu/academics/scholars/somerville-issue-25.pdf