Kim Kardashian’s Instagram post showing off her teeny-tiny waist in a corset yesterday was both confusing and alarming. Part of me kept staring at the video wondering how Thierry Mugler managed to squeeze a human into such a thing, while the other part of me wondered how Kardashian’s impressionable young audience would absorb this.
Did I think she was irresponsible for posting it? A little, yes. But actor and activist Jameela Jamil really hit the nail on the head in pointing out that Kardashian likely isn’t aware that she’s being as damaging to young people’s minds as her idols were to her own. After all, it’s not necessarily Kardashian saying this is the definition of beauty. No, the history of the corset and the male gaze’s penchant for a tiny waist did that.
“Kim, like many of us, has had decades of body image issues and obsession” wrote Jamil in her Instagram caption responding to Kardashian’s post. “This has been heavily perpetuated by how much the media scrutinised her and her sisters over their appearances. She isn’t actively trying to harm you. She’s just so harmed and deluded into thinking this is what she needs to look like to be special and beautiful and she’s spilling it out onto her following. Is this wrong? Yes. But I’m not sure she realises that she’s doing to others what her idols did to her, in making her think a tiny waist is the key to femininity and sex appeal.”
Interestingly, Jamil – who has spoken out against the Kardashians in the past – said she had received over 1000 DMs asking her to address the reality star’s post. She said she was really proud that people were recognising that this type of post was damaging.
“It’s because the fact that you’re all messaging me about it, shows my work is done. I haven’t been trying to cancel Kim K. I was always trying to arm you with the knowledge to recognise for yourselves that this is a bullshit expectation of women, developed by the patriarchy. If you know that it’s problematic, reductive and irresponsible for her to perpetuate such a heavily impossible beauty standard to her impressionable fans… then you’re empowered and conscious and don’t need me.”
It’s true. We are coming leaps and bounds. Take for instance Jamil’s response to Khloe Kardashian’s post endorsing a slimming shake from March 2019.
So I’m putting it over to you. Should Kim Kardashian be taking more responsibility before posting a video like this? Where is the line?