Guinea Pig Journalism in the Era of Kim Kardashian

Amelia Diamond | January 28, 2016

In addition to North and Saint, she has birthed an online content trend…

Kim-Kardashian Man Repeller 1

The appeal of approximating a monochrome outfit in the color scheme of a Band-Aid is not lost on me. I recently dressed like a caucasian thumb in full sartorial consciousness because in my closet, the palette appeared more sand than sad; like a Nancy Meyers living room as opposed to boiled Spam. When I failed, it was me who had to live with the decision that day. There was nowhere to point the fingers of blame. This was not Kim Kardashian’s fault — she of the camel-on-camel fame, but had I wanted it to be, it could have been.

The Internet, vast Sahara of clickbait content that it is, has developed a habit of becoming Kim Kardashian’s guinea pig. Across the desert one can find endless collections of diaries that chronicle self-assigned adventures in mirroring Kim’s every move. On Buzzfeed: one writer’s attempt to complete Mrs.West’s hair and makeup routine. At Elle: a hilarious week spent in Kim’s literal shoes and The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Waist Training.

I love these stories. They are funny and so weird. Here’s a late disclaimer: my friends wrote two of them, but my inclination to act as a human refrigerator upon which to hang their achievements has nothing to do with the reality that I consume these kinds of stories just as much as they consume me.

Me and every other Internet reader.

These stories go viral. That first Elle one? 23.2k shares. That is huge. The Buzzfeed one garnered 1,400,206 views. They are captivating in the way that Snapchat or Vanderpump Rules are: voyeuristic lenses into a celebrity’s ridiculous life by way of your pal and mine, the Real Girl, and because she stars, we are comforted.

Isn’t it very nice to know that for the average human, dressing like Kim is terrifying and hard work as opposed to some effortless hoo-ha? Isn’t it comforting that step 1 in Waist Training is “Pain and Discomfort” because it reaffirms that a normal, mortal civilian cannot withstand the modern corset? A common thread in every I-Did-The-Kim-Kardashian post is this sentence: “I don’t know how she does it.”

Thank you. Bless you. Me neither. I am so glad I’m not the only one who feels like a tall burger when I wear spandex.

However, you’ll note that guinea pig articles are in no way relegated to Kim Kardashian alone. For every member of her famous family, there is a website employee who tried X — and then wrote about it.

For every Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady diet, there is a comedic author who ate their vegetables.

For every icon with trackable traits, every celebrity with some semblance of style, every rockstar with an autobiography and every athlete with monastic habits, there is a person like you and me who, by now, has done an article about it. I once dressed like a J.Crew model for a week and considered it brave work in the name of journalism.

Yet I can’t help but liken these proliferating projects to dare cop-outs as the trend grows.

Have you ever accepted a dare to do something scary (ask for someone’s number, tell a guy he’s cute) that you were secretly praying someone would dare you to do, and then, emboldened by the shield, “My friends dared me to do this,” actually executed?

If you vocalized the excuse, at least among my crew, that was considered a cop-out. It didn’t count. You’d be forced to forfeit your score.

I will likely continue to devour every story about women who dressed like Kylie Jenner, adults who donned the impressive wardrobe of North West and men who have mastered Khloe’s contour. Like I said: they offer strange relief. But just once, I think it would be interesting to read an article that says: “I Secretly Wanted to Try This Bizarre and Possibly Embarrassing Routine For the Sake of My Own Odd Bliss, So I Did It.”

Guinea pig journalism is fun, and it’s one thing. Honesty? That’s something entirely different.

Collages by Emily Zirimis.

hyperlink-gif-guinea-pigs-and-kim-k

  • Minksus

    So this article made me google “celebrities that don’t wear make-up” and #5 on the first hit is Leandra! Hah. http://www.bustle.com/articles/100435-7-celebrities-who-dont-wear-makeup-at-least-some-of-the-time-who-do-it

    • Janel Hairston

      I am getting a salary of 4500 dollars each week. Over a year ago I was in a horrible condition , jobless and no bank credit . Thanks to one of my friends who showed me a way where I was able to gather myself and making average of 54 d/h. So it can change your life as it has changed mine.

      To Know More About That Click Here
      km…

  • Yvonne Dunlevie

    It was now more than 2 years ago that Man Repeller posted the round table conversation “Why Can’t We Stop Talking About Kim Kardashian?” in response to her Paper Mag cover. The point of that conversation is entirely different than this post, but I think what is interesting is the evolution of trends (2 years ago was probably the forefront of these guinea pig diets, right?). Just as Man Repeller looks at what influences fashion trends, it’s refreshing to see Amelia look into and question what influences journalism trends. Thanks for the new spin, Amelia…I couldn’t agree with your thoughts more.

    • Amelia Diamond

      Thanks Yvonne! That’s crazy that was 2 years ago, too…

    • Alarive

      Oh my god. These two years have gone crazy fast.

      • Marlene Henry

        I am getting a salary of 5800 dollars each week. Over a year ago I was in a horrible condition , jobless and no bank credit . Thanks to one of my friends who showed me a way where I was able to gather myself and making average of 57 d/h. So it can change your life as it has changed mine.

        To Know More About That Click Here
        xw….

  • l:ly

    I’m going to be super real right now because this is a safe space, I read every, “I Tried Kim K’s Makeup Routine…”/”I Wore Kylie Jenner’s Butt Pads For A Month…” thing I find online. They’re like potato chips

    • Amelia Diamond

      they are POTATO CHIPS. I love them.

      • Yvonne Dunlevie

        Oh. I certainly read all of them too. Safe space.

  • http://www.adriannagrezak.com Adrianna

    Love the Vanderpump Rules reference. I dunno how I feel about Lala’s personal style. Reminds me of how I tried to look like when I was 12. (The bandanas and hoop earrings)

  • http://www.theoliveeye.com Mia Lardiere
  • http://www.adriannagrezak.com Adrianna

    Am I the only one who felt really sad after reading the Buzzfeed article?

  • http://thefauxparisian.wordpress.com Meg Maldonado

    I consider my Guinea pig journalism to be the time I scrubbed off most of my skin by using these facial wipes I reviewed on my site while chanting to myself through the pain “this is for you, people of the interweb! This is for yooooouuuu!” I’m still recovering. Yet I’ll proudly do it again. Why? Because crazy that’s why.

  • Hannah Warner

    Camel tone is really in right now.

    • Hannah Warner

      lol

  • Hannah Warner

    Also this reminds me of when Peaches Geldof did the expose where she dressed like a different fashion subculture every day for a week to see what it was like. (RIP Peaches)

  • Living Paula Blog

    Oh so addicting.

    http://www.livingpaula.com

  • http://www.hiiampaul.com/ hiiampaul

    I’m really excited for articles about Saint West. I really want to know his morning routine.

    • Louise Pelayo

      I am getting a salary of 3900 dollars each week. Over a year ago I was in a horrible condition , jobless and no bank credit . Thanks to one of my friends who showed me a way where I was able to gather myself and making average of 55 d/h. So it can change your life as it has changed mine.

      To Know More About That Click Here
      gb…

    • Amelia Diamond

      Same tbh

  • pamb

    On The Cut there is a writer who tries celeb diets. My favorite are the Old School Elizabeth Taylor/Marilyn Monroe ones.

  • Omar

    I recently read a Vice article about a dude who ate nothing but Nutella for a month and wrote about it. It’s articles like these that keep me going through journalism school.

    • Amelia Diamond

      Oh see it’s an article like that that would make me definitely choose J School if I was wavering in another direction