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How Khloe Kardashian has profited from both body positivity and toxic diet culture

Revenge Body with Khloé Kardashian was a show that ran on E! for three seasons from 2017 to 2019. IMDB describes it as a reality TV show during which Khloé helps participants lose weight to get revenge on people who mistreated them when they weighed more. Many of the episodes had low scores, hovering around 3-4/7 on IMDB. Why did the show have such low ratings? Well, the very premise of the show was problematic. It relied on outdated notions that weight determines a person’s value and that they will not be desirable unless they lose weight.

Many people were disappointed to see Khloé at the helm of this show. However, an outcry did not occur until a 2019 interview with Jay Shetty when she exposed that she knew very little about the psychological and physical barriers to weight loss. Khloé said,

 “I can't stand people who are, like, eating a bucket of Haagen-Dazs ice cream and they are like, 'I'm so fat; And like, they won't work out, they won't change their diet, they won't drink more water, they won't whatever, but they're complaining, complaining, complaining."

Honestly, it was disappointing to see someone who didn’t understand the nuances of why weight gain occurs, why some people weigh more than others, and the psychological and genetic factors that might make it hard to lose weight (if you want to) lead a show where she helps people on their weight loss journeys. She was clearly unsympathetic to people who struggle, and this interview made Revenge Body seem like more of a cash grab than an honest attempt to help people.

In October 2016, Khloé launched the clothing brand Good American with Emma Grede. Good American was and is highly profitable, making one million dollars on its first day of sales. In 2017, the brand expanded to other items of apparel, and today the brand sells denim, swim, shoes, loungewear, and activewear. Good American’s profitability is not the only thing that makes it special: its founders’ “values” make it different as well. The Good American website says, “​​We innovated from day one, offering quality, style and substance in every size—00-24. We’re committed to challenging industry norms to bring you a collection that is 100% inclusive, always.” While this sounds like a positive thing, it should be looked at cautiously. 

If Khloé is so dedicated to inclusivity, and as the website also says “representing body acceptance,” why did she launch a TV show that suggests that losing weight is the best way to get revenge on people? If all bodies are to be accepted, why was she making unfair judgments about people in her interview with Jay Shetty? It doesn’t quite align. If people are interested in body acceptance, she will sell you body acceptance, but if the trend is toxic diet culture, she will sell you that too. 

It is no coincidence that 2017 was a time when the body positivity movement was not as widespread as it is now and that there were many people who were still uneducated about it. It is the same trajectory we saw with Kim Kardashian who went from selling Hydroxycut, a weight loss pill, to selling SKIMS, a shapewear brand that claims to “sell solutions for every body.” This is why we should always remember that brands and people do what sells. Most of the time, they would not do the right thing if it was unprofitable.

Hi, I'm Kendall Garnett and I am a senior Biology and Spanish major at Bucknell University. I am also one of two Campus Correspondents/Chapter leaders for HerCampus Bucknell. When I am not busy researching the next big pandemic I like to write culture and entertainment pieces.
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