Monday, July 5, 2010

Keeping Up With the Kardashians

Last month, Kim Kardashian made headlines when she tweeted about her discomfort with public breastfeeding.  And then Kim tweeted again, this time referencing her breastfeeding sister Kourtney and saying that women should cover up.

(For an excellent take on the situation, far more nuanced than my own, check out this post from Her Bad Mother). 

A few weeks later, Kourtney wrote a post on her own blog about her experience breastfeeding her son Mason.  And then last Wednesday, Kourtney added a blog entry about co-sleeping with her son.

It's no wonder the title of their show is Keeping Up With the Kardashians.  They're a busy bunch . . .

So why am I writing about this? 

I'm not a big fan of reality shows or silly celebrities.  I tend to not watch people like the Kardashians.  But I have a lot of respect for many of the things that Kourtney writes about in her recent blog posts.  She's open and honest about how much he loves breastfeeding her son Mason.  She talks about the benefits of nursing exclusively for 6 months before starting solid foods, and is open about the fact that she doesn't plan to stop any time soon.  She even writes about nursing Mason on an airplane during takeoff and landing -- which can be hugely helpful when flying with an infant because the jaw motion helps with ear popping as the air pressure changes.  It's like the baby equivalent of gum chewing.  And not something that a lot of moms know about.

In her post about co-sleeping, Kourtney writes about how at first she thought the idea was crazy.  And about how she reached the decision that it was something she wanted to try.  She says that she loves the time snuggling up with him at night when she's had a long, busy day.  I share many of her feelings, and I think it's really neat to see a celebrity who is willing to open up about making parenting choices that are not exactly mainstream.  I imagine that many of Kourtney's fans are young women who don't know anything about breastfeeding, and didn't even know that co-sleeping is an option. 

No matter what your opinion of the Kardashians, I think that Kourtney is having a tremendously positive impact by bringing these ideas to her mainstream audience.  Any time we see a more complex image of motherhood in the media, it's a good thing. 

So why again am I writing about this?

The dates. 

Her first post was dated 6/22/10.  Her second post was dated 6/29/10.  Both appeared right on the heels her sister's tweet and the ensuing anti-Kim controversy among the natural parenting community.  Maybe I'm too cynical, but it seems like a little more than a coincidence that the Kardashian's need for positive parenting press just happened to coincide with Kourtney's desire to share details of her own experiences. 

You know, these people are skilled at PR.  I mean getting publicity is pretty much all that the Kardashians are skilled at, right?

Tell me that it doesn't look like Kourtney wrote these posts to take the heat off of her sister and draw in a whole new audience of mamas who may not have followed the Kardashians before . . .

I would like to believe it's not true.  For some strange reason I can't fully understand, I like the Kardashians.  I particularly like Kourtney.  I like that she's talked openly about aspects of motherhood that most celebrities don't share, and I like that she's been candid about the fact that she's had doubts as to whether what she's doing is right.  It all just seems so honest.

Except that maybe, it's not.


What do you think?  Are Kourtney's blog posts genuine?  Or are they just part of a larger PR stunt within the family?

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