Here's How Kim And Khloé Kardashian Have Been Deflecting The Conversation Around Body Image For Years

    "No one is CGI'ing nothing."

    Kim and Khloé Kardashian discussed allegations of CGI tears and fake fingers in the latest episode of The Kardashians — but it appears to be willfully ignorant of the wider discussion surrounding digital alteration and cosmetic work.

    Kim and Khloé Kardashian wearing dark sunglasses as they stand next to one another at an event

    The scene starts with Scott Disick saying, "Have you heard some of these ridiculous rumors that get written and said about you guys? Just the dumbest rumors — they're saying that they're CGI putting tears in Kim's face."

    Kim and Khloé Kardashian at a restaurant with Scott Disick

    The rumor in question stemmed from a viral TikTok that gained some media attention last September. In response, Kim says, "Who would CGI a tear? I could not believe that. It is definitely not a CGI tear. Isn't that expensive?"

    "We know that, some fucking loser that has all this time on their hands," Khloé adds. "The fact that anyone thinks we are adding CGI tears somewhere — no one is CGI'ing nothing."

    The discussion then turns to speculation that Khloé has "fake fingers." She says, "I was holding a glass on camera ... I do not have fake fingers — this looks crazy. These are just my hands."

    A closeup of Khloé holding a glass up to her mouth

    She continues, "Leave me alone. You guys have been fucking nitpicking me since I have been on TV. Now we are onto my hands. Well, let me clear this up for everyone: No, I don't wear fake fingertips. This is the length of my fingers."

    Now, in my opinion, this is another example of how the Kardashians use straw man arguments to deflect from genuine criticism surrounding their use of digital alteration (and, while we're at it, many body standard discussions in general). As such, it tracks that they'd use their show to highlight two fairly absurd arguments — fake tears and fingernails — to neatly try and evade the wider discussion.

    Let's take a moment to consider the show's alleged use of filters. Here's Khloé as she says, "No one is CGI'ing nothing."

    Let's contrast this with images from the 2021 final episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and the 2022 Met Gala.

    Of course, it's not just Khloé and Kim on the show:

    Filters might not technically count as CGI (I am no expert), but the scene acts as a way of implying, "Hey, we don't digitally alter the show!" Which may be true. You can draw your own conclusions.

    Let's consider another way this rhetoric has played out. In 2021, Khloé first said that she'd had a nose job in the reunion of KUWTK. "Everyone says, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s had her third face transplant,’” Khloe said. “But I’ve had one nose job [by] Dr. Raj Kanodia. And everyone gets so upset, like, ‘Why don’t I talk about it?’ No one’s ever asked me. You’re the first person in an interview that’s ever asked me about my nose."

    Back in 2019, a few weeks after she'd gotten a nose job, Khloé appeared to be pretty careful about the language she used around her nose in a Vogue video: "One of my favorite things is nose contour. But this does stress me out a little bit. In person and how cameras reflect and light, everything looks different, so sometimes I will contour my nose and in real life I think I look so good and then in some photos I look crazy!" As such, some people took it as her dismissing the plastic surgery rumors that had popped up at the time — it's just the contour, okay.

    Contrasted with the 2021 quotes, the onus is clear: It's the fans' fault for anyone speculating something as daft as a "face transplant." She said that "No one’s ever asked me," but there was plenty of speculation at the time — not responding to it is a choice. To be clear, I'm not saying that Khloé (or anyone) needs to give a laundry list of every bit of cosmetic work they've had done, but it feels disingenuous to tackle the plastic surgery discussion from this angle.

    Kim and Khloé Kardashian on the red carpet

    So, let's go back to the "fake fingers." It's not the only time Khloé has addressed her lengthy digits — I can find another two examples on social media. Why is this the body discussion that warrants three separate responses? To what extent is all of this deflection?

    All of this is while an air of health and attainability is promoted. Kim previously denied that her family set unattainable beauty standards, saying in 2021, "I think we get up, we do the work, we work out.” The following year, she said, “If I’m doing it, it’s attainable." Speaking for myself, I can say that I have never questioned that the Kardashians work immensely hard on their appearance — however, the bulk of it is wildly inaccessible for someone without hoards and hoards of money.

    Kim standing behind a table with the SKIMS logo and a variety of garments from the brand

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Kardashians are both victims of and engineers of contemporary female body standards. They profit big time from their curated image — Kim's skincare, makeup, and shapewear lines all come to mind. I have sympathy for anyone with a magnifying glass focused on their appearance, but it would also be ignorant to suggest that there is nothing to gain from paying lip service to changing rhetoric surrounding body image while doing little to challenge the tides underneath it.

    An earlier trailer said that Kylie Jenner will be discussing her family's impact on "beauty standards" in an episode later this season: "All of us just need to have a bigger conversation about the beauty standards that we're setting." I hope that...somehow, it is fruitful.