8.2
January 19, 2022

Is Sisterhood only about Supporting Women or should it Call Women Out as Well?

*Editor’s Note: Elephant Journal articles represent the personal views of the author and cannot possibly reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. Disagree with an opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here.
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Recently, Khloe Kardashian won the People’s Choice Award for the most popular reality TV star for 2021.

She’s won this award before as well. So clearly, people like her.

Guess what? I like her too.

Okay, I guess we should get this out of the way: Yes, I “keep up” with the Kardashians. There, I said it.

I keep up not in a stalker-y, I-watch-everything-they-do kind of way, but I have watched the show many times and I’m too gauche and unsophisticated to pretend I don’t know who they are or what they do—because I do. I know who all of them are.

You can roll your eyes at me. That’s fine.

See, unlike many others, I refuse to dismiss them.

Why? Because, while they started off as a reality TV family, I’m beyond impressed at how successful every member of the family has become. There are many reality TV shows and reality TV celebrities out there. But barely any of them have leverage their good fortune and fame into a successful business of some kind. The thousand “Real Housewives” series are a key example. Apart from Bethenny Frankel’s Skinnygirl empire and charity foundation, B Strong, I haven’t heard of many others who have used their (often unearned) celebrity and converted it into something tangible, like all of the Kardashian women have.

And I applaud them for it.

You’re about ready to smack me or sue me for blasphemy now, aren’t you?

Allow me to push my luck and take it a step further. Of all of the Kardashian women, Khloe stands out, mainly for her overall kindness toward people (including the many trolls on her social media) and her messages of body positivity, which include owning a company like Good American that sells jeans from size 0-36.

Khloe has always come across to me as a decent person. The first time I really took note of her kindness was when her ex-husband, Lamar Odom, overdosed on drugs and, despite having separated from him, she jumped in and took care of him during his recovery. She did not need to do this, but according to her, she did it because she felt it was the right thing to do. Even though their marriage had broken down irrevocably because of Odom’s infidelity, Khloe was the bigger person for letting that bitterness go and nursing him back to health.

That, and many other instances over the years, has shown me what a caring and thoughtful woman Khloe is, beyond the celebrity.

So, it sucked when I read recently that her on-again/off-again boyfriend and her baby’s father, basketball player Tristan Thompson, cheated on her—again. As if it wasn’t enough that this wasn’t his first offense, this time he went one step further and got another woman pregnant while he was on-again with Khloe. All this while she waxed eloquent about how “Tristan had changed and worked hard to regain her trust” and how he “wouldn’t just betray her after all the work he’d done to gain her trust.”

For a little backstory, Thompson had been unfaithful to Khloe on a number of occasions, including when he was caught with his proverbial pants down mere days before Khloe gave birth to their daughter, True. This honestly f*cked up situation was made even worse when a few months later he cheated on Khloe, again, with their then family friend and sister Kylie’s BFF Jordyn Woods.

The Kardashian family froze out Woods but stayed on good terms with Thompson because of True. Then the pandemic hit, and Thompson chose to quarantine with Khloe to be closer to his daughter. During that time, Khloe took him back. But as lockdown ended, quarantine measures were eased, and as needs must be met (and like leopards don’t or can’t change their spots) Thompson went back to his usual behavior.

Given that I genuinely like what I know of Khloe—but even if I didn’t—I want to make clear that I’m not judging her, or any woman who chooses to return to an unhealthy relationship. But I do question why she decided to take Thompson back.

At this point, Thompson has shown that cheating is his pattern. And it takes a special kind of cojones to behave that way, no? He’s also a well-off professional basketball superstar in his 20s, and at the age where society expects him to “f*ck around” and “sow his wild oats” before settling down. With all of these red flags and the public humiliation she’s been through, I find myself asking why. Why take him back?

Why would she think he wouldn’t do it again?

Why could Khloe not see the many red flags that are so apparent to the rest of us?

I fully support women living their lives for them and choosing what they want. But as someone who considers myself a fan, I can’t help but be a little disappointed that despite all markers leading toward history repeating itself, Khloe still gave Thompson the benefit of the doubt. Like Maya Angelou once said, in some form, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

Why couldn’t Khloe see what Thompson was clearly showing her about himself?

What does it say when a gorgeous, well-loved, powerful, strong, financially independent woman keeps going back to the same person who treated her so poorly?

I mean, Thompson even denied his most recent affair with Maralee Nichols, the mother of his most recent child, leading her to have to sue him to take responsibility for his choices. It was only when DNA results came out proving Thompson was indeed the father of Nichols’ child that he issued a mea culpa on Instagram taking responsibility for the child and apologizing to Khloe. But he did not publicly apologize to Nichols.

I’ve always liked and admired Khloe. But with the Thompson situation, I have to admit I definitely lost some respect for her. Not to play shrink here but I wondered if Khloe’s innate niceness was the reason she kept giving Thompson chances? Is she someone who suffers from chronic optimism? Was she willfully ignorant? Is this an example of toxic positivity?

Why does she—and why do so many of us—continue to look for the good in a person who appears to have no redeeming qualities as a partner? Why do we continue to play the martyr/victim card? Do we give our toxic partners so many chances because we genuinely want to “make it work” (particularly when there are children involved) or because we’re desperate to not be alone?

Please don’t get me wrong, I will always be on a woman’s side. But I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that this bothers me.

Let me repeat what I said above: What does it say when a gorgeous, well-loved, powerful, strong, financially independent woman keeps going back to the same person who has treated her so poorly?

And then I wondered, does being part of the “sisterhood” mean that we should always take the side of women, no matter their actions? Or does sisterhood mandate us to gently call Khloe, and other women like her (especially those in the public eye who are looked up to by many women in this world, whether they like it or not) out and encourage them to make the tough choices that hold men accountable for their actions? For dropkicking cheaters like Thompson out of their lives? For showing the world that a woman doesn’t need a man to “feel complete”? That we are worth waiting for someone who is worthy of us? That we deserve someone who will respect us?

I’m not pointing fingers here. I’m genuinely curious about what we should do. I’d love for you to let me know what you think!

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