My usual morning ritual is to be woken up by not one, but twelve alarms. Get a coffee, and retreat back to bed to check up on what happened on social media while I was sleeping.
A few days ago, I checked Twitter as usual to see a screenshot of Kim Kardashian-West’s latest Instagram post. If you hadn’t already seen it, Kim was advertising a product for Flat Tummy Co – that product was appetite suppressing lollipops. Yes, really. Following a lot of online backlash, the post has since been deleted. Let me be clear, hunger is normal! Hunger isn’t a bad thing, it’s your bodies way of letting you know that you need food in order to survive.
As someone trying to leave my eating disorder and trouble with my weight in the past, I found this very triggering. I have struggled with my weight all my life. From comfort eating as a child, to following blogs on Tumblr that promoted anorexia, giving me tips on how to pretend I was eating to my loved ones and how to get away with it; I eventually became bulimic. At my lowest point I was throwing up twelve times a day. Luckily and thankfully I sought help before it ruined my life more permanently. Some people aren’t so lucky. According to research conducted by Beat Eating Disorders, it is thought that over 1 million people in the UK suffer with an eating disorder. Even in children as young as six, cases of anorexia have been diagnosed. And anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental health disorder. Let’s not forget that.
However, upon seeing this #ad for appetite suppressants, my initial thoughts were that I needed this product. All my hard work attempting to leave calorie counting and starvation in the past went out the window. I was imagining a world where I have a flat stomach, small boobs, no cellulite. A world where people ask for my secret on staying slim, I simply take a lollipop out of my mouth, and wink.
Flash back to reality.
By now, the world isn’t too surprised when one of the Kardashian clan take part in a major marketing disaster. Remember the Kendall Jenner commercial? The one where Pepsi insinuated that social injustice protests could be combated with a simple can of their fizzy drink. It sparked major outrage in the public and even had Bernice King, daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, tweeting “if only daddy knew about the power of Pepsi”. However the light and jokes we can make out of these situations doesn’t make what they do any less damaging and begs the question: who is overseeing these campaigns. In this case, the devil works hard but Kris Jenner works harder, right? Would Kris and the rest of her famous family ever refuse a pay check for one second if they actually sat and thought about what influence it could have on other people?
You only have to look at the number of social media followers the Kardashian/Jenner family have between them on all social media platforms to realise just how much of an influence they have on the rest of the world. Anything and everything they do is copied and replicated to a dangerous degree; for example, the dreadful ‘Kylie Jenner Lips Challenge’, where young people were mutilating their faces with suction to achieve bigger, fuller lips. And then posting the results.
So, Kim, posting about ways to curb your appetite with teas and lollipops is not only damaging to the millions of young people out there who will think that suppressing your appetite is necessary to be successful and get likes on Instagram, but it’s also damaging to those recovering from an illness that took over their lives.
Kim isn’t really drinking these slimming teas, or even eating the lollipops. Because if that was the case, how come her husband had to get liposuction in order for people not to judge him? How come the whole family have a string of plastic surgery procedures under their belt? What Kim’s post had the potential to teach millions of susceptible minds, is that loving yourself for who you are is not an option. And that is plain wrong.
I will not be buying appetite suppressant sweets, because for once I’m happy in my own skin, and I can see that Kim’s concern is only to make her multi-million dollar business even richer. I just hope that others will wake up and see this, too.
And that’s the real tea Mrs Kardashian-West, served.
Written by Lydia Bowler