Whether or not you’re a fan of the Jenner-Kardashian clan, there’s one thing we can all admire: their sisterhood. The family always seems to have each other’s backs. Plus, who doesn’t want a tight-knit female gang who will acknowledge when you switch to a healthier lifestyle or support you when you’re going through a tough time? However, a recent video of the sisters has the internet understandably in an uproar.
Kim Kardashian recently shared a series of videos on Instagram in which her sisters are admiring and applauding her thin figure. The problem: many of their compliments focus on her waistline and the fact that it looks like she’s not eating enough, as if that’s positive.
“No, I’m like really concerned, I don’t think you’re eating. Like, you look so skinny,” Kendall says to her older sister.
Kim responds, “What, oh my God, thank you!” to which Kendall replies, “Of course.”
Khloé says she’s never seen a human being look so good. “My purse is as tiny as you,” Kendall adds, comparing Kim’s size to her tiny clutch.
Khloé shows off her own post-baby body, and Kendall and Kim comment on how great she looks—but then the focus immediately returns to Kim’s weight loss. “It takes work to look like that and it looks amazing,” says Khloé.
They tease Kim by saying she’s consuming nothing (just lettuce and oxygen) to look the way she is.
Khloé then praises Kim for her “anorexic” waist and “pin-thin” arms.
The internet was not here for the sisters’ comments. Many followers took to social media to express their anger and raise concerns about what using this kind of language as a compliment can mean, especially for those struggling with disordered eating.
While we are 100% supportive of praising others when they meet personal goals, using the term anorexic as a compliment can be triggering and dangerous, experts say.
“Presenting an eating disorder as an accomplishment or ideal is harmful, as it can encourage others towards disordered eating,” says psychiatrist Gail Saltz, MD. Many young women look up to celebrities as role models and imitate everything from their latest hairstyle to toned abs. Even if the Jenner-Kardashian sisters believe their flattery to be harmless, linking an eating disorder to looking good sends a dangerous message, points out Dr. Saltz.
Talia Wiesel, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, agrees, telling us that referring to anorexia as a compliment can be hurtful and minimizes the suffering and struggles those with mental illness face on a daily basis.
“However, this is an opportunity to provide psycho-education about mental health and de-stigmatize getting help when you need it,” Wiesel adds.
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