THE BLOG

Kardashian Click Bait: Why We Continually Engage

06/16/2015 04:40 pm ET | Updated Jun 16, 2016

Something happened this morning.

As soon as I creaked open my tired, allergy-laden eyes, I found myself scrolling through the elite, scholarly and highly-credible Yahoo! news feed. Sheer moments later, in an I-just-subconsciously-clicked kind of way, I found myself faced with a shoddy article, complete with Instagram pictures of Kylie Jenner.

That hurt to say.

Yes, dear readers, Kylie Jenner was among the first three faces that I saw this morning, with the first two being my husband and my dog. I have been bothered by this all day, but also contemplative. It's truthfully nothing against Kylie Jenner; instead, I just felt that I needed to introspect and ask: Why do I care? Why do we all care?

You see, the traditional rhetoric goes that we use celebrities' drama as an "escape," as we can temporarily become engrossed in their lives and forget about ours. This may be true, but there is also another layer to examine. There are plenty of celebrities, but somehow the Kardashians engage our interest on another level.

I'll go ahead and say it. I think they make us feel good about ourselves while simultaneously making us feel like crap. It's one part superiority, mixed with one part inferiority. For example, we feel mighty and moral when we assess that we're parenting better than Kris Jenner, but still wish we lived in a house as big as hers. Or something like that.

The Kardashians fill a need. We live in a society -- and cue Debbie Downer -- that is incredibly sad. We are depressed, anxious, overworked, underpaid. Very few of us can find a work/life balance. That is where the escape portion comes in. However, as we are all chronically underappreciated for making it day to day in this hard world, feeling that we are actually doing better than the Kardashians on a number of fronts gives us a little extra spring in our step.

With that said, it is no secret that many of us pretend to fully hate them. If you check out the comment section of any Kardashian article (and I use the term "article" lightly), you will find people writing, "Stop posting about these people!" and "I hate the Kartrashians." The incongruousness of their actions seem to be lost on the comment authors. After all, you had to have clicked the article if you're commenting...

The idea isn't that we should stop reading and clicking. Admittedly, it would be difficult to fully disengage from popular culture.

However, critically examining the motivations for our actions is never a bad thing.