If you’re not familiar, let me catch you up to speed. Earlier this week, a candid bikini pic of Kardashian started making the rounds. Most fans loved it, but Kardashian’s team was actively trying to take it down. After the incident, Kardashian released some “unfiltered” videos of her body that she approved of on Instagram along with a statement about her history with body image issues.
“Hey guys, this is me and my body un-retouched and unfiltered,” she wrote on Instagram and Twitter. “The photo that was posted this week was beautiful. But as someone who has struggled with body image her whole life, when someone takes a photo of you that isn’t flattering, in bad lighting, or doesn’t capture your body the way it is after working [too] hard to get it to this point—and then shares it to the world—you should have every right to ask for it not to be shared—no matter who you are.”
Kardashian continued, “In truth, the pressure, constant ridicule, and judgment my entire life to be perfect and to meet other’s standards of how I should look has been too much to bear. ‘Khloé is the fat sister.’ ‘Khloé is the ugly sister.’ ‘Her dad must not be her real dad because she looks so different.’ ‘The only way she could have lost that weight must have been from surgery.’”
The reactions on social media are mixed. On the one hand, people have sympathy for the body-shaming Kardashian’s endured over the years. On the other, the Kardashian-Jenners have hundreds of millions of Instagram followers; Khloé herself has 136 million. Their apparent use of filters and photo editing on their posts—especially if they’re not fully owning up to it—only contributes to unattainable and unhealthy body standards. (FWIW, Khloé Kardashian copped to loving “a good filter, good lighting, and an edit here and there.” Take from that what you will.)
“This was raw and honest,” journalist Katie Couric replied in Kardashian’s comments, “but I agree with those who say the nonstop procedures and constant filters are promoting unrealistic and harmful beauty standards.”
Privilege is also a factor here. The Kardashian-Jenners can, in theory, use the best resources available to achieve their looks: dietitians, personal trainers, private chefs, photo studios for the perfect shot, etc. It isn’t just a matter of “working hard,” as Kardashian wrote in her post.
While Kardashian may not have signed on to be a “role model,” many pointed out that she’s very much in the business of selling herself. She’s promoted Flat Tummy shake ads, for example. It’s not unreasonable to think a fan would buy product like that in the hopes of achieving Kardashian’s look—but it’s not that linear. There’s obviously more to it. Fans are just looking for the family to admit that.
Jameela Jamil sums it up best: “I’m extremely sorry for what we all watched happen to you over the past decade,” Jameela Jamil tweeted. “It’s so unacceptable. Now would be a great time to throw diet culture in the fuck it bucket, stop editing photos, admit to the help you get to look how you do, and be transparent with your fans.”