Earlier this week, a candid photo of Khloe Kardashian in a leopard-print bikini was mistakenly shared on social media. His team tried unsuccessfully to clean up all traces of the image after it was allegedly posted by one of his assistants.
In the unedited photo, Kardashian is smiling softly at the camera, looking toned and refreshingly natural – which many of us would consider a good snap. There are no impossible curves or weirdly convex hips characteristic of the typical content she posts. Still, for the Keeping Up With the Kardashians personality, the photo didn’t suit him enough to claim it was copyright infringement because it had been shared without his permission. But the image spread quickly, despite attempts to remove it from Twitter and Reddit based on the copyright claim, according to the BBC.
“When someone takes an unflattering photo of you and then shares it with the world – you should have the right to ask that it not be shared – no matter who you are,” Kardashian wrote in an Instagram post. She also shared a live video of her unedited body to show “all of this is not photoshopped,” as she wrote in a comment on the social media platform.
Kardashian’s efforts to keep her image carefully curated and the tremendous effort the public will put into exposing her are two symptoms of the same larger problem: how relentless and pervasive policing of women’s bodies is. .
After trying to remove a photo of herself mistakenly posted to social media, Kardashian responded to comments on the internet with a video showing her unedited body. Credit: By Khloe Kardashian / Instagram
For many celebrities, their bodies become commodities to be admired, worshiped, and monetized. The culture of fame is often particularly brutal for women in upholding these claims, although many argue that the Kardashians have built careers by joining them. Their image has been perfected in order to inspire their millions of subscribers to buy their detox tea or hair growth supplements.
But it’s a losing battle trying to force something as mutable and alive as a human body into these rigid product standards. So apps like FaceTune, the ubiquitous photo editing software capable of convincingly capturing a waistline with two swipes of a finger, fill the void when reality is short.
“I love a good filter, good lighting and editing here and there.” Kardashian continued in her statement. “The same way I put on makeup and do my nails, or wear a pair of heels to present myself to the world as I want to be seen.”
For some, just knowing the existence of tools like FaceTune is enough to lessen the negative impact these amazingly sculpted selfies have on us. But for others, like the 1.5 million people who follow @celebface – the Instagram account dedicated to exposing celebrities who tamper with their photos – there’s an unsettling sense of joy that comes with unmasking someone. In August, when @celebface posted a series of unflattering snaps of Romanian influencer Norvina, followers flocked to the comments. “Wow. What a fucking train wreck,” one person wrote. “Scary asf. Is that human?” another posted.
Khloe wrote on Instagram that she has suffered “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 herself and other family members. “In truth, the constant pressure, ridicule and judgment all my life to be perfect and to meet other people’s standards of my appearance has been too much to take,” she wrote in the Instagram post. “’Khloe is the fat sister.’ “Khloe is the ugly sister.” Should I continue? “
Whether the opinions are overtly disparaging or veiled as praise, an almost constant stream of comments about one’s body can be harmful. Last May, singer Adele’s frenzied response to weight loss was an uncomfortable example of the false sense of closeness that comes with stardom – the changes in appearance are warranted for audience evaluation. The avalanche of “positive” comments that followed Adele’s new figure could also have been read as a not-so-subtle criticism of how her body previously looked.
There is no great resolution when these betraying images circulate online (despite the exhilaration of the revelation). The more we castigate and militate against these images, the harder difficult celebrities like Kardashian will work to keep the masquerade going.