The great lengths Kardashian will go to maintain her carefully curated image and the great lengths the public will go to expose her are two symptoms of the same wider issue: how relentless and pervasive the policing of women’s bodies really is.
After trying to remove a photo of herself that was mistakenly posted to social media, Kardashian responded to internet comments with a video showing her unedited body. Credit: From Khloe Kardashian/Instagram
For many celebrities, their bodies become products to be admired, worshipped and monetized. Fame culture is often particularly brutal to women in upholding these demands, though many would argue that the Kardashians have built a career by adhering to them. Their image has been perfected in order to inspire their millions of followers to buy their detox tea or hair-growth supplements.
But it’s a losing battle to try and force something so mutable and alive as a human body into these rigid product standards. So apps like FaceTune, the ubiquitous photo-editing software able to convincingly snatch a waistline in two swipes of a finger, fill the gap when reality comes up short.
“I love a good filter, good lighting and an edit here and there.” Kardashian continued in her statement. “The same way I throw on some make-up and get my nails done, or wear a pair of heels to present myself to the world the way I want to be seen.”
Khloe wrote on Instagram that she has sustained “constant ridicule” and is often compared to her sisters Kim and Kourtney. Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU/Getty Images
Kardashian openly admits to struggling with the frequent comparisons drawn between her and other family members. “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 wrote in the Instagram post. “‘Khloe is the fat sister.’ ‘Khloe is the ugly sister.’… Should I go on?”
There’s no grand resolution when these betraying images circulate online (despite how intoxicating the reveal is). The more we castigate and weaponize these pictures, the harder celebrities like Kardashian will work to keep up the charade.