Move over, Oprah; the media has a new queen to worship.
And she has the power to slay — literally.
Kim Yo-jong, sister to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, won over journalists and liberals’ hearts last weekend with her stylish appearance and delivering “deadly side-eye” to Vice President Mike Pence.
In a since-deleted tweet, Washington Post reporter Philip Bump cheerfully remarked, “Kim Jong Un’s sister with deadly side-eye at Pence,” alongside a gif showing Kim throwing shade at Pence.
The Washington Post itself published an article on Kim dubbing her a “political princess” and opening with this paragraph: “They marveled at her barely-there makeup and her lack of bling. They commented on her plain black outfits and simple purse. They noted the flower-shaped clip that kept her hair back in a no-nonsense style.”
“Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics,” blared CNN. “Seen by some as her brother’s answer to American first daughter Ivanka Trump, Kim, 30, is not only a powerful member of Kim Jong Un’s kitchen cabinet but also a foil to the perception of North Korea as antiquated and militaristic.”
The New York Times claimed Kim utterly bested Pence in diplomacy just with her smile.
In one article, Reuters gave Kim the “diplomatic gold medal” at the Olympics. In another effusive report, the news wire glowingly described her appearance. “A prim, young woman with a high forehead and hair half swept back quietly gazes at the throngs of people pushing for a glimpse of her, a faint smile on her lips and eyelids low as four bodyguards jostle around her.”
These are certainly strange things to say about the propaganda minister for a brutal regime that’s responsible for tens of thousands of deaths. It becomes even stranger when a common theme in establishment media coverage of President Trump is that he is a possible dictator and journalists must be adversarial to him in order to avoid normalizing him.
The main asset to Kim’s charm offensive is that there is a strong matriarchal theme in our culture right now — and the North Korean played perfectly to it. “Slay queen” and “boss bitch” are popular expressions that plenty of people use without irony. Beyonce and Oprah Winfrey earn unquestioning reverence from journalists and fans in a way more fit for a divine monarch than an entertainer.
Beyonce’s nickname is Queen Bey, and criticism of her is so frowned upon that Rolling Stone once had to ask “Is Beyonce Beyond Criticism?”
Hillary Clinton’s biggest fans maintain a similar attitude toward the failed presidential candidate, bristling at any attempts to critique their queen. See the massive backlash toward Vanity Fair over a video suggesting new hobbies for Hillary. (RELATED: Dems Flip Out Over Vanity Fair Video Mocking Hillary Clinton)
During the presidential campaign, many of Hillary’s fans liked to compare their candidate to Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryn, the chief queen icon in our culture. It was a lame attempt at comparison, but the desire for a fierce queen to lead our country had to find an outlet.
A few White House hopefuls are also playing into this slay queen mentality, with Democrats seeing that in Kamala Harris for Democrats and Republicans viewing Nikki Haley in a similar light.
There’s no way a male could have pulled off the cold charm offensive like Kim Yo-jong did. A male representative of a dictatorship giving side-eye to our vice president would not have been a moment to cheer, but a sign of his own villainy.
But the cultural moment we live in loves a woman like Kim, and it was an added bonus she was sticking it to the Trump administration. The media can’t resist somebody throwing shade at the president and vice president, no matter how heinous the person doing so is. A boss bitch doing so is bound to receive praise.
The Winter Olympics is revealing many odd things about our media culture in the age of Trump. Journalists took seriously speed skater Shani Davis’s claim that a coin flip was somehow racist. They also celebrated a gay athlete being as rude as possible to the vice president, something that would have earn universal condemnation from the Right and Left during the last administration.
But the most bizarre thing by far is the celebration of a propaganda minister for a cruel, anti-American regime. Maybe deep down the Resistance desires their queen to actually slay.