As someone who was significantly affected by media, attaining the ideal body type, dieting and exercising to lose weight, and taking it to the extreme, I know how celebrities influence millions of people. Whether it be through behaviors, public statements, or even photographs, they are followed and aped so closely. However, when a person, like myself, is replicating similar actions to that of a celebrity, and has a genetic predisposition and a particular personality, then one becomes susceptible to developing an eating disorder.
According to an article in Huffington Post, “Dying to be thin in our celebrity-driven culture has become prevalent not only with your daughters and sons, but also with your friends and relatives, including other mothers…Such pressure, especially on your teen, who is lacking coping skills and self-validation, can lead to problems like anorexia, bulimia, and body dysmorphia, which can take years of therapy to address.”
Therefore, when Kim Kardashian West, an American television and social media personality, actress, socialite, and model, tweeted out multiple times her latest obsession with losing weight, I cringed. And, not because I didn’t understand her frustration, pain, and fear of not shedding her pregnancy weight, because, trust me, I do. But, because 10.5K people liked this specific tweet, while 1,161 people retweeted it. For all of you non-savvy social media users–that means a lot of f*in people saw the comment she made, clicked “like,” and even re-shared it. The public statement she expressed needing to lose 70 pounds quickly through exercise and an Atkins plan went viral.
Though her intent may have been completely positive and harmless, even maybe to receive motivation from her followers, she is, without question, negatively affecting many lives. It is a celebrity like Kim Kardashian West who could be a key leader in the change of media portrayal in women. If only she focused on her post-pregnancy body and the natural, healthy increase in weight gain in a positive light, her attitude would instantly compel other women to think similarly about their body image. In addition, if she didn’t publicly express her desire and focus of losing a certain number of pounds and attaining a certain weight, but instead, on how she felt, this would also contribute to a more positive mentality among women and their bodies.
Still, many women struggle to attain an ideal body type. They are willing to make significant sacrifices to reach it, whether it be diet, exercise, surgery, or even photoshop. Through the technology world and social media, children and adults have instant access and exposure to images that reveal beauty in the eyes of our publishers. This, in turn, creates self-doubt and questions about how we look and how we are supposed to look minute by minute.
I wish Kim Kardashian West, with as many followers as she has on Twitter, specifically, would tweet out that, although, she knows she is beautiful and feels blessed to have carried and delivered a healthy baby, she doesn’t feel her best. In fact, this is only natural postpartum, or after putting on extra pounds you didn’t foresee gaining. Therefore, as a result, she is going to implement small changes in her diet and exercise to regain her confidence and feel better. If we focus on how we feel, instead how much we weigh and/or want to weigh, we would, without doubt, decrease the number of eating disorders that develop and exist. I believe the time is near, and I will continue to be an advocate for portraying beauty in a number of different ways–not just how tall, lean, and flawless you appear.