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Alanna Martine Kilkeary / Her Campus
Mental Health

Met Gala Faux : A Hot Take on Kim K’s Outfit and Diet Culture

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

For those who have not spent the past 24 to 36 hours obsessively pouring over the details of the Met Gala 2022, here’s some quick headlines to get you up to speed : 

“Kim Kardashian wears Marilyn Monroe’s JFK dress as Met Gala celebrates gilded age”

– Rafqa Touma, The Guardian. 

“Kardashian Lost 16lbs Before The Met Gala”

– Laken Brooks, Forbes. 

Whether you like her or not, Kim is a cultural icon in the United States. She is known for regularly setting trends and pushing the boundaries of American fashion. She has, nevertheless, been hypersexualized since the beginning of her career. With the media scrutinizing her figure and beauty at every turn, it became less and less about what she was wearing and more about how she looked wearing it. 

Wearing the garment was a gutsy move that went beyond boldness and essentially guaranteed a hot Twitter topic. Even non-fashion nerds would be impressed to learn that the dress holds the record for being the most valuable one ever sold at auction. Requesting to wear it to the Met Gala was a planned decision, one that ensured plenty of heated debate over the appropriateness of cosplaying as a Hollywood legend in one of the said legend’s most legendary garments.

But here is where the controversy train derailed: Kardashian didn’t just wear the dress and pose; she made a whole song and dance about not eating carbs or sugar for 3 weeks in order to drop 16  pounds to fit into the dress (to note here, 5+ pounds a week of weight loss is not very healthy, especially on her frame) and how after the event she was having pizza and donut party in her hotel room. And with that, comes *the* question. 

Why Do Women Feel Pressured to Crash Diet In The Name Of Fashion?

To say there’s a lot to unpack here is an understatement of the disordered-eating century—and boy, has it been a century. As women develop into adulthood, the pressure to seem slender in order to fit into gowns can have a severe effect on their self-image. We let the garment wear ourselves rather than the other way around when we try to squirm into a too-tight outfit. Fashion can be a liberating and creative avenue for expressing oneself through attire that helps them look and feel their best. When we try to fit our bodies into clothing, however, we may feel inadequate or frightened if the apparel does not fit us adequately. 

The amount of coverage and talk there was about dieting restrictions and flippancy while doing unhealthy things to fit into a dress for a 5 minute walk was the only major remembrance people took from that red carpet. Like me, they weren’t really thrilled about Kardashian’s latest body-centric misstep, but we all agree that Kardashian alone isn’t the root cause of our cultural obsession with weight and society’s messed up beauty ideals. (Is it not pretty twisted that Kim K just said she lost 16lbs to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s dress… and Marilyn is constantly touted as a ‘plus-size icon’?)

Media Consumption’s Grand Entry

When the Kardashians arrived on the scene, there was a ray of hope for women as their media/ cultural footprint caused an acceptance or even pride for curves. They welcomed change from the heroin-chic era we’d just left and the stick-thin (Eurocentric) ideal that many of us were still chasing to more diverse bodies. As a public figure and supposed role model, Kardashian has the opportunity to challenge all the toxic bullshit that got us here; so far, she hasn’t seized it. 

She is part of the same twisted society as the rest of us, and she’s been fed the same fatphobic, thin-obsessed poison we’ve all encountered since birth. 

Her crash diet and accompanying commentary could be dismissed as an eye-roll-inducing PR stunt or a harmless short-term crash diet before a big event by the typical media consumer. But, this is serious news for the ones who have struggled with disordered eating or are well aware of the undeniable and deep impact these stunts can have on the emotional and physical health of millions. 

As a person with control over her own body, she should not have to ask permission from her fans to lose weight. However, Kardashian’s comments about her weight loss methods perpetuate diet culture. It can be argued that it’s not a celebrity or influencer’s job to display healthy habits, but then we’d be ignoring the vital part media consumption plays in our society. 

Reinforcing thinness at all costs—for anyone, but especially for women at this time—isn’t just a bunch of nonsense. It’s an age-old strategy for distracting, demoralizing, and exterminating women (eating disorders are among the most fatal of psychiatric illnesses), as well as profiting off our fears (e.g. flat-tummy tea products and waist trainers). Kardashian did not invent this strategy, nor is she solely responsible for deconstructing a broken system, but as a public figure, she must play a role. On the plus side, a vigorous debate has erupted from all sides.

With that said, to all the young, impressionable girls who are struggling with their body image and relationship with food; it’s okay to size up in the dress, you don’t have to restrict your intake for weeks, or wear a sauna suit daily to fit it. Glamourizing disordered habits has got to stop.

Priyal Nanda

Delhi South '23

19| Economics Major "I don't know how much value I have in this universe, but I do know that I've made a few people happier than they would have been without me, and as long as I know that, I'm as rich as I ever need to be." - Robin Williams, 'Mork and Mindy' 1978
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