Khloe Kardashian’s show “Revenge Body” is about to launch on the E! Network.
She’s lost all this weight and can fit into whatever size clothes after her breakup with Lamar. She can now fit into a hot pair of jeans and it’s a big middle finger to her exes and anyone who ever called her the “fat Kardashian.”
You know what? I get it why Khloe’s doing it. Because I was there once. I was a Khloe. I was much younger than her, of course. Maybe around 13 or 14. But I remember being the “fat” one. In fact, I’ll never forget it. I remember being the one who stuck out like a sore thumb when compared to everyone around me.
I looked so different to everyone else. I had developed adult curves at a young age. I had DD cup boobs by the time I started Year 8. I wasn’t getting taller. And I wasn’t a size 8, like many of the other girls my age.
One day I got sick of it. I was packed to the brim with disdain for who I was. I wanted to be someone else. Anyone else. I was trapped in this awkward, developing body and I didn’t know how to deal with it.
All the messaging I saw in society was thin, thin, thin. Magazines, television, movies, social media accounts, posters.
There was nobody my age who looked like me in the popular media. Everyone who played a teenager was hot and tiny and dressed to impress. And they certainly weren’t ethnic like me. Or had pimples. Or sore boobs. Or irregular periods. Or anything that resembled my reality.
So what did I do? I succumbed to the pressure. I decided that the best idea was to change myself. To mould myself into someone else entirely. To change my voice, my clothes, my body. Everything. Because who I was obviously wasn’t good enough. Pretty much the premise of “Revenge Body.” Change yourself so you’ll finally get that attention or affirmation from someone else.
And that is so wrong on so many levels.
How is making your goal the approval of others ever going to fulfill you? What happens when the compliments stop? When people stop taking notice of the changes to your fashion, your face or your body? What happens when people stop caring and move on? Do you keep changing yourself to gain their approval?
Because the goal was never for you. It was never for your own sense of achievement. It was to prove to someone else that you could do it. And then when the initial rush goes away there’s nothing but loneliness and disappointment. Your problems didn’t go away. Some of them actually got worse.
I wish when I was in those early years of highschool, when I believed I was ugly and unloved, that I’d had someone who stopped me in my tracks, pulled me aside and said: “Hey girl, don’t get down on yourself. Changing your body isn’t going to solve your problems. Being someone you’re not isn’t going to make you happy. In fact, it’s just going to make it harder for you to rediscover who you really are when you’re older.”
I wish there’d been someone there to say: “Place less focus on what your body looks like and the weight you are and place more focus on what your body can do. What training can do for your body and your mind. Focus on how nutritious foods make you feel.”
But there wasn’t someone there to stop me in my tracks. Or at least, I didn’t find that person in time.
I feel like now, seven years on, it’s better. We have campaigns like the Dove Campaign that show an array of body types and ethnicities in the mainstream media. We have social media influencers like Katie Willcox who are out there fighting the good fight. We’re talking more about body image and we’re certainly more open about mental health.
But”Revenge Body” just feels like another step backward.
We have these conflicting messages. One camp is encouraging us to love ourselves the way we are and embrace what we have. To focus on our health and wellbeing rather than our weight.
The other side of the camp is bringing out Revenge Body, a show dedicated to encouraging women to change their bodies and their image to gain the attention of people who didn’t show them respect in the first place. And the person heading that camp is one of the most influential celebrities in the world (whether you like that fact or not).
So what are young girls and women meant to believe?
That they should be happy, healthy and learn to love who they are? Or that they should change themselves into something society pushes as ideal?
Khloe has the power to challenge the status quo. She’s got the reach to make a real difference. But the opportunity to make that step forward was dampened by the pressure to conform and that is such a shame.