Over the weekend an unedited bikini photo of Khloé Kardashian started floating around social media. I won't link to it here because Kardashian isn't too keen on others seeing it. In fact, her team is actively trying to wipe the pic from the internet.
“The color edited photo was taken of Khloé during a private family gathering and posted to social media without permission by mistake by an assistant,” Tracy Romulus, chief marketing officer for KKW Brands, said in a statement to Page Six. “Khloé looks beautiful, but it is within the right of the copyright owner to not want an image not intended to be published taken down.”
Meanwhile, fans online are praising the photo, which features an unairbrushed Kardashian looking less “glam” and posed than usual. Here are just a few reactions from people who like the pic and wish Kardashian would own it:
On the surface, I agree with these tweets. In a culture rampant with Instagram models and unrealistic beauty standards—a culture the Kardashian-Jenners uphold with every glossy new post—it would be great for Khloé to embrace her unfiltered side. As a self-identifying fat person, I know the importance of size representation, of stretch-mark representation, of cellulite representation. That's not to suggest Kardashian herself is plus-size; she's not. I'm just saying I know how vital it is to see more than just one body type on your feed. It can be a game changer.
But there's something more important than that: a right to privacy—and a right to decide what photos of ourselves we're comfortable with letting the world see. For whatever reason Kardashian doesn't want this pic out there, and that's enough to end this conversation. All the “You go, girl! Love this pic of yourself!” discourse is hollow if the girl in question didn't post the pic in question.
Social media is hellbent on Kardashian being a certain type of body-acceptance role model—and the fact of the matter is she's not. I don't know Kardashian personally, so I won't speculate why, but it doesn't take much to realize she and her sisters like curating and stylizing their content. They have every right to do that, just like we have every right to post only pics of ourselves that we choose. For some, that's unfiltered; for others, it's not. Both are valid. I, for one, would be mortified if a photo of myself I didn't like started making the rounds—even if everyone else was praising it. I think you would too.
What it comes down to is this: Do we need more body diversity on Instagram? Yes. Do we need Khloé Kardashian leading that charge? No, not if she doesn't want to. She shouldn't be forced to like a photo of herself, just like Lizzo shouldn't be criticized for going on a 10-day juice cleanse. (She just wanted to improve her sleep and hydration.) Just like Bridgerton's Nicola Coughlan shouldn't be strong-armed into being a body-positivity activist. (She's an actor who says she'd change her body for any role.)
The body-acceptance movement is in desperate need of a pivot: We need to stop putting celebrities on pedestals and reacting aversely when they don't behave in the exact manner we expect. Let's let people be people. Let them detox or not. Let them post that picture or not. And let's not drag them one way or the other for it.
Originally Appeared on Glamour