They’ve turned themselves into arguably the world’s most lucrative family. They’re smart, shrewd businesswomen, and I think they’ve done a lot for helping us move forwards from the idea that stick thin is the ONLY version of beauty to go by. But Khloe Kardashian’s latest move caught my attention the other day for all the wrong reasons.
If you’re into your celeb culture, you might have noticed over the past year or so that Koko has lost weight. Congrats, hoorah, amazing, what a triumph for a woman to achieve. Very good, very good. Khloe says she’s discovered the wonders of exercise and healthy eating, and as a result has managed to transform her body into something that arguably better fits the mould of good curves, rather than bad curves.
(Don’t even get me started on the definition of curves, for the love of GOD. Particularly men who say they like a ‘curvy woman’, and by definition of that they only mean a very slim girl with massive boobs and a tight bum. Like, no.)
Anyway. As part of her new makeover into a health and fitness goddess, and just in time for Diet Culture January, Khloe’s launched a brand new TV show entitled ‘Revenge Body’ or something along those somewhat revolting lines. If you couldn’t work it out for yourself, it features people getting ‘revenge’ on their ex-boyfriend or girlfriend by losing a lot of weight, toning their shape and having a dramatic makeover. It also has a slogan ‘Let your haters be your biggest motivators’. Okay, here’s what I have to say about that now that I’ve finished eye rolling.
It’s pretty common practice that after a break up, a lot of people do lose weight. They find that they’ve got more time to take up a new hobby - whether that’s jogging, going to the gym, salsa classes, cookery classes, whatever. They go back to eating smaller portions that aren’t being cooked by a guy (am I right ladies?). They, for one reason or another, lose some weight. And that’s just normal people, btw.
We’re also forgetting the fact here, that most of us can only dream of Khloe’s circumstances in which to chase her revenge body. Around the clock personal trainers, dedicated nutritionists, glam squad, those fucking weird waist trainer things, endless supplies of teas that make you shit yourself etc etc.
But anyway, this fairly gross idea that’s promoted by this TV show, and just the concept of ‘revenge bodies’ in general is something else altogether, which really doesn’t sit well with me. Let’s be honest, the idea of losing weight and changing the way you look to get back at a dicky ex-boyfriend - that isn’t about revenge.
It’s not even about doing something for yourself. It’s about still trying to impress that person who hurt you, treated you badly, didn’t realise how wonderful you are. It’s about still needing to be validated by their approval. Still seeking the nod of their head to tell you that you are good enough, and that you meet their standards.
Um, hold on a damn second there, please. No one, and I mean no one but mainly women because we’re fucking drowning it in it every single day, should be made to hate their body and criticise it just because someone bullied and broke them into thinking that they weren’t enough. If you want to lose weight, or you make the decision to change your body in any way, it should come from, and be about nothing but YOU. Just you. Not some dickhead who called you a fatty in Year 9, and not some knobhead ex who said you looked pudgy in your jeans, or dumped you because you gained a stone or two.
And let’s not ignore the very obvious fact that the term ‘revenge body’ itself perpetuates body shaming, diet culture, and unhealthy mindsets which need to LEAVE. The idea that the ‘perfect’ body leads to ultimate happiness is something that’s been manifested by the pure bullshit diet culture that’s arrived over the past thirty years or so. In WHAT WORLD should getting in shape, changing your lifestyle, probably restricting yourself, be centred around the idea of anything other than your own well being?
This idea that haters should motivate you is also problematic. In the trailer for the show, Khloe asks all of her minions: “This revenge body, who is it for?” Someone says ex-fiance, someone says mum, someone says my friends. No one says me. It detracts from the basic idea of leading a healthier lifestyle, and instead turns it all back onto internalised hate, the whole thing focuses on breeding hate and feeding off of hate.
If a bully, a boyfriend, tells you that being fat makes you worthless, and you lose weight solely to prove them wrong, are you dispelling their opinion, or actually kind of confirming it to be true? And letting them make your decisions for you in the process? Anything motivated by hate, but particularly losing weight, can easily transform into something disordered and controlling - if you break it down, it’s alarmingly similar to the thought that to be happy/successful/admired/loved, you just need to lose X amount of weight. That’s what the show is, and that’s also funnily enough, what a lot of eating disorders are.
Losing weight will not heal heartbreak. Equally, if you hate your body at X pounds, you’ll still find ways to hate it at Y and Z pounds too, if you’re not tackling the bigger problem - which is the need to learn to love yourself unconditionally. If you’re convinced that you need to lose weight in order to be loved, or a whole, worthy person, you’re only going to amplify your own self-hate until you hit that goal. And even then, will the goal be good enough? Or will it just keep on going, the goal posts always changing, the finish line always moving back, while you destroy your body and your own peace of mind?
You know what the best ‘revenge’ is, if that’s something you want to strive for, on someone who hurt you or broke your heart? Going out, walking away, living your life for you and NOBODY else, striving for what you want to strive for, chasing your dreams, enjoying yourself, loving life, without giving a damn about what they, or anybody else thinks.
If your body is no longer yours, and exists in its form for someone who broke your heart once, then they’ve just got an even tighter grip over you. Great revenge is living in total freedom, and loving every second.
And if you ask me, ‘revenge body’ should be a term referring to the body of your shitty ex-boyfriend, which is now lying in a suitcase underneath your bed next to your sword. Hahahahaha kidding. Sort of.
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