Khloé Kardashian blames photo drama on ‘impossible standards.’ Critics blame her family

A side view of a blond Khloé Kardashian sitting at a Lakers game
Khloé Kardashian, shown in 2019 at an L.A. Lakers game, posted a message Wednesday addressing others’ opinions of her looks.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

After frantically trying to get an unedited, unfiltered photo of herself taken down online, Khloé Kardashian flexed her revenge body in a couple of videos Wednesday to prove that she really is fit — and not radically Photoshopped.

While her family praised her candidness, other folks were quick to point out that she and her family have actually set the beauty standards Kardashian now feels pressure to meet.

“I’m not going to lie,” the 36-year-old mom wrote Wednesday night in a statement accompanying two videos on Instagram. “It’s almost unbearable trying to live up to the impossible standards that the public have all set for me.”

All of this was done in response to Kardashian’s legal efforts to get a recent bikini snapshot, supposedly taken by her maternal grandmother and then posted online in error by an assistant, taken down from the internet. The whole internet.


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And like many things that make their way online — even though this one was being chased by legal notices about copyright violation — it has proved a beast to make disappear. On Twitter, many people were posting the picture along with praise or criticism, some stating defiantly that it was worth it to post the shot even if their accounts got shut down.

The social-media drama started over the weekend and went on for several days before Kardashian responded.

“Hey guys, this is me and my body unretouched and unfiltered,” Kardashian said Wednesday night in her statement. “The photo that was posted this week is beautiful. But as someone who has struggled with body image her whole life, when someone takes a photo of you that isn’t flattering in bad lighting or doesn’t capture your body the way it is after working so hard to get it to this point - and then shares it to the world - you should have every right to ask for it to not be shared - regardless of who you are.”

Wearing only underpants and holding a phone in the first video, with her arm over her breasts, Kardashian showed off her abs and her booty and then jumped up and down a couple of times. The second video, from an Instagram Live session, saw her in sweats with a black bikini underneath, stripping off her top and checking herself out.

The youngest of the Kardashian sister trio — we’re leaving Rob Kardashian and the Jenners out of this — has been working out with the aid of trainers in the years since her late-2016 divorce from Lamar Odom. She appeared for three seasons (so far) on E!’s “Revenge Body With Khloé Kardashian.” She reportedly works out five or six days a week and changed her diet significantly to lose weight.

Kardashian often has been accused of dramatically altering her appearance on social media, to the point where she wrote sarcastically about her “weekly face transplant” in an Instagram response.

“In truth, the pressure, constant ridicule and judgment my entire life to be perfect and meet other’s [sic] standards of how I should look has been too much to bear,” she wrote Wednesday. “‘Khloé is the fat sister.’ ‘Khloé is the ugly sister.’ ‘Her dad must not be her real dad because she looks so different.’ ‘The only way she could have lost that weight must have been from surgery.’


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In contrast to older sisters Kourtney Kardashian (5-foot-1) and Kim Kardashian (5-2) — whom she has been appearing with on TV with since late 2007 and who are also children of the late Robert Kardashian — Khloé Kardashian is 5-10 with a different frame. She struggled with her weight as a child. In 2018, she gave birth to True Thompson, her daughter with Tristan Thompson of the Boston Celtics.

She said in her statement she was not asking for sympathy but rather for an acknowledgment that, despite her family’s reality-TV fame and beauty empire, she’s human.

“For over a decade now in photos, every single flaw and imperfection has been micro-analyzed and made fun of to the smallest detail and I am reminded of them everyday by the world. And when I take that criticism to use as motivation to get myself in the best shape of my life and to even help others with the same struggles, I am told I couldn’t have done it through hard work and I must have paid for it,” Kardashian said.

If you hear something long enough, she wrote, you start to believe it. Kardashian admitted loving “a good filter, good lighting and an edit here and there,” and likened it to putting on makeup and getting her nails done. None of that, she said, was going to end. No apologies.

“My body, my image and how I choose to look and what I want to share is my choice. It’s not for anyone to decide or judge what is acceptable or not anymore,” Kardashian said.

“We are all unique and perfect in our own way. Whichever way one chooses to be seen,” she wrote. “I have realized that we cannot continue to live life trying to fit into the perfect mold of what others have set for us. Just do you and make sure your heart is happy.”

More than 4.3 million people liked her Instagram post within 12 hours of its publication Wednesday. “yes! you beautiful, strong, HEALTHY queen,” sister Kendall Jenner said in comments. “I love you Khloé,” wrote Kim Kardashian. Sister Kylie Jenner said “love you soooo much,” while singer Ariana Grande noted “love u & your heart.”

A longer comment came from Khloé Kardashian’s mother, Kris Jenner.

“Khloé you are the kindest most loving, most supportive, most beautiful heart I have ever known, and I adore you and am so proud of you.... you are an inspiration to all of us and I appreciate and love you each and every single day,” Jenner wrote. “Thank you for teaching the rest of us to be kind and to not judge.... you are one of a kind.... what a blessing you are. You are a gift.”

But there was criticism as well in the comments and on Twitter. Most came from women who claimed that the Kardashian family, which runs multiple beauty and clothing lines — Khloé herself has been pitching her Good American swimwear and jeans lines lately — has actually been setting those impossible standards.

They also noted that in the unfiltered bikini photo that launched the whole drama, Kardashian actually looked like a real person.

“What beauty standards were you trying to live up to? Because in my lifetime, the Kardashians set the beauty standard. Unrealistic and unattainable beauty standards that have caused body dysmorphia and body image issues in SO many young women and girls. It’s sick that you’re promoting your body as natural when it clearly isn’t,” one woman wrote. “That picture of you was the one most people would want to see btw. You looked human for once.”

“‘I love a good filter, good lighting and edit here and there,’” said another. “Girl that was the first image we’ve seen of you without any of those things in a decade. You looked good, human and natural, it was refreshing to see. This ‘crisis management post’ was an opportunity wasted. Sad.”

And a third woman, who said she was a teacher, had this to say about girls who hate their own bodies after seeing altered influencer photos: “Now you panic and use your privilege to get the [unedited] photo erased. And then in dark lighting and body make up you let those girls know very clearly, ‘SIKE!! sorry young ones, I’m hot and I guess you’re not. this is all the real me, my toned body and body proportions.’ As a high school teacher I guess I’ll have a lot of cleaning up you and your sisters have made.”

And another: “Khloe Kardashian being mad that people are holding her to the standard her and her family have set through deceit is really something.”