Why is dimpling of the skin considered newsworthy? Even if it is famous dimpled skin? At the end of March 2009, Complex, a men’s lifestyle magazine, posted photos of model and reality show star Kim Kardashian on its website as a preview of an upcoming issue featuring the cover girl. However, an unphotoshopped image made its way into the batch. Upon discovery of the error, complex.com replaced it with a retouched snapshot. But even though the original photo had only been online for a matter of hours, it was too late. Kardashian’s cellulite, often referred to as her “cottage cheese thighs,” became a top story for gossip magazines, entertainment shows, and Hollywood blogs.
Much to the delight of her fans, the curvy, gorgeous star didn’t cower in shame. Instead, she retorted on her blog,
“So what: I have a little cellulite. What curvy girl doesn’t?”
She even posted untouched pictures from the same Complex photo shoot, in addition to the “before” shot that caused the uproar. Her site lists hundreds of responses applauding her for not being fearful to freely show what the media considers flaws.
But if it weren’t for the magazine’s misstep, entertainment reporters would have found another celebrity to scrutinize. A belly bulge on a skinny starlet conjures up rumors of pregnancy vs. gluttony. Weeks after a celebrity has given birth, the paparazzi ruthlessly reports how quickly (or not) the new mom returns to her pre-pregnancy physique. Part of the problem can be traced back to the unrealistic presentation of celebrities, and simply chastising the media for attempting to humiliate Kardashian and other stars for being themselves isn’t going to change its catty ways. Professional images of models, television personalities, and the big names in Hollywood rarely, if ever, display stars as they truly are. In fact, Kardashian’s cellulite wasn’t the only thing that was digitally manipulated by Complex. The magazine also lightened her skin tone, reduced her breast size, thinned out limbs, cinched her waist, and shrunk the size of her hips. The voluptuous star even acknowledged that photoshopping is standard practice: “It happens all the time!”
The 29-year-old’s candor deserves to be commended. Her fans love her even more because of it. But wouldn’t it be something if she took it just one step further and insisted that her next photo shoot be published without editing? If the comments on her blog are any indication, her fans would not only stand behind her, but also cheer her on. Famous personalities like Kardashian and their followers have the potential to form a powerful alliance in the name of authentic beauty. Maybe if they did, cellulite wouldn’t make its way into headlines but remain where it belongs—as part of women’s bodies, famous and non-famous alike.