The idea of “breaking the internet” as an idiom was arguably popularized by Paper magazine on their winter cover featuring Kim Kardashian with an exposed backside which is as famous as the star herself. Underneath it “Break the Internet Kim Kardashian”. After the term was put in lights – i.e. on the cover of a magazine – many took to commenting, and other forms of internet chatting, to express their disgust of the starlet’s cover with the usage of the term. But essentially, Kim “broke the internet” with hundreds of thousands of comments, tweets and retweets, regrams and facebook posts on her frontal, yes there is also a nude frontal shot, and table-like bum. (Hence the idea of the champagne flute balancing on her bum – one of the feature spreads.) The new rule in stardom is being able to “break the internet”.
But the comments on Kim’s spread were not all bad. Some applauded her pride in her body. Others questioned the intensity of the disgust directed at the spread. Karen Mangiacotti wrote a thoughtful piece for Huffington Post analyzing why it angered women so when other women release nudes. Perhaps it is anger at the perceived notion that these nude women are undoing attempts to de-sexualize women as objects; setting us back decades. But have we not moved to the progressive belief that power is in the ability to choose and express ourselves freely? …Much like women who choose to be stay-at-home moms are in sharp contrast to those who choose to work? Neither is right or wrong. Our power is in the freedom to choose.
Kim Kardashian’s “break the internet” spread for Paper sparked an avalanche of comments from “Kim-haters” that evolved in the form of commenting on other celeb photos of which the “Kim-haters” felt were more “tasteful” attempts at “breaking the internet”. One such image includes Solange Knowles wedding photos which also caused a flurry of internet chatter and Instagram posts of the ever-so-cool Knowles-Ferguson wedding in New Orleans.
The wedding pics featured the wedding party dressed in all white; the bride and groom traveling on white-painted vintage bikes; and guests, also dressed in white, dancing in the street with sparkers. The photos, the first of them featured on Vogue online, caused quite the stir among the fashion, indie, and neo-soul set, as well as Solange fans, but came just a bit shy of “breaking the internet”.
Prior to the Paper cover featuring Kardashian’s ampleness, there was another starlet “breaking the internet”…with so much less energy we can only conclude that she invented the idea. This young starlet is Rihanna and the event – her return to Instagram. Yes, simply her return. After several back to back posts on @badgalriri’s account, which kicked off with a selfie from the star and a slew of illustrations including one of Riri and a legged Instagram icon holding hands in a back-together-again scene. Other drawings sketched the star as a mutant ninja turtle (her Halloween costume) and
Rihanna walking several canines whose heads were replaced with several social media logos. It read “I’m back bitche$$$”. The retweets and regrams took on a life of its own. The media houses began reporting the news. “Rihanna is back on Instagram”. It. became. news. When CNN reported her return to Instagram it added further legitimacy to the hype and it became official news. Tickled by the hype, @badgalriri posted the CNN coverage on her Instagram feed. Truly a sign that Rihanna did indeed “break the internet”.
Rihanna “broke the internet” with her return but it was more elation at her return than disgust of the star, who enjoys being nude perhaps more that Kim Kardashian. “Breaking the internet” has taken new meaning to describe a social media and news takeover; a hijacking of your news feeds. It is the new star level.
Saturday it was Queen Bee’s turn to “break the internet” with her release of her single and video “Seven Eleven”. The internet was a blaze with video clips of Beyonce’s “Seven Eleven” video after Beyonce signaled that there had been a release with a video clip on her own on Instagram. Beyonce fans immediately set out upon posting different 15-second clips of the video on Instagram and proclaiming her “queen” or “Queen B”.
The fanaticism of the event is partly due to the surprise release, as the star accomplished in December of last year with her album which also, at that time, broke the internet, but also the nature of the video. There is nothing like force feeding a song to the public than a video and the video, unlike the polished and professionally directed videos we expect from Beyonce, was raw. The “Seven Eleven” video was directed like a DIY, social media video…a selfie and there is the allure and how Beyonce succeeds in “breaking the internet”.
We would be remiss not to mention Taylor Swift and her release of “1989” and prior to that, when Swift wore a “no its Becky” Tee in September and “broke the internet” also quite effortlessly.
The gals definitely are dominating the industry. “Dem-a run tings” (translation: they are running things.) as their camps devise newsworthy moves to “break the internet”.