Khloe Kardashian: victim or culprit of beauty standards?

Amira Turner, Backpage Editor

In the age of social media, people have never been more aware of how they look. Whether it’s your casual acquaintance’s perfect body or a supermodel’s professional photos, it’s impossible to escape the high expectations set by platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or TikTok. At the helm of these expectations are the Kardashians, a family born and bred for envy-inducing beach photos and ‘unfiltered’ selfies. So when a Kardashian begins to feel the pressure of the standards they’ve been perpetuating, who’s to blame?

On April 6, Mary Jo (grandmother to Khloe Kardashian) posted an unedited candid photo of her granddaughter. In the image Khloe wore a brown bikini, her hair was pulled into a casual ponytail. The picture wasn’t a Vogue exclusive, but Khloe looked good. Her stomach was flat and her hips were curvy. Sure there may have been a stretch mark here or there, maybe a peak of cellulite, but Khloe looked good—at least that’s what I thought. However, Khloe quickly made sure the post was removed, and sent out lawyers to try to wipe the photo from the internet. 

Why was Khloe’s reaction so extreme? Because, despite how normal the photo appeared to most, it was a stark contrast from her appearance in the rest of her social media posts. When the unedited photo of Khloe surfaced then quickly vanished, there was online uproar. Among millions of online opinions, most of them fit into either the idea that Khloe looked great, or that Khloe was normally guilty of heavy photoshop.

This kind of controversy isn’t new; back in March, Khloe came under fire for posting a selfie in which she looked unrecognizable. Many claimed the photo was either highly edited, or that she had undergone plastic surgery. I can’t say whether or not those claims are true, but it’s clear that the Kardashian clan’s perfectly curated image is not one that is indicative of natural beauty or effortlessness. 

Khloe quickly came online to defend her appearance in a statement where she blamed the situation on society’s unrealistic beauty standards. While I agree that society as a whole has a major issue with how we view bodies (especially those of women) in this situation I have a hard time sympathizing with Khloe.

And that’s because unrealistic body standards are fed to people through the entertainment industry. As a TV and social media star, Khloe is responsible for the content she pushes out to her 137 million followers. While she hasn’t been afforded the privilege of privacy, she had been afforded the privilege of a platform. Instead of using her platform to speak out against the beauty standards she has struggled with and sharing a more raw reflection of her life, she chooses to post only the most flattering photos that perfectly sculpt Khloe into the person she wants people to see.

As a teenager who has struggled with my body image, seeing Khloe react so negatively to a photo of her natural body was disappointing. While I may not be the biggest Kardashian fan, I’m well aware of their lifestyle, and the impact they have on millions of people in my peer group. Khloe’s actions are observed by teenagers around the world, a generation of kids that are trying to advocate for body positivity. Instead of championing the normalization of bodies in their natural state, Khloe chose to condemn her body, setting an example for her fans that pushes the body positivity movement back further.