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November 30, 2022

Avni Desai Rajpal

As the 2020s begin, fashion trends have diverged from previous decades. The inclusivity in body image that was emphasized throughout the 2010s for the fashion industry made notable strides following the fat-shaming era of the early 2000s. Unfortunately, the accompanying ideals surrounding female body image have also begun to shift recently, and for the worse. The previous progress has suddenly reversed and now places its emphasis on women’s slenderness.

One potential catalyst for this destructive development is the Kardashian-Jenner attitude on fitness and weight. The family of influencers has made a fortune sharing their lives on reality TV shows- from running billion-dollar businesses to parenting and tumultuous relationships. Their influence on the American population is undeniable and irrevocable. It is most noticeable among impressionable teenage girls who are facing pressure to alter their body shape and size to fit society’s expectations. For several years, the female stars of the family, most notably Kim, have championed the hourglass silhouette. Although this idealized figure has been praised for representing and celebrating larger bodies, it is equally unattainable when compared to the skinny body type popularized in the early 2000s. In fact, many people speculate that Kim had a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) procedure, which accentuates women’s curves by transferring fat from one part of the body to the thighs, hips and behind (Centennial Beauty 2022).

Although Kim has denied these allegations, she has also undoubtedly promoted and profited from this unrealistic body standard. Along with her sisters, Kim has been criticized for Blackfishing, a phenomenon where non-Black people deliberately cosplay a uniquely Black aesthetic. Her true capitalization of this aesthetic can be seen in her shapewear brand SKIMS, which is marketed to “enhance your curves” (SKIMS 2022). Kim has been seen wearing Fulani braids from West Africa and applying darker shades of makeup in a way that has garnered accusations of Blackface. Despite this backlash, the main response to Kim’s frequent instances of cultural appropriation is positive, as seen in the enduring success of her brand and her growing following on social media platforms. However, the Black women who created these standards have not benefited from the same feedback, often becoming the victims of hypersexualization and objectification (Lang 2021).

In the three weeks leading up to the 2022 Met Gala, a Gilded Glamour themed event, Kim lost a whopping 16 pounds to fit into her outfit, Marilyn Monroe’s Jean Louis diamond-encrusted dress. Since the piece is a historical relic, it couldn’t be altered to Kim’s measurements, and the star was required to lose weight so that she wouldn’t stretch the garment (Elizabeth 2022). In conversation with Vogue, Kim has been quoted on her strict dieting regimen in the weeks before the big event, saying she was in, “a sauna suit twice a day, ran on the treadmill, completely cut out all sugar and all carbs, and just ate the cleanest veggies and protein for three weeks prior” (Savin 2022).

A Kardashian can afford to chase the trend of a new body in this short amount of time, as Kim likely hired leading dietitians to make weight-loss maximizing meal plans and trainers to slim her down. However, many people watching Kim undergo this rapid transformation are not able to invest this amount of time and money, including the Black female influencers who have repeatedly been copied by the Kardashian empire (Elizabeth 2022). This rapid weight loss success not only relies on many variables, but it is also extremely unhealthy. According to expert dietitians, sixteen pounds is a significant amount of weight to lose in such a short time period, especially for a petite woman like Kim (Savin 2022). For her followers, this action undoubtedly perpetuates the narrative that girls should expect to punish themselves for special occasions by changing their natural body shape to conform to beauty trends. Those affected by eating disorders may look to the detailed advice Kim gave and see it as a justification for self-destructive behaviors. During summer 2022, following Kim’s sustained lower weight, rumors began spreading that she had reversed her BBL, and beauty vlogger Lorry Hill claimed that Kim may have undergone liposuction or fat graft removal, which are both expensive procedures (Centennial Beauty 2022).

Since the BBL and the accompanying silhouette has been popularized for some time now, knowledge about it has spread. Beauty standards thrive on exclusivity, so it is likely that the curvy body ideal will soon become obsolete. The Kardashians are likely to lead the ever-interested world into a new definition of the perfect body. As predicted, there has been a trend of retail stores and designer brands scaling back their plus-size representation. For example, it took less than a year from the August 2021 launch of Old Navy’s plus-size in-store Bodequality initiatives to announce plans to reduce it (Elizabeth 2022). Despite the fact that popular brands such as the aforementioned one can afford it, it is still an expensive and risky endeavor. Clothing companies are using all of their resources to continue generating sales from their existing consumer base instead of investing in consumer acquisition and creating awareness (Elizabeth 2022).

Fashion is an ever-evolving and notoriously cyclical industry that borrows inspiration from the past and uses it to construct novel pieces. Although this process is beautiful and exciting, the bodies that fit into the ensembles should not be held to the same expectation, and body shapes should not constantly go in and out of style. It is important to note that Kim Kardashian, like many other influencers, is constantly under pressure when it comes to her appearance, and she should be able to choose what she does with her body. At the same time, the Kardashians must realize that their platform has undeniable power, and spewing information about weight loss strategies is destructive for all those listening. Instead, influencers should place an emphasis on inclusivity, even if this behavior may not generate the same level of high profits.


Works Cited

“Does Kim Kardashian’s New Body Signal the End of the BBL Era?” Centennial Beauty: Internet Culture, Creators & News, 15 June 2022, [][0]

Elizabeth, Marielle. “Is My Body about to Go out of Style?” Vogue, 10 Oct. 2022, [][1]

Lang, Cady. “Keeping up With the Kardashians Is Ending. But Their Exploitation of Black Women’s Aesthetics Continues.” Time, 10 June 2021,

‌Savin, Jennifer. “Kim Kardashian’s Weight Loss Comments Show Just How Warped Our Beauty Ideals Are.” Cosmopolitan, 3 May 2022, [][2] SKIMS.

Taylor, Amanda. “Kim Kardashian Says She Tried ‘Everything’ to Fit Into Met Gala Dress: ‘I’m a Shapeshifter.’” People Magazine, 3 Nov 2022,

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