From scandalous sex tapes to complex divorces, Americans are united in recognizing the “KarJenners” by their dramatic lifestyle. Kim Kardashian, the first celebrity in the family, has an immense social media presence and therefore affects millions of lives. In this technologically advanced generation, it can only be hoped that those who influence the world around them, especially those who have impact on the mindset of younger people, will adamantly promote body positivity and confidence. Does Kardashian fit this criteria?
Kim Kardashian has spoken out about body image many times. Much of the time, her comments can be viewed as empowering, but almost everything she says has a tone that is less positive towards body confidence. The topic has made an appearance in almost every one of her interviews since her pregnancy. In a post on her app she stated, “After I had North, there was a part of me that was nervous about whether I’d be able to get back to anywhere near my pre-pregnancy weight and feel confident again, since I was now 50 pounds heavier. I knew I had to put in a lot of work, but I got there. After 10 months, I felt like I was even better than before.” This could potentially be analyzed as a quote encouraging working out, meeting goals on being fit and being happy with yourself, if it weren’t for one word: better. If Kardashian had said she had felt even “happier” or “more confident” after losing 50 pounds, the whole message of her response would have changed, but because she said she felt “better than before,” Kardashian has implied that it is better to lose weight than to accept yourself for who you are. This is an ultimately negative message to send out into the world, especially for someone as powerful as Kim Kardashian.
Kardashian has a condition called psoriasis, a skin disorder that causes red blotches and inflammation all over the body. She has revealed multiple times that because of her psoriasis she gets frequent injections. “I’ve learned to really live with it…I’m just accepting it as a part of who I am,” said Kardashian in an interview with Cosmopolitan. This is a powerful quote that expresses positive body images, but on an episode of her TV show Keeping Up With the Kardashians, she referred to her psoriasis multiple times as her “big flaw,” which is not a positive sentiment to project. She also said, “people don’t understand the pressure on me to look perfect,” implying that her psoriasis makes her somehow less good-looking. Many psoriasis patients had a negative reaction to these comments and attacked Kardashian on social media.
Kardashian’s journey through weight loss is what comes to mind when people think of her body positivity. After she had Saint West, her second child, Kardashian’s public announcements of her weight and how rapidly she was losing weight increased. She began to post her goals for losing weight and her methods for doing so on her app, for millions of people to see and follow. She gave out recommendations on how to lose the most weight. Recently, Kardashian posted a video of herself playing with a choker on her snapchat story, captioning the post, “Guys, we’re having real problems here. See my choker? Look how big it is! My neck even lost weight. Is that wild or what?” She rarely speaks publicly about becoming a better person or having good morals, but mainly about being “better,” in this case better-looking. Although she inspires young women to have confidence and love themselves because of how she flaunts her body on social media, it’s not fair to show the world such insipid, contrasting messages.
Some may make the argument that Kim Kardashian’s body type alone is enough to make her a role model for body positivity. It is true that Kim Kardashian defies many beauty standards by showing people that you don’t have to be unachievably skinny to achieve fame and to be confident, but Kardashian has made many comments implying to others that although confidence is important, losing weight is the best way to feel empowered. In the age of technology, it’s important for everyone to know that being happy with yourself is more important than losing weight, and Kim Kardashian’s message certainly does not help.