I can't lie, I am a big fan of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and following all the drama and escapades of that outrageous family. I don't think they're always the greatest of role models, but they are entertaining and for that reason have garnered a huge following.
That said, I am incredibly disappointed in Kim's latest distasteful tweet about weight loss tips.
The tweet has since been deleted, but it said that the flu was an amazing diet, and helped her drop six pounds before the MET gala. She followed up with this:
flu got me like... https://t.co/Lu6THLh4V0-- Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) April 19, 2017
She immediately received a ton of backlash on twitter and with reason, which we assume is why she later deleted the tweet.
For one, it's absolutely horrible to glorify getting an illness as a way to lose weight, particularly from someone who is followed by millions of young girls and women. It is very likely that girls will see this as inspiration to catch the illness themselves, following in West's footsteps and down a destructive path to eating disorders.
That may seem like an outlandish statement, but when you consider the facts it's sadly realistic. The United States has an alarming rate of eating disorders, with 20 million women and 20 million men having a clinically significant eating disorder at some point in their lifetime.
These are only the reported cases, which are estimated to be much lower than the actual total. Women in particular are affected, with girls as young as age six admitting concerns about their weight or becoming fat, and up to 60 percent of all elementary school girls admitting the same.
Even if Kim wasn't directly telling her followers to "go out and get the flu", the way she casually discusses weight loss only contributes to the obsession our society and the media has with body image.
The fact that she adds "lol" to the end of the tweet shows her attempt at poking fun at the situation, but eating disorders are not a joke. An off-handed comment can be triggering to the many individuals who go to extremes and harm themselves in order to lose weight.
Despite the frequency of cases, eating disorders are in fact considered a mental illness. I can say from personal experience that having an eating disorder isn't something you can just talk yourself out of.
While it's taken me years to get to a point where I actively try to live a healthier lifestyle and am less critical of my appearance, there are still days when I hate how I look and am unkind to my body. It's impossible to know what will set off these feelings, but the media and thoughtless tweets like Kim's sure don't help.
Part of the issue is how much we've normalized these conversations focused on weight and appearance, making it seem almost customary to have an eating disorder or try out different weight loss fads.
However, as stated by Lauren Smola, director of helplines services for the National Eating Disorder Association, "Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, so unintentionally causing more suffering can have deadly results."
At the end of the day, we all have a responsibility to change the conversation surrounding weight and appearance. It should start with celebrities like Kim who have the power and following to spread these messages.