TW: Disordered eating.
From their surrogacy journeys to their social media dramas, there isn't much that the Kardashian-Jenners haven't shared with fans, particularly when it comes to their TV shows, Keeping Up With The Kardashians and their newer venture, The Kardashians. Through these shows, we’ve seen the family at their most chaotic, candid and vulnerable across the years. But now, more than a decade on from when they first shot to fame on screen, some viewers have admitted to boycotting the family's show due to an increasingly prevalent storyline in this season: Kim and Khloé Kardashian's weight loss.
To recap, in this week's episode we watched as the pair prepared for the 2022 Met Gala. During a dress fitting, a designer tells Khloé that she has a "teensy" waist with measurements smaller than a model, whilst Kim comments on wearing a corset and says you "don't need to breathe", prompting fans to point out how triggering the scene was.
"I had to stop watching this episode because it was all about weight, from the Marilyn Monroe dress to including that Khloe’s measurements are smaller than the models they usually dress," one viewer wrote on TikTok alongside a clip from the show's most recent episode. "It's all so disgusting and unhealthy," the person added in the caption of the TikTok, which has since racked up just under 250k likes and over 500 shares.
In the comments – of which there are 843 – other viewers agreed. "I like the Kardashians. I really do. but this season all they did was call each other skinny like it was all that mattered," someone replied, with another writing: "They are obsessing over being super skinny in this new series and I’m over it honestly."
Not everyone was in agreement though, with some flocking to defend Kim and Khloé, highlighting that living under such public scrutiny can't be easy. "I think she can be happy about it, if she has struggled with being overweight her entire life, she can be happy that she has worked to be how she’s now," someone said, referencing Khloé's recent change in appearance. "We normal women do not have an idea how under pressure they are," another added.
Commenting on the backlash she received for dropping 16lbs to fit into one of Marilyn Monroe's dresses at the Met Gala earlier this year, Kim previously likened her change in appearance to actors who lose or gain weight for a role. "To me it was like, 'OK, Christian Bale can do it for a movie role and that is acceptable'," she said. "Even Renée Zellweger gained weight for a role. It’s all the same to me. I wasn’t saying, 'Hey everyone, why don’t you go lose this weight in a short period of time?'"
As for her own weight loss, Khloé said last year that after struggling with an "unhealthy relationship with food" she decided to overhaul her lifestyle. "When I was younger and was sad, I would eat — I was an emotional eater. And then I hated the way I felt after that. I was almost punishing myself for binging or having a bag of chips," she said to Health magazine. "I had tried every diet under the sun."
"When I started working out, I decided to make some lifestyle changes," the mum-of-two added. "So I'd say, for example, this week I am just going to do one thing — I'm just going to cut out sugar. Then, maybe I'd try to do it for a month. After that, I'd try to incorporate another healthy change."
The reality TV star continued: "At first your body is, like, dying. But emotionally and mentally, the release that I got was worth it. I quickly realised how good I feel when I'm consistent with it."
Despite the last decade being dominated by body confidence and body types in the media aligned with the 'BBL' aesthetic, in recent months there's been an increasing focus on 'thin being in' – although, this goes way beyond the Kardashian-Jenners. In fact, this month a New York Post article – which has since received plenty of backlash – seemingly praised the idea that "heroin chic is back". Several celebrities, from Jameela Jamil to Fearne Cotton, have rejected this narrative, and as Jameela puts it – your body type is not a trend.
"The media industry often idealises thinner bodies which can be very damaging for those affected by eating disorders," Tom Quinn, Beat's Director of External Affairs, told Cosmopolitan UK.
"Whilst eating disorders are complex mental illnesses and not every person affected will have negative thoughts about their body, we know that these trends can serve as 'inspiration' for somebody currently unwell to engage in harmful behaviours to try and achieve a body goal or target," Quinn explained. "Trying to achieve unrealistic body ideals can also contribute to an eating disorder developing for the first time for somebody who is already vulnerable."
If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s health, you can contact Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677 or beateatingdisorders.org.uk.
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