Kim Kardashian: Fashion Icon?

Kim Kardashian has always been a celebrity that has garnered widespread criticism across fashion and celebrity media. Her family’s TV program and her constant presence in the media make her a personality unlikely to be ignored and instead celebrated in the online community. The Kardashian Klan has brought in their own lines of clothing and makeup collaborations with the biggest brands in the industry, showcasing their influence. While high fashion does criticise them for their lack of appreciation for craft, focusing instead on the ‘Instagrammability’, the fact of the matter is that the Kardashians are immensely popular, and their total revenue is completely outrageous, gaining the following and recognition from even the most formidable names in fashion like Anna Wintour.

It is not possible to see them as reality TV stars anymore, and Kim’s high profile wedding to Kanye West elevated her into the most fashionable crowds. Although not universally popular, Kim has been praised in the past for diversifying body image depictions in social media and fashion advertising. Her (controversial) naked cover for Paper Magazine quickly became an object of fascination and the subject of memes and parodies on the Internet, showcasing the endless public fascination with her image. The appeal of the Kim K body has created body trends for the exaggerated hourglass shape equal to what the ‘J-Lo Bum’ did for body trends in the 2000’s. Kim makes a lot of money by posting photographs of her body on social media while promoting fashion brands, beauty products and other items. This is definitely questionable, especially given the influence social media has on body image, possibly convincing more impressionable viewers with a questionable body image. While her pictures are mostly airbrushed, many still aspire to have her body, and see the skin-tight fashion outfits and revealing pictures as inspiration for workouts, diets, and crazy waist corsets.

“While her pictures are mostly airbrushed, many still aspire to have her body, and see the skin-tight fashion outfits and revealing pictures as inspiration for workouts, diets, and crazy waist corsets”

Her gaffe/reveal showed Kim without the typical airbrushing, and the picture led to a furore on the Internet. The offending shot made fans angry, losing her 100,000 followers with accusations of using Photoshop for years to hide her real body from the fans. Unabashed, Kim K, doesn’t seem to have much of a reaction to the paparazzi shot. She posted that she is ’empowered’ by her body. While it is welcome to admire people who feel comfortable in their own skin, it questions the idea of respect for women who use their Photoshopped and altered body to endorse products but are then surprised when the idealised image they have created over time is shown as false, encouraging negative reactions from their fans.

While Instagram idealised accounts and skewed social media influencers encourage the portrayal of the most aesthetically beautiful body, it is not right to lie to people by refusing to show your true form for years and hiding behind edited images. Kim K cannot be faulted for creating a highly successful personal brand and some amazing collections, but her tendency towards body altering does make you doubt her as a physical role model since she is not happy with her natural self. If your body has been altered, it shouldn’t form the example that is then promoted to millions of women who want to (ultimately) also look perfect because they too may feel uncomfortable because of the image you create.

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