Khloe Kardashian sat down with Cosmopolitan UK for their January issue and talked about Kanye West as a father, new beginnings, and a deeply upsetting conversation she overheard as a child regarding her own physical appearance.
First off, let’s take a quick journey into Kim Kardashian and West‘s new life as parents to baby North West, as seen by auntie Khloe:
“Kanye is such an awesome dad, and he’s so opinionated and passionate. North is only five-and-a-half months old but you can see she has opinions and a strong personality already. I’m kind of nervous to see what she’s like when she’s older but I think she’ll be incredibly confident because Kim and Kanye are.
This is sweet and lovely, and I like children when they have strong personalities, because they often say hilarious or outlandish things.
But buried in the article that mostly focuses on positive body image and Kardashian’s recent weight loss is an item about her childhood that hit me straight in the emotions bone. Apparently, Kardashian’s mom Kris Jenner has been trying to “improve” her girls’ prospects since before they could even consider their future fame:
“Words are the most powerful weapon; they can leave scars forever. She didn’t mean harm, but when I was around nine I overheard my mum telling her friend I needed a nose job. I was shocked; I hadn’t even thought about it. I’ve grown into my face but I’ve had makeup artists tell me, ‘You should get a nose job.’ I’m so happy that I never have.”
Maybe I’m over-relating to Khloe here because she’s obviously the best Kardashian, but I find this absolutely heartbreaking. It’s admirable that Khloe isn’t hanging onto anger from this event and managed to moved past it, and frankly I’m not sure that everyone would be able to let it go like that. We know that comments like that leave scars forever for many women, regardless of personal accomplishment and level of success. In fact, just a few months ago Jennifer Lawrence spoke up about how she still hasn’t moved past intense body criticism. While Kardashian says she’s moved on, it isn’t always possible for women to do so.
Negative body image is learned behavior. Women aren’t born hating themselves or their bodies–we learn to hate ourselves because we’re taught that we’re not good enough. We’re products of a culture that commodifies the physical desirability of children, and we learn at a very early age that our worth can be derived from our looks. I’m finding it pretty easy to vilify Jenner here (and Jenner doesn’t always elicit sympathy given the shit she says publicly, of her own accord), but I’m trying to temper my reaction by remembering that she’s a product of the same culture that tells her to find her daughter’s worth in their beauty. It doesn’t exonerate her of fault for saying that crap out loud, but it’s at least important to understand the context.
I think we’re all still carrying scars from when we were little and told we weren’t good enough, and it’s frustrating that the responsibility falls on us to move past it, instead of the incessant messages that tell us we’re ugly in the first place. This is a low even for Jenner, and it proves just how far gone we are in our perception of women and their worth.
Photo: Getty Images