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9 March 2016

Keep Kalm and Karry On: how I tried using Kim Kardashian to treat my anxiety

Playing the Kim Kardashian iPhone game didn’t soothe me, but it was a surprisingly progressive experience.

By Eleanor Margolis

A blonde cartoon woman shaped like an even more oppressive Barbie just called me “hashtag ratchet”. I don’t feel relaxed yet.

There’s no option to “tell opponent that if a real human had such a large head in proportion to her waist and legs, she’d be inching along the floor like a caterpillar, screaming, ‘WHY?’. Hashtag TheHumanity”.  

So I tap on “leave quietly”.

Seven minutes into the Kim Kardashian iPhone game, and my anxiety is still the most there thing in my life. In recent months, I’ve become aware of the lengths I’ll go to not to be an adult colouring book person.

Now these lengths include “treat my anxiety with a game aimed at pre-teens, where you Rake’s Progress your way up the fame ladder, from E to A-list celebrity”.  

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My logic, before downloading Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, was this:

  • Kim Kardashian does not, I’ll warrant, experience any stress beyond being married to someone ridiculous on an international scale, and occasionally wading through think pieces about her behind.
  • Kim Kardashian’s inner monologue probably consists of the sound of a shoe being dropped from a balcony onto a lawn, on a loop.
  • In a way, I would like to be like Kim Kardashian.

So what better way to escape my inner monologue of, “DEATH, DEATH, DEATH, DEATH, DEATH, DEATH,” than to immerse myself in a simulation of Kim Kardashian’s life?

For millennia, humans have sought to treat their gnawing dysphoria with mindfulness. I theorise that the best treatment is mindlessness. My “Kardashian-induced psychological oblivion” method of treating clinical anxiety, I predict while watching Kim’s cartoonised face impregnate my phone, will change the world.

During my first minute or so of playing Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, I thought I was onto something. I nestled into my bed. I readied myself for the endumbening. I was excited. I embarked upon my virtual journey from retail worker to model.

As a preventative measure towards becoming emotionally invested in the game, I named my avatar “Diarrhoea”. I’ll admit, tinkering with Diarrhoea’s appearance (I gave her a fierce bob and just the cutest fucking nose omg) momentarily took my mind off my imagined future of debt and destitution.

It irritated me that I couldn’t, for the sake of authenticity, gift the Kardashian world me with cellulite and a moustache. But I’m not going to get feminist about this. Not now. I knew what I was getting into the moment I typed “Kardashian” into the app store search bar.

But then, aside from getting called “hashtag ratchet” (which I did not sign up for), a bad thing happens. I realise that I can’t get to grips with the game’s interface. It’s diabolically confusing; a tornado of star and heart icons that jizz forth from every component. Why can’t I understand a children’s game? Furthermore, why can’t I understand a Kim Kardashian children’s game?

I’m old. I’m out of touch. I barely even know what “ratchet” means, to be honest. Far from my vision of a calming stupor, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood appears to be going out of its way to feed my already bloated anxiety. But I tell myself that I must continue, in the name of science.

Then comes a second twist. I’m instructed that Diarrhoea must go on a date, for publicity reasons. Fair. Kardashian herself is to play matchmaker. So it happens, cartoon Kim looks at me and asks whether I’m into guys or girls.


I realise that, in recent years, lesbianism has gone mainstream. But “representation in Kim Kardashian iPhone game” mainstream? Cara Delevingne must’ve done more for dyke visibility than I could previously begin to imagine.

I almost wish I could’ve shown this game to my 12-year-old self. I mean, she would’ve loathed it (she was into fighting games like Tekken and, as far as I can tell, you can’t kick the shit out of anyone in Kardashian world). But she would’ve been into the “being a lesbian” aspect of the game, for sure.

Kim Kardashian sets Diarrhoea up with a hot writer. Who is a woman.  

“A writer,” I think. “We’ll even have stuff to talk about.”

The moment I realise I’m getting emotionally invested in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, I understand just how miserably my experiment has failed. I delete it from my phone immediately and press play on some panpipe music. Lulled by woodwind utterances, I vow never again to enter the tumultuous universe of Kimberly Kardashian West.

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