Photo via Getty Images
Earlier this week, the internet was occupied by a viral story that centered on–whose else?–the Kardashians. Yes, we know the Kardashians are controversial and over-exposed and morally questionable. But this time, this Kardashian-related story sparked a much-needed discussion about Instagram and body dysmorphia.
The story started off with someone, somehow leaking an “unflattering” (i.e. unretouched) photo of Khloe Kardashian on to the internet.
In the photo, Khloe Kardashian is makeup-free, wearing a barely-there bikini. However, it was different than Khloe’s other photos, as no one photoshopped it within an inch of its life.
Like with many Kardashian photos, internet-users shared, reposted and criticized the photo on the internet. But this time, instead of ignoring its existence (like most celebrities would do), the Kardashians fought back. They contacted multiple bloggers and Instagrammers and threatened them with legal action if they didn’t take the photo down.
What internet users found so weird about these threats is that they were over a picture that many people saw to be pretty, natural, and normal.
In fact, many people preferred the photo over Khloe’s usual photos which many claimed to be over-edited, overly-made-up, and unrealistic. Not to mention, Khloe Kardashian has a conventionally attractive body that many–if not most–people would be more than happy to have. This seemed to be a classic case of Instagram and body dysmorphia.
The fact that Khloe and the Kardashian machine were going out of their way to try and scrub this perfectly acceptable photograph from the internet was alarming. “…It makes me so sad for those who think that their IG is real life and compare themselves to edited pics,” wrote one Twitter user. “She looks gorgeous & happy in this pic, wish we’d see more like this.”
On Thursday, Khloe Kardashian took to her Instagram page to write a lengthy essay describing her struggle with her body image.
Khloe posted multiple un-edited videos of herself with the following caption: “Hey guys. This is me and my body unretouched and unfiltered. This 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 it 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.”
She 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.”
“‘Khloe is the fat sister’, ‘Khloe is the ugly sister’, ‘Her dad must not be her real dad because she looks so different’,” she listed the much discussed topics she’s heard throughout her life. “‘The only way she could have lost that weight must have been from surgery’. Should I go on?”
While the essay goes on, she concluded it with: “My body, my image and how I choose to look and what I want to share is my choice. It’s not for anyone to decide or judge what is acceptable anymore.”
While we applaud Khloe Kardashian for speaking her truth, the ultra-edited versions of “her image” that she usually puts out perpetuate the very problem she claims to fight against.
Yes, what she does with her body–and how she presents it–is unequically her choice, but it is a choice that has a lasting impact on young women and girls.
Anyone can relate to feeling undesirable, criticized, and bullied over the way you look. But the solution shouldn’t be contributing to the problem of Instagram unreality with altered photos that present an impossible version of reality.
We hope Khloe Kardashian–like every woman–finds peace with her body. One day, maybe she’ll have the strength to accept herself the way she is–unedited flaws and all.
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