UNPOPULAR OPINION: A Defense of Kim Kardashian’s Photoshopped Selfies

In spite of her antics, Kim Kardashian is still a human being with insecurities who sometimes gets her feelings hurt.
Publish date:
January 15, 2014
body image, Instagram, photoshop

Instagram belfie star Jen Selter might have over a million people checking out her butt, but the queen of all social media ass shots is clearly Kim Kardashian. Back in October, she had tongues wagging when she showcased her post-baby booty in a white bodysuit that left almost nothing to the imagination.

This weekend, she made a splash once again, treating us to a backshot of her spandex-clad derriere, which, as many outlets have pointed out, does seem to be suspiciously photoshopped to make her waist look smaller and chest area bustier.

As with anything Kim Kardashian does, the issue of her retouched belfie naturally became blogeratti fodder, with outlets like Perez Hilton heralding it as the picture that would “Make You Question Everything About Dat Ass.” Right. We may never know for sure if Kim tweaked the photo (her reps fervently deny it), but if she did, can we really hold it against her? I mean, what do you expect from someone famous for being famous? Actually, I don’t even think it’s that crazy that Kim would enhance or stage an impromptu photo.

Let me explain: When Kim Kardashian posts something to social media, it has the potential to make headlines. At this point, she can choose almost any photo on her iPhone camera roll, and we’ll be sure to see it plastered all over the internet, television, newspapers, magazines, and hell, maybe even on a couple t-shirts.

There are 12 million people already following Kim on Instagram, and millions more will see the picture by the time the week is over. Yes—this says terrible things this says about our priorities as a society, but that doesn't make it any less of a fact. Besides, most photos of her seen by that many people are photoshopped anyway. If it's going to be everywhere, what’s wrong with a little airbrushing?

Also important to remember: in spite of her antics, Kim Kardashian is still a human being with insecurities who sometimes gets her feelings hurt. I imagine she's browsed through some of the comments on her Instagram posts and come across some very nasty ones. She's probably read a few that stung. A study by a psychiatry professor at the University of Southern California found that celebrities are, on average, more narcissistic than the rest of us. So of course Kim’s going to feel extra pressure to make her snaps look perfect, especially if she wants to avoid criticism aimed at her body (which in a perfect world, wouldn’t happen in the first place.)

Does the photo add to the stockpile of unattainable/unrealistic images of a women in the world? Absolutely. Is it perpetuating a dubious trend in our culture, obsessed with impossible perfection? Of course. But again, we are talking about a reality star who is famous for… no good reason. You can’t expect her to challenge a set of ideals that she has in many ways positioned herself to represent.

Besides, don’t we all doctor our Instagram photos anyway? The whole fun of Instagram is that it gives us the power to manipulate pictures taken with our electronic devices, whose cameras are often less-than-forgiving. Aren’t the golden tinted, high-contrast tones of X-Pro II supposed to our images appear more flattering?

Yes, photoshopping your camera phone pictures is a little extreme for most people, but isn’t extremity and extravagance just a hallmark of celebrity? For goodness sake, the woman’s firstborn child was lavished with bespoke designer baby gear straight from Alexander Wang. Meanwhile, your bundle of joy gets Oshkosh B’Gosh.

Bottom line: Kim Kardashian is a groooown woman! Ask Beyoncé—SHE CAN DO WHATEVER SHE WANTS. And if it includes ‘shopping a selfie with her workout buddies, she is free to exact her will as she chooses. I can’t be mad at her, and neither should you.