Culture Current

Weighing in on Kim Kardashian

Jan_04_KimKardashian_ Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music PhotographerKim Kardashian’s presence in the media is ubiquitous — from advertising her clothing, makeup, and nail polish lines, to her books, not to mention her role in one of the most successful reality TV shows of all time. You can’t really escape her larger-than-life image.

But whether you’re a fan of her or not, Kardashian has been in the media lately for reasons other than her usual self-promotion schemes.

The tabloids and TMZs of the world are obsessed with fixating on questions like:

How much weight did she gain while she was pregnant?
How much has she has lost since giving birth?
How much does she still have to lose before she can get back to her pre-baby body?

And it has only been five months since she had her baby.

At first I found the media frenzy surrounding Kardashian’s weight shocking. Is her newfound 50-pound weight gain really so important it needs to be on the cover of five different magazines in one week?

I understand that celebrity gossip magazines are for just that — gossip — but during a period where a new prince was born and Cory Monteith, the lead actor of Glee, died of a heroin overdose, how does Kim’s size take precedence?

And why are we all interested enough that the editors of these magazines continue to provide coverage of it?

Maybe it points to an obsession with weight that goes way beyond Kim Kardashian.

The double standard that exists between men and women in Hollywood magnifies the same double standards that are present in our society. By branding Kardashian’s size eight figure as obese, it’s giving the rest of the world permission to judge others as harshly as the media judges her.

The media perpetuates unrealistic standards of size and it has gotten to the point that people actually believe a size eight is, in fact, too fat.

But didn’t the Kardashian sisters bring this kind of attention onto themselves by intentionally making their lives so public? Doesn’t the very nature of celebrity lend itself to this kind of criticism? Stars like Christina Aguleria and Jessica Simpson entered the pop scene to a mass of journalists saying they’re too skinny, only to have those same reporters say they’re too fat just a few years later.

But here’s the thing. Men of the same generation like Chris Kirkpatrick and Nick Carter have visibly gained weight, yet we don’t hear a whisper about their size in recent tabloids.

When a woman gains weight it’s a problem, but when a man does, it’s simply a change. In the same timeframe as when Kardashian gained her baby weight, her younger brother Rob publicly acknowledged an 80-pound weight gain as the result of a messy breakup with Brit singer Rita Ora.

The number of magazines he covered because of it in North America? Two.

When dogs have visible ribcages and low fat percentages, they’re sick or abused. But those same milestone markers are used to determine whether or not a female celebrity should be considered beautiful. It’s more important to focus on how long it takes the new mother to work off her baby weight than how good of a parent she is.

I don’t know when it happened, but at some point it became acceptable to be a part of the problem. While my friends were sending me photos of Kardashian being compared to Shamu, I didn’t stop and think, “Why did someone bother making this?” or even, “Why did my friends feel like I’d care?”

Instead I thought, “Wow, she looks huge.”

When it comes down to it, we need to stop thinking a little less about the size of others, and a little more about why we bother to care.

Flickr photo (cc) by  Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer