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Khloé Kardashian released a statement (that pretty much no one asked for) on April 7 following her involvement in a gigantic, life-altering scandal that astonished us all. Oh wait, no, it was because her grandma posted a photo of her on social media that she thought was unflattering. Which, actually, most everyone can probably relate to.

In response to this picture circulating the internet, Khloé uploaded videos showing off her abs in a poorly-lit bathroom to prove to the world that she is, in fact, ripped, and posted a long essay about the situation alongside these videos.

My heart did go out to her while reading her post. She talked about how she’s been called the “fat sister” countless times in her life and has been subjected to a barrage of hurtful comments about her body. These remarks have horribly damaged her self-esteem and without a doubt led to the many issues she has with her self-image. She asks for people to acknowledge her humanity, which we definitely all should, because she’s right—no one should be body shamed no matter their privilege or celebrity status. Everyone deserves to feel confident and comfortable in their own skin.

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However, what she failed to do was take responsibility for how she and her family have played a massive role in creating and reinforcing unrealistic body expectations—insecurities which they happily profit off of by promoting products like waist trainers and flat tummy teas. We can recognize her humanity, her personal struggles, and her right to privacy while also pointing out the moral responsibilities that come with having a platform that large. 

Khloé complains in her post about the criticism she receives that “‘the only way she could have lost that weight must have been from surgery.’” I have no doubt that she works hard in the gym and makes the effort to eat healthy—sure, surgery is not the only way she maintains her frame. But she needs to stop pretending like she and her family didn't also have considerable help from their plastic surgeon. And from filters and photoshop. 

Yes, I understand that people want to put their best foot forward on social media. And if Khloé’s not comfortable enough yet with that picture of her being on the internet, then sure, take it down. But the problem with this specific incident is that it’s indicative of a much larger problem in our society. The current issue with influencer social media culture is that the standard has expanded beyond what’s even naturally possible for women—so much so that a cute, unedited pic being posted onto the internet is such a serious incident that it requires a team of lawyers and cease and desist letters.  

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Because really, why should she be ashamed of that photo? She wasn’t mid-sneeze and didn’t have broccoli in her teeth. She looked beautiful—which has been the general consensus I’ve heard from people who saw the picture. What’s the big deal?

Instead, a message was sent to her 136 million Instagram followers that cellulite or a little extra tummy fat (in her case, a practically microscopic amount) is indeed something to be embarrassed about.

At the end of the day, I feel bad for Khloé and her sisters. They are held captive by the very same body standards they helped create—and it’s clearly not good for their emotional health.

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But mostly I feel bad for all the little girls growing up in the age of Instagram Influencers who are being taught that they have to live up to these impossible standards or else be ashamed of their bodies.  

Senior at the University of Kansas studying English and journalism & editor of Her Campus KU. You can find me hiding in the Watson Library study carrels or wandering around HomeGoods avoiding all responsibilities.
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