What Elena Ferrante and Kim Kardashian Have in Common


While the outing of Elena Ferrante and the robbing of Kim Kardashian were not inherently gendered acts, the responses to them certainly have been. In light of these two seemingly divergent issues, the New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino meditates on the framing of female ambition in the media, and what happens “when women signify too much”:

…the problem is not so much about what happens to women after they become established and successful. The problem is that a woman retains so many obligations to so many people that she must, almost always, strip-mine her selfhood to achieve that success and security in the first place. Ferrante made her books a pointed exploration of this mandate, and has protected herself with anonymity; Kardashian West has made herself a florid example of the phenomenon, and has protected herself with notoriety and cash.

Katie O'Brien is an English major at Cornell University, where she writes for kitsch magazine, DJs for a rock station, and complains about the cold. Find her on Twitter @abluekite. More from this author →