It's nearly impossible to imagine pop culture without the Kardashians. The 24-hour news cycle is perpetually fueled by an endless stream of reporting on, reacting to, reveling in, or reviling Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall, and Kylie, whether they're actually doing something or doing quite literally nothing at all.
Kim, arguably the archetypical Kardashian that defines the rest, is as good a barometer of the Kardashian-Jenner clan's current status as any of them. She evolved from Paris Hilton's assistant into perhaps an even more famous character in her own right, after all, singularly shaping current-day culture in more ways than one can describe in a single pithy piece of writing.
And, yet, the Kardashians may be on the outs. If not for good, at least for a moment.
In early March, rumors began circulating that Anna Wintour uninvited the Kardashians from the 2023 Met Gala guest list, though a source close to the Kardashians claimed otherwise.
If true, this would be the first Met Gala red carpet in a decade to not feature any Kardashians. Kim and Kanye first attended in 2013 and subsequently starred on the April 2014 cover of Vogue.
Initially resistant to featuring the closest thing that America has to a royal family, Wintour eventually bequeathed ample coverage to the Kardashian clan. Kim and co. subsequently toured other publications, breaking the internet and taking over international magazines in due time.
But the public may be catching a dose of the anti-Kardashian sentiment that Anna Wintour embodied back in the late aughts.
The family's unrepentant fixation on displaying levels of beauty and status unattainable to all but the world's wealthiest has largely alienated the Kardashians from regular folks.
For a while, that was the way things were. Nowadays, though, the turns may be tabling.
Consider TikTok's Bold Glamour filter, currently the subject of much debate. It grants users instant access to a flawlessly contoured visage, bereft of pores and thicc of lip.
The filter immediately got people talking once again about unrealistic beauty standards, the same kind of exaggerated expectations fostered by the perpetually primped and perfectly poised Kardashians.
Plastic surgeons call it "the Kardashianization of the younger people," reflecting the Kardashian-driven influence that's led people in their teens and twenties to seek shaved noses, hardened jawlines, and Brazilian butt lifts.
They're following in the footsteps of Kim's extreme hourglass and Kylie Jenner's sculpted smize. After all, the youngest of the current Kardashian-Jenner crop got her first touch-up at the tender age of 15, when she received lip fillers.
The physicality of it all is indicative of the Kardashians' greater negative impact on beauty and is partially why people thrill to call out the Kardashians for manipulating their images even further.
In the past few months alone, Kim and Kendall Jenner have each responded to allegations that they digitally warped their bodies, allegations delivered so indignantly that Kim eventually uploaded what appears to be a filter-free selfie simply for the sake of showing her real face.
To reiterate: we're at the point of Kardashian saturation where it's newsworthy to simply see Kim's actual skin. And she still could've at least slightly edited the photo, to boot.
Point is, all this micro drama creates major Kardashian fatigue.
There's a reason we're all so collectively tired of hearing about Kendall and Kylie Jenner that even rumors of Kendall dating Bad Bunny are enough to turn some of the Puerto Rican singer's fans against him.
People are tired of hearing about the Kardashian-Jenners paying thousands for 15-minute flights on private jets as they preach about climate change and eating vegan.
They're tired of hearing the Kardashians feign ignorance over cosmetic surgery. They're tired of hearing Kim tell regular working women to stop being lazy. They're tired of seeing the Kardashians everywhere, at every fashion show, sponsored by every fashion brand (even the problematic ones!).
It's because the Kardashians are in the business of being relevant.
Unlike, say, famous actors or musicians, the Kardashians have nothing to offer but themselves so they're financially obligated to put those mugs out there.
Love 'em, hate 'em, the Kardashians don't care. As long as you've got their name in your name, the context doesn't matter. It's all in the service of ongoing relevance.
Even if the entire world turned against them, the Kardashians will never go away. Their brands and multimillion-dollar bank accounts depend on it. The Kardashians will be on TV until the heat death of the universe.
It also must be said that it's terribly passé to say that you're "over" the Kardashians. Talk about a cold take. Like, aren't we all tired of them? Haven't we felt that way for, like, ever?
But celebrity-dom ebbs and flows like the tide. Maybe the anti-Kardashian sentiment has swelled to a point that it's impossible to ignore, like Kim and Kanye were a decade ago.
They'll always have their fans. But the purported Met Gala snub could be the first indication that the Kardashians are at least somewhat on the outs.
Thing is, they won't be gone for good. The influencers who've followed in the Kardashian's wake will pick up the slack until things inevitably swing in the Kardashian's favor. Too big to fail, and all that.
But, as a wise man once said, "If they're too big to fail, they're too big."