Living in a world of touch-ups, filters and photoshop, it is so often female celebrities that have their bodies picked apart and critiqued by both the media and social media users. Some of the noisiest of this critique is thrown to the Kardashians. Their eponymous reality TV show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, portrays them with a kind of glamour and untouchability which might give the false impression that the family is there to be over-analysed, trolled or degraded.
Most recently, it was Khloé Kardashian who found herself experiencing the dark side of social media. After an unedited photo of Khloé wearing a bikini – which was likely taken during a private family gathering – was posted without her permission, the image was quickly spiralled by fans as they shared and reposted it over social media. Khloé’s team has since tried to reclaim the rights to the image in a bid to prevent it being posted by others. However, this is no mean feat in a world where individuals can no longer easily ‘own’ their very own image.
Khloé’s response to the unedited photo came in the form of an Instagram post on her page, asserting that she had gone ‘live’ on Instagram to show everyone what her body truly looked like without photoshop. The response came alongside an explanation written in her Instagram post:
“Hey guys, this is me and my body unretouched and unfiltered. The photo that was posted this week is 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 so hard to get to this point – and then shares it to the world – you should have every right to ask for it to not be shared – regardless of who you are.”
Khloé’s claim that years of having her body micro-analysed by others has caused her to become image-conscious is very valid and, in an attempt to reclaim her image, it is understandable that she has learnt to be highly selective about the images of herself that make it out online. But it is the attempt to remove the image, rather than the image itself, which has elicited an angry reaction from some fans.
“I actually liked the candid photo of you. Reminds us you are human and not perfect.” wrote one Instagram user in the comment-section of Khloé’s post. Another suggested that “posting more unedited not so perfect pictures might make other women feel better about their bodies instead of air-brushing and blurring every imperfection”.
But there were meaner comments too. One person commented: “If insecurity was a person” – to which Khloé responded, “Baby girl, you have to look in the mirror. Only insecure people tear other people down. I’m sending you so much love, health and happiness! I’m sorry that you’re hurting”.
Since the famous Kardashian-Jenner sisters have solidified their brand ventures on the basis of their body-images, it is easy to see how ‘unedited’ photos – regardless of how candid or natural they may seem – could slowly start to unravel the ideal they want to portray.
However, arguably there is a bigger social issue at play here. Earlier this year, a bikini photo of Kendall Jenner also went viral after she posted a series of photos and a video from the photoshoot for ‘skims’ (Kim Kardashian’s shapewear, underwear and loungewear brand). The photos provoked claims that they had been photoshopped – which was, by no means, the first time that such claims had been thrown about. With eating disorders on the rise, and many comments online suggesting that they did not feel ‘good enough’ because they didn’t have Kendall’s body, it is the potential use of editing or photoshop without honesty and clarity which is creating a warped sense of body image.
Link for further information: Kendall Jenner Responds After Fans Comment On ‘Photoshopped’ Lingerie Photo – Capital (capitalfm.com)
Treading the fine-lines between trickery, idealism, and protecting oneself from the thoughtless comments of trolls, it is understandable that Khloé’s attempt to remove the unedited image is also to minimise the slew of nasty comments that she has received. However, fans are still calling for her to shift from the potentially unhealthy and unrealistic beauty standards that she and her sisters are often criticised for promoting.
Written by Rebecca Pearson
Edited by Sophie Alexander – Entertainment Editor
Header Image by Annabel Smith