1. The Advertisement: Kim Kardashian’s Instagram Ad for “FlatTummyCo Appetite Suppressent Lollipops” (which has since been deleted off of her account due to massive backlash).
2. The advertisement promotes “appetite suppressant lollipops” that, as the product name suggests, are said to suppress ones appetite. Kim Kardashian’s Instagram page supposedly consists of approximately 72% female followers1, that number being 79 million. Forty-percent of this female demographic ranges between the ages of 18-24. Rather than promoting body-positive approaches to maintaining good health (eating healthy, exercising which is proven to improve mental health) she chose to promote the importance of having a flat tummy and not eating. To top it all off, the original post, although now deleted, was posted during Mental Health Awareness Week, which is ironic. Social media can be used as a powerful tool to promote lifestyles, but with that said, influencers as powerful as Kim Kardashian can sway vulnerable viewers to purchase products such as these lollipops in the hopes to have a body just like hers. This is incredibly problematic as this is promoting that there is an ideal body type and that women must work towards it by using any dangerous measures to achieve it in order to feel like they belong. Although the advertisement itself may be portrayed in a very subtle way, and Kim is in no way shaming a certain type of body in this post, or telling people not to live a healthy lifestyle, it is subconsciously/indirectly harmful. For someone who has already been vulnerable to issues regarding body positivity in the past, for example, or is suffering from an eating disorder or body dysmorphia, an advertisement like this one, can trigger drastic psychological effects. According to the official BDD website, “Body Dysmorphic Disorder affects 1.7% to 2.4% of the general population — about 1 in 50 people. This means that more than 5 million people to about 7.5 million people in the United States alone have BDD”2.
3. My Jammed Version:
4. This advertisement caters to the idea of the materialization of the body. FlatTummyCo’s mission statement reflects the fact that they make products for women, by women, that are meant to make their clients “look (and feel) good”3. However, they are making products that promote cutting calories and restrictive eating habits, rather than healthier approaches. Kim Kardashian’s body is used as a means for companies such as FlatTummyCo to profit off of. Her own personal brand and several companies and sponsorships such as this one, have seen great success. The weight-loss industry is successful, because the body is materialized, and people see value in looking a certain way and that appeals to societal standards of beauty. However, this product placement is deceiving, as people will be convinced that Kim’s body, or really any A-list celebrities body, is a result of something as simple as appetite-suppressants, when in reality, that is far from the truth. People are willing to ingest products that may have causal effects on the body in order to try to fit this ideal. This is incredibly problematic for a number of reasons. Firstly, it instills the idea that, for her female audience, it is important for a woman to have a flat stomach, rather than to work towards traits such as being successful, or to do well in society. With such high numbers of those suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) being women, and with Kim having a majority female following in the 18-24 age range, there is likely a high percentage of women who have come across this ad are already suffering from BDD. This would make them vulnerable to the message, and easily swayed into purchasing a product based on this level of vulnerability. From a marketing perspective, it is smart to promote body altering-related products to an audience on a platform like Kim Kardashian’s, who’s entire brand caters to a life of luxury, high end plastic surgery and keeping up with societal beauty standards. However, with that said, there is a question of ethics involved, which has ultimately resulted in the removal of the initial advertisement off of Instagram.
1 Moju. “Kim Kardashian Report Audience Data”. April 4, 2018. Source: www.moju.io/static/pdfs/Kim_Kardashian_Report.pdf
2 International OCD Foundation. “Prevalence of BDD”. 2018. Source: bdd.iocdf.org/professionals/prevalence
3 Flat Tummy Co. “Our Mission”. 2018. Source: https://flattummyco.com/pages/our-mission