This morning, Kendall Jenner’s waist went viral. Why? Because in a video posted to Instagram Stories, it appeared to distort… mid-video. Now, celebrities photoshopping their IG content is no new prospect - you only need to check out IG account CelebFace for proof of that – but when a supermodel does it, on a video no less, it tends to make waves
The IG video shows Kendall kneeling on the floor in front of her bathroom mirror, posing in a bikini as she zooms in on herself. In the video, her waist appears to glitch as she zooms, going from tiny to…well, still tiny - and back to how it looked originally. Posted on the Problematic Fame IG page, many are now accusing her of using photoshop or ‘body filters’ in her IG videos.
It’s the second time this month, in fact, with her also accused of photoshopping videos from behind the scenes of her Skims lingerie shoot. In another video posted to Problematic Fame, you can see the curtains behind her glitch unnaturally as she moves with her waist and stomach also appearing to change shape for a split second.
‘The difference that posing and/or photoshop can make is astounding, please don’t compare yourself to posed, photoshopped celebrities who have personal trainers, surgeons and personal chefs,’ the owner of Problematic Fame posted alongside the video. ‘No, Kendall is not responsible for anybody else’s self-esteem… however it is good to remind yourself every once in a while that nobody is perfect and that’s okay!.’
Urging people to ‘keep the comments respectful’, the account is hoping to lift the lid on how Instagram creates a false sense of reality and remind people that they shouldn’t compare themselves to what they see online. Because, while backlash against beauty filters on Instagram is rising, there’s no shortage of celebrities using photoshop – and with the rise of Facetune Video, it’s getting even more difficult to spot.
For those of you who aren’t aware, it’s actually really simple to photoshop a video. Just like there are an abundance of apps that let you smooth your skin, alter your face features and distort your body, there are video apps with those features built in too. In Facetune 2 for example, as long as you shoot a video in the app, you can easily edit your body or face as you record.
And while celebrities are often caught out for photoshopping their content, the edits can easily look completely natural. It’s no longer the job of tech wizards or deep fake experts, anyone with a smart phone can become a pro photoshopper overnight. What’s so insidious about that then is that while many of us can tell when someone uses a filter, when they photoshop videos or photos in other apps – we could be consuming that content completely unaware.
Yes, the owner of Problematic Fame is right, no one is responsible for anyone improving anyone else’s self-esteem. If we’re comparing ourselves to models like Kendall Jenner, it’s up to us to work on that within ourselves, by unfollowing or doing our best to disengage with popular culture altogether (easier said than done though, let’s be honest). More than that, even if she does have a public platform, it would be unfair to judge Kendall for succumbing to the pressures we all face to conform to beauty standards – even if she is, quite literally, the beauty standard.
If even women considered the most beautiful in society edit their bodies, any attempt to meet beauty standards is futile.
Yes, you can be annoyed that Kendall is potentially duping her millions of followers – some of whom may be impressionable young people – by promoting unrealistic body standards, but judgement serves no purpose when ultimately, anyone who photoshops images of themselves is clearly dealing with some degree of self-loathing, as opposed to intentionally meaning to cause harm.
Instead, we should be internalising that very message: that if even the women considered the most beautiful in society feel the need to edit their bodies online, any attempt to meet our societies beauty standards is futile.
Kendall was, and still is, what many would consider the epitome of beauty standards. But as they change from the super skinny boyish supermodel to the super skinny curve model, it’s clear that no one standard is achievable in a society that constantly berates, guilts or teases women for any one ‘flaw’ – that, we might add, could be considered perfect in another culture.
In a capitalist society, where everyone is seeking to make money of someone else’s insecurities, we can never expect to feel truly beautiful when we’re valuing ourselves off a standard created by others.
The answer to that, then, is to create your own beauty standard inside your own head – where you are the most beautiful, your own Kendall Jenner if you will, and ultimately brainwash yourself into believing it – regardless of whether society tells you otherwise or not. Blissful delusion, let’s call it. Because while some might consider a person who calls themselves a 10/10 ‘conceited’, it’s the only way to reach a true level of acceptance within yourself. When the world around you is constantly making you feel ugly, telling yourself you'rE beautiful can only serve to balance out that message.
Whether or not the accusations against Kendall are proven to be true, that’s what we can all take away from this. Because, when so much of our lives are virtual and so much of that virtual reality is false, it’s easy to get lost in valuing yourselves based on things that truly do not matter.
Being stereotypically beautiful serves a purpose in that it brings a level of privilege to those who have it naturally or choose to conform to it – as most of us do even simply by drawing our eyebrows on in the morning – but whether we decide to try and benefit from that privilege or not (which, let’s be clear, there’s no judgement in doing so – life is hard enough for women as it is), it’s never been more important to value your worth based on your own opinions.
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