When I open up a magazine I am bombarded with a succession of images of starved women in bikinis being accused of anorexia, or of size 10/12 women subject to an onslaught of abuse about their weight. It has become the norm in the press, TV and social media for women’s bodies to be scrutinized in meticulous and barbaric detail. However, when witnessing the incessantly cruel remarks directed towards a pregnant Kim Kardashian, I was shocked and appalled. People who follow celebrity news or watch ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ will find it difficult to have missed the attention Kim has gained for the change in her figure that has accompanied her pregnancy. These same people will also be aware of the incredible pressure placed upon women in the media, the insecurities such intense critique creates and especially Kim Kardashian’s own fragile body-image.
Throughout Kim’s pregnancy she has been accused of being fat and even labeled disgusting for nearing 14 stone whilst carrying another human being. It seems that media has lost touch with reality as it ridicules the 32-year-old’s changing body, forgetting that carrying and nurturing a healthy baby causes drastic in the female body. In turn it seems only common sense to accept that a woman NEEDS to be larger than a size 8 while pregnant. Whilst this may not be conforming to the trend in celebrity appearance, starving yourself in order to keep your figure has terrible consequences for both the mother and baby. Gwyneth Paltrow, amongst many others, has come to Kim’s defense as she continues to be on the receiving end of this worrying attitude expressed in media outlets. However, the prevailing message is still that weight should be a consideration when analyzing a celebrity pregnancy. Instead of celebrating and respecting the privacy of the family, there has been a media frenzy that focuses on Kim’s weight.
What is more worrying is that in Kim’s reaction we are able to see the effects that such pressure places on girls and women. She has had to defend herself in the press, stating to the Daily Mail ‘’There are maybe two or three covers just this week that say I am 200 pounds. I’m like, “You are 60 pounds off here”… It wouldn’t even bother me if I gained all the weight’. In her reaction we see the devastating consequences of such analysis, as well as the strength and conviction needed to combat it. In the last few days Kim has tweeted pictures of her gym, saying “Killed it in the gym today”. Although this may not seem terrible, you have to wonder about the reasons why Kim seems to be exercising to excess, especially in the context of the recent abuse she’s been subjected to. It is all too clear that a pregnant woman should not need to justify her weight, exercise regime or figure to the world.
This outrageous criticism is the latest progression in an already unrealistic and unhealthy body ideal created by fashion institutions and perpetuated by celebrity fascination, media outlets and critics. Women, like the Kardashian girls, are made to believe that size 0 is the ideal and size 8 is the high-street reality. At my own secondary school there was an unprecedented number of young women, my friends included, hospitalized or heavily monitored for anorexia; these ladies themselves cited images in the media as contributing factors to their insecurities. It was only recently that I became aware of the ability of Photoshop to drastically alter women’s figures, so that they project a truly impossible ideal that beautiful, healthy people then aspire to.
Through the continued and somewhat ridiculous insults directed towards a pregnant Kim Kardashian in the past weeks, it has become all too clear that media obsession with weight and image has reached new and intolerable levels. We need to challenge anyone who calls a pregnant woman ‘fat’. A precedent needs to be set; it cannot be the norm to say that a size 12 is fat or that a size 0 is normal. So long as women as beautiful and sexy as Kim are made to feel ashamed of their bodies, instead of celebrating such brilliant life events, there is still work to be done to raise body confidence and bring the focus back to healthy, attractive and obtainable bodies.