For over a decade, we’ve watched the Kardashian-Jenner clan erect novel beauty standards as they climbed from their Hollywood-adjacent social stature to the first family of reality television. The prosperity of their empire (sans Kylie Jenner‘s fall from grace as the world’s youngest “self-made” billionaire) has left no stone unturned when it comes to dominating every avenue, and, even the most jaded critics cannot escape the ineliminable “Kardashian Effect.” Subconsciously or willingly, we have all in some way acquiesced to the fabled perfectionism that we’ve consumed at large across the screens of our televisions and phones. However, this past weekend and in recent months, we’ve watched the siblings face relentless criticism as the facade they’ve long upheld begins to publicly fracture.
On Friday, June 4, TikTok user Alex Kelly posted a clip to the platform of Kim Kardashian’s advert for her shape and loungewear brand Skims. In the video, which has now amassed over 2.1 million likes, Kim is laying down as she flaunts the brand’s new underwear collection, complimenting the way the ultra stretchy fabric “bounces right back.” While gliding her finger along her body’s contour, Kelly points to the unusual distortion of the 40-year-old’s index finger as it surfaces the curvature of her hip. “You know what bounces right back? Your finger after it completely distorts,” she laughingly said in her post. A spokesperson for the brand, which touts a “for every body” motto, told Page Six , “The Skims commercial that aired last week featuring the Fits Everybody collection did initially have an error as a result of the video losing its quality during the uploading process.” Emphasizing the founder’s wishes for her waist to not be edited, they continued, “Immediately after it was noticed by the team, the video was pulled, and the glitch-free version was uploaded and ran for the remainder of the time on air. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused Kim and our customers.”
Regardless of the subsequent clarification from the brand, the video has been quickly engulfed into a social media frenzy that jolted content creators (the internet’s officially unofficial governing body) to speak out on how digital retouching perpetuates false body images on our impressionable society. “I’ve spent enough time in this space now to recognize and have a keen eye for these slip ups,” Charlotte Peirce, a body positivity and self-love enthusiast posted to her Instagram. “But unfortunately today, a young/fragile/impressionable mind will stumble across this ad and not see it. Instead they will be completely consumed with comparison.” Like Pierce divulges, the constant modifications may seem harmless for their brand’s exclusivity but the naivete of consumers compel us all to subject ourselves to standards not even their towering allure can reach in reality.
But since the Skims team refutes all claims of photoshopping, let’s take instead another sibling into question: Khloe Kardashian’s recent PR fiasco. Back in April, the 36-year-old mistakenly posted an unedited and unfiltered version of herself posing poolside onto her Instagram. Khloe’s team whirled into a tailspin and scrambled to erase any evidence of the photo off social media. In response, she wrote, “The photo that was posted this week is beautiful. But as someone who has struggled with body image her whole life, when someone takes a photo of you that isn’t flattering in bad lighting or doesn’t capture your body the way it is after working so hard to get it to this point — and then shares it to the world — you should have every right to ask for it not to be shared — no matter who you are.” And although this may have seemed like her first corrective step in the right direction, it was to no avail as speculations rose that she responded with a supposedly edited video to proclaim her body autonomy. Moreover, in an article GRAZIA culture editor Channing Hargrove wrote on the matter, “This would be a totally fair and valid point if the Kardashian/Jenner family hadn’t put the pressure on themselves with their own editing and modifying antics.”