YOU (South Africa)
Untouched! Khloé Kardashian’s real-life pool snap
The latest kerfuffle about an unedited pic of Khloé Kardashian underlines the daunting beauty standards women are expected to live up to
PICTURES of them are usually all milky and silky with complexions as creamy and unblemished as a baby doll’s. Glossy hair; luscious lips; tanned, toned and taut bodies put on display for their millions of fans. So when a picture of Khloé Kardashian emerged, unfiltered and unPhotoshopped, it quickly went viral. How absolutely normal she looks, many pointed out – with some saying she looked better than the fake version she usually posts to her social media accounts.
But Khloé was having none of it. Within moments her team were hard at work to scrub the image off the internet and threatened legal action against anyone who continued to share it.
The image was shared without Khloé’s permission, Tracy Romulus, chief marketing officer for KKW Brands, says.
“The colour-edited photo was taken of Khloé during a private family gathering and posted to social media without permission by mistake by an assistant.”
Khloé also spoke out about why she wanted it removed from circulation. “When someone takes a photo of you that isn’t flattering 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 also shared a live video of herself jumping around to show what her body looked like to “prove” it was real.
In her lengthy statement, the motherof-one also opened up about her struggles with body image. “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,” she said.
She also recalled some of the insults hurled at her over the years: “Khloé’s the fat 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.” So far, so tragic. But then the beauty influencer touches on the unbearable pressures of “trying to live up to the impossible standards that the public have all set”. And that, critics say, is a bit rich coming from her.
THE Kardashians have long been the subject of public fascination – and not always in positive ways. Khloé and her sisters, Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian West, and Kendall and Kylie Jenner, have been criticised for presenting a standard of beauty that’s impossible for many impressionable women to achieve and men to expect.
In fact, Khloé’s critics have pointed out
she and her sisters are major culprits in creating the very impossible standards she’s complaining about.
Over the years their epic Photoshop fails have raised many an eyebrow. There were those six toes on Kim’s foot in a 2019 photoshoot and the time Kourtney’s one leg appeared dislocated from the rest of her body in a bathtub snap. Just two of many times they’ve been caught nipping in a waist, slimming a thigh, filling out a lip or fixing some or other imagined flaw.
The revelation that Khloé looks just like any other fresh-faced, pretty young woman when unfiltered should be celebrated, critics say. Young women who look up to celebrities like them should know that what they show to the world isn’t real.
“They’re playing a role and to some extent their image actually helps them to create and define this role,” media psychologist and communications professor T Makana Chock told Business Insider.
Although everyone tries to put their best foot forward in the pictures they post – whether choosing a flattering angle, wearing makeup or choosing a filter – some celebrities take it to a dangerous level. “There’s this perception that this is an achievable ideal,” Chock says.
The controversy has also again thrown the spotlight on filters available on social media apps.
“People feel pressured by what society dictates, particularly social media influencers and celebrities, because they set the bar of how people ought to look,” Dr Charity Mkone, a clinical psychologist, tells YOU.
When people use filters they create an illusion, she says, by giving themselves features they don’t have – a pronounced pout, sharp cheekbones – physical features you desire but are not who you are.
Advanced beauty filter tools that use artificial intelligence (AI) to reconfigure facial features have attracted more than 600 million people globally, on Facebook and Instagram and, according to experts, are wreaking psychological damage.
Snapchat was the first social media app to use filters that change faces in real time. It boasts more than 200 million daily users who actively use lenses that tweak facial features.
Medical research has shown people have a tough time separating themselves from the altered caricature they see – a phenomenon known as Snapchat dysmorphia. “It leads to dissatisfaction because you’re creating a version of yourself that doesn’t exist and in reality when people meet you, you’re different from what you look like on social media,” Dr Mkone adds.
“This can result in mental disorders like body dysphoria, a condition that comes from having a warped sense of what the reality of your body image is.
“Psychologically this can cause other forms of mood disorders such as anxiety and depression which affect self-esteem, confidence and self-image.”
KHLOÉ is now encouraging people to defy impossible standards of perfection and, “make sure your heart is happy” – but it’s going to take more than one social media post to fix the problem, especially when she’s unwilling to show her natural beauty to the world.
So what can you do, especially if you have children on social media?
Dr Mkhone, who has previously worked as a clinical psychologist at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, emphasises the important role parents and caregivers have when it comes to monitoring their child’s social media consumption.
“Let’s start with promoting body positivity at home from a young age.”
It isn’t always easy of course, especially when we’re constantly exposed to perfect pictures on sites such as Instagram. But there are now more accounts dedicated to showing what celebs look like before and after Photoshop and filters. Accounts such as @celebface and @beauty. false post images on Instagram and compare similar shots to show just how different celebs can look with a filter or two.
Seeing this might help your child realise that even celebs don’t look like the versions they post on their social media pages. Being less judgemental about your body may be easier when you see the “ideal” celebrity body isn’t even real.
Also try to encourage your child to follow celebs who are open about what their bodies look like, such as actress Sarah Hyland, singer Lizzo, model Ashley Graham and actress Jameela Jamil.
As the blogger behind @celebface puts it: “Nobody is perfect. Celebrities are ordinary people.”