The model Kim Kardashian's title as the "hottest woman in the world" in a men's magazine sums up "almost everything that is wrong with Western society”, according to a leading private school headmistress.
Dr Helen Wright, headmistress of St Mary’s Calne, a girls boarding school in Wiltshire, will tell an education conference this week that the US reality TV star is part of a culture which sexualises women at an early age.
This culture, which is rife on TV, the internet and in magazines, sends the message that physical appearance is more important than character, according to Dr Wright.
She will say: “I have spoken out a lot over the last two years about the increasing dangers of premature sexualisation of young people, and the objectification of women which accompanies this.
“It is not too strong a statement, I venture to suggest, to say that almost everything that is wrong with Western society today can be summed up in that one symbolic photo of Miss Kim Kardashian on the front of Zoo magazine.
“The descent of Western civilisation can practically be read into every curve (of which, you will note, there are indeed many). Officially the hottest woman in the world? Really? Is this what we want our young people to aim for? Is this what success should mean to them?” Dr Wright will say.
She will claim that Ms Kardashian is famous for "the reality TV series, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, for hanging out with the rich and famous, for a sex tape, a 72-day marriage and a rather ample backside”.
"What is she telling our young people about life? As a society, we have clearly attached a value to her, and there may be some messages about hard work buried in there somewhere - I expect she has to slave in the gym to keep that posterior in shape - but these are very hidden messages, buried under the other messages surrounded by glitz and sparkle," Dr Wright will say.
Ms Kardashian, whose father is the late Robert Kardashian, one of the defence lawyers in OJ Simpson’s 1995 murder trial, shot to prominence when an erotic film of her appeared online in 2007. She has since gone on to become a household name on both sides of the Atlantic.
However people’s obsession with celebrities such as Ms Kardashian means that pupils are “soaking up a diet of empty celebrity and superficiality”, Dr Wright will say.
She will be speaking at the Institute of Development Professionals in Education (IDPE) conference later this week.