Is there anyone the media loves to hate on quite as much as Kim Kardashian? I know I’ve taken some pleasure in poking fun at the reality star in the past, but standing in line at Duane Reade the other day, I was struck by how singularly icky the tabloids are this week in mocking Kim’s recent weight gain — you know, the one that may have something to do with the fact that she’s six months pregnant.
“I Can’t Stop Eating!”, “Pregnant Kim’s Nightmare 65-Lb Weight Gain!”, and “Don’t Call Me Fat!” were just some of the charming headlines scrawled across the most unflattering paparazzi shots their photo editors could find, while “experts” put her weight at anywhere from 185 to 200 lbs. Disregarding the fact that those numbers are in no way based in fact, doesn’t anyone at In Touch or Us Weekly feel just the teensiest bit of remorse for fat-shaming a pregnant woman? Because that’s just about as shameful as it gets.
Perhaps it’s because there’s the sense that, as the target of so much vitriol already, Kim’s somehow invincible against all of the bullying, but on The Tonight Show yesterday, Kardashian admitted that the taunts from the media do hurt:
“I think it’s a little bully-ish to call a pregnant woman fat. What do you expect?…I think it’s wrong. I’ve always been curvy and I’ve always embraced my curves. I love them and now there’s just more to love. I have the rest of my life to be skinny and to lose weight and I’m not really worrying about it. If I have a craving I’ll go for it. I obviously want to be healthy for the baby and for myself so I’m not overdoing it, but I think it’s kind of mean.”
“Mean” is definitely the right word for the tabloid covers, blog posts, and orca whale side-by-sides making the rounds on Tumblr, but even more than that, the bullying is downright damaging. Hollywood’s unrealistic body standards harm women enough as it is, even without extending them to the nine months in which we’re supposed to be putting baby first. Kim seems to have embraced the changes herself, even as she concedes that seeing her figure change isn’t exactly a painless process. On Extra this week, she told host Maria Menounos that it been a bit of challenge:
“I’m not going to lie and be like, ‘Oh, it’s been amazing and I’ve adjusted great. At the beginning it was tough for me when your body changes so much… but once you kind of grasp that and embrace it… it’s amazing.”
But while tabloids continue to bash the belly that is no doubt earning them big bucks, other unlikely supporters have crossed over into Kardashian’s corner. Supermodel Helena Christensen penned an open letter on the topic, calling out fat-shamers for their disgusting actions. “It’s enough that they persistently project a negative focus on women’s physical shapes,” she writes, “but a public bullying and attacking of a pregnant woman because of her growing shape is just lower than low.”
The Daily Beast‘s Isabel Wilkinson, The Huffington Post, and Clutch magazine have also published screeds condemning the tabs, and while we don’t think this will stop gossip rags from keeping the story going week after week — until the inevitable “How I Got My Bikini Body Back” cover — at least now bloggers may think twice before making fun of Kim’s weight.
One thing we don’t expect to stop, however, is the concern-trolling over her, ahem, maternity wear. Even well into her second trimester, Kim has favored tight leather dresses, high-waisted skirts, and five-inch stilettos, and while that should be as much her prerogative as nine straight months of muumuus would be, it’s given people license to make jabs at her “bump denial”, “uncomfortable” clothing, and squished, swollen feet.
But are we really worried about the wellbeing of her unborn child — or her feet for that matter — or are we just looking for an excuse to jeer at an easy target? As Kim told Leno, her not-so-easy breezy outfits make her “feel good and sexy. And if I feel good, my baby will feel good.” And that’s just about all you need to know.