By Kate Brayden
Celebrities are often paid to endorse certain products, but the beauty industry is by far their most popular clients. We live in an age of social media dangers where one Instagram photo from an influential person can cause sales of the products which they are advertising to skyrocket.
What also must be noted is the health advice which is passed around the internet perpetuated by celebrities does not necessarily have their followers’ best intentions at heart.
Poor messaging can lead to dangerous consequences, and numerous organisations such as the National Eating Disorder Association have branded the Kardashian family’s representation of weight loss products as ‘triggering’ for those who struggle with eating disorders.
Kristina Saffran, who co-founded Project Heal, stated that “To joke about anorexia in any respect is not only wrong but really harmful and dangerous — especially when Kim has so many followers, and many are young, impressionable girls.”
Kim herself has said in the past that people’s criticism of her body is ‘like literally giving me body dysmorphia,’ on an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians,
The NEDA has also claimed that the Kardashian family, mainly Kim, shows the classic signs of body dysmorphia: which is characterised by the extreme preoccupation with your own body’s defects and flaws.
Kim Kardashian being obsessed with her sisters telling her she’s so skinny she looks anorexic on her Instagram story makes me want to throw my phone into outer space
— Best Coast (@BestCoast) July 29, 2018
Kim Kardashian West has had her fair share of controversy, and attention is always on her and the rest of her family when it comes to their bodies and weight. Their brand has mainly revolved around their image, let’s be honest.
Only a privileged and elite few can keep up with the same type of lifestyle as the Kardashians, yet millions of their fans aspire to be and look exactly like them, including by using their weight loss products.
She came under fire in May for endorsing the use of appetite suppressing lollipops, which literally encouraged people to curb their hunger in order to look slim. Now I’m no dietician, but this has to be one of the most unhealthiest things on earth. Her post was later deleted, but featured her recommending the lollipops to 111 million followers, most of them young women.
She also got into trouble in 2012 for advertising diet pills which were known in the medical world for causing more damage than good for the health of those who used them. All it takes is a quick scan through the websites of brands like Boohoo, Nasty Gal, Missguided, Oh Polly etc to see models who look exactly like the Kardashians, which is no coincidence.
They have huge selling power, and a powerful influence over their followers. Unfortunately, this also includes the Kardashian attitudes towards weight loss.
How I maximize fat loss https://t.co/Bvgpz1QerJ
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) May 29, 2018
“How I maximize fat loss” link to cardio workouts
They have the most expensive personal trainers in the world, the best stylists, photographers that follow them around constantly to get the best shots and angles so that they look their best- but it’s not the real world. They are perpetuating a reality that is totally airbrushed and staged, and their endorsement weight loss products simply make money off the unhealthy ways in which women look at their bodies.
Their platform could be used in a much more positive way to help their young fans gain self-confidence as opposed to dramatically changing their appearance to look thinner or curvier in places that literally only plastic surgery could manage.
Kardashian’s original controversial tweet wrote: ”Got cravings? Well girl, tell them to #suckit because our NEW Appetite Suppressant Lollipops are going to keep you in check. Best bit? They’re only 35 calories per pop!”
The lollipops brand themselves as containing Satiereal, an appetite suppressant derived from the Crocus Sativus plant. However, the lollipops haven’t reviewed by the FDA, so it’s unknown if they’re even safe to use, yet they are being endorsed by the most famous family in America.
Kim Kardashian and her sisters Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall and Kylie have also acted as brand ambassadors for companies selling Sugar Bear Hair gummies, waist trainers and Flat Tummy Tea, to name a few.
Flat Tummy Co. has gained its own share of criticism for the negative messaging which its campaigns emanate: among them claiming that vegetables aren’t a good way to lose weight.
They sell an impossible ideal to women, and yet the most followed people in the world on Instagram endorse their messages.
Actress Jameela Jamil has frequently criticised Kim Kardashian for her social media posts on how to lose weight, as if women need to take up less space in the world to have any worth.
She has described the Kardashian way of social media life as ‘recycling self-hatred’ and ‘selling us self consciousness’.
Sharing the tweet of Kim’s fat loss post, the actress, journalist and activist questioned ‘How do we minimize this woman’s bulls***?’
How do we minimize this woman’s bullshit? When will she just love herself and stop obsessing about how to “fix” problems that were never there? She was always beautiful. She’s never seen it because she is broken by the SAME society that she now contributes more toxicity to. https://t.co/z2tzcyZIMN
— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) May 30, 2018
She’s got a point tbh.
It comes after the British actress previously described Kim, 37, as ‘terrible and toxic influence’ for her weight loss endorsements, which are also false advertising at its finest.
The Kardashians have been accused of perpetuating an eating disorder culture numerous times before, most recently in May when Kim Kardashian was told by her sisters that she looked ‘anorexic’, to which her reply was ‘THANK YOU!!!!’. If that isn’t unsettling, I don’t know what is.
Eating disorders are a very real issue for a lot of young people and to see Kim Kardashian actively encouraging her fans to develop an unhealthy relationship with food is terrifying and gravely concerning. pic.twitter.com/hhFYBbm8hL
— Liam Hackett (@DiageoLiam) May 16, 2018
Dr Liam Hackett, activist and CEO of ‘Ditch the Label’ has claimed that over 1.25 million people in the UK are struggling with eating disorders currently.
He spoke about the damage of the Kardashian clan’s endorsements of weight loss products as deeply concerning and reckless:
At the end of the day, it bears meaning to think of women’s worth as being much more than what they weigh on the scales, but do the Kardashians truly believe that themselves? I doubt it.