Kardashian Photo Controversy Exposes Celebrity Industry's Unfair Beauty Standards


After a photo of Khloe Kardashian garnered attention online earlier this month, the reality star and her team scrambled to remove it, threatening legal action against anyone who shared it on social media.

According to Page Six, the photo featured the youngest Kardashian sister by the pool in a bikini, absent the usual editing or airbrushing. Before her team sought to cover up an image that, heaven forbid, showed a Kardashian looking less than perfect, the public saw the star in all her natural beauty.

“The color edited photo was taken of Khloé during a private family gathering and posted to social media without permission by mistake by an assistant,” Tracy Romulus, the chief marketing officer for KKW Brands, said.

“Khloé looks beautiful but it is within the right of the copyright owner to not want an image not intended to be published taken down.”

Unrealistic Celebrity Beauty Standards

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The controversy surrounding the photo is a reminder of the pressures associated with having such a public lifestyle. A celebrity family like the Kardashians is always on display, even when the cameras are turned off — which means the job to look aesthetically pleasing is never-ending.

Kardashian responded to the situation by posting an Instagram Live video on April 7, where she stood near-naked in front of a mirror to show people that she is not “photoshopped.”

In a statement released alongside the video, Kardashian admitted that she often struggles with her body image, noting that, for years, people have called her “the fat sister.” Kardashian cited this as the reason why she did not want the photo floating around without her approval.

As a member of a prominent family, Khloe Kardashian has worked to portray a perfect public image. Some celebrities may make it look easy, but the pressure of having to appear drop-dead gorgeous every day is not a realistic standard for anyone.

Does celebrity culture push unrealistic beauty standards?

“For over a decade now in photos, every single flaw and imperfection has been micro-analyzed and made fun of to the smallest detail and I am reminded of them everyday by the world,” Kardashian wrote.

“And when I take that criticism to use as motivation to get myself in the best shape of my life and to even help others with the same struggles I am told I couldn’t have done it through hard work and I must have paid for it all.”

The reality star went on to say that she is not looking for “sympathy” but “to be acknowledged for being human.”

“I have realized that we cannot continue to live life trying to fit into the perfect mold of what others have set for us,” she added. “Just do you and make sure your heart is happy.”

That is not to say, however, that the Kardashians have not played a part in promoting the idea that women must atone for their body’s natural flaws.

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Khloe and her sisters have earned most of their wealth by promoting products, with meal replacement products being one of their most ardent endorsements. The Kardashians have promoted appetite suppressant lollipops, flat tummy teas and waist trainers — as if sharing the sisters’ obsession with their appearances is normal for the average woman.

But as the youngest Kardashian sister shared recently, the beauty standards established by her family are so far removed from reality, that even she cannot live up to them.

The reality star is more than a brand name worth billions of dollars. Despite the fame and fortune, Kardashian is still an individual who deserves to feel comfortable in her skin but cannot due to the celebrity industry’s ruthless demands for physical perfection.

Women do not have to live by other people’s standards of beauty. Instead, girls deserve to style their appearance in a way that reflects who they are and encourages a positive self-image.

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Samantha Kamman is an associate staff writer for The Western Journal. She has been published in several media outlets, including Live Action News and the Washington Examiner.
Samantha Kamman is an associate staff writer for The Western Journal. She has been published in several media outlets, including Live Action News and the Washington Examiner.