Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala Dress Sparks Debate About Diet Culture – Forbes

Kardashian lost nearly 20 pounds in a month to fit into Monroe’s dress. Health experts warn that the … [+] influencer’s crash diet might set a bad example.
May 6th, 2022 is the 30th anniversary of International No Diet Day. An anorexia survivor named Mary Evans started International No Diet Day in 1992 to promote positive body image and to combat diet culture.
This year, the holiday comes days after Kim Kardashian made headlines for losing 16lbs in 3 weeks. The celebrity rushed to shed weight before the Met Gala so she could wear Marilyn Monroe’s dress to the gilded Americana-themed event.
Kardashian wanted to honor Monroe’s radical sexuality in a time when sheer, bedazzled dresses were taboo. Much like Kardashian’s own 2019 Met Gala ‘wet dress’, Monroe’s frock was controversial when the singer wore it to meet President Kennedy in 1962. “Nowadays everyone wears sheer dresses, but back then that was not the case. In a sense, it’s the original naked dress. That’s why it was so shocking,” Kardashian said during an interview with Vogue.
Because Kardashian wanted to fit into Monroe’s actual dress rather than recreate the look with another garment, Kardashian had to lose weight. In that same Vogue interview, Kardashian outlined the harsh diet and exercise regimen that she adopted before the gala: “I would wear a sauna suit twice a day, run on the treadmill, completely cut out all sugar and all carbs, and just eat the cleanest veggies and protein. I didn’t starve myself, but I was so strict.”
Some outlets have praised Kardashian for her dedication to fitting into Monroe’s historic dress. But other people echo the question that Sara M. Moniuszko asked in a USA Today article — “Kim Kardashian stunned in Marilyn Monroe’s dress … but at what cost?”
Many nutritionists, journalists, and body-positive activists worry that Kardashian’s crash diet might inadvertently glamorize unhealthy weight loss. Aiyana Ishmael, an editorial assistant at Teen Vogue, has written articles about plus-size fashion and body acceptance. Ishmael said, “All that restrictive eating for a few minutes of photos in a dress that was ultimately inaccurate to the night’s theme. And now, anyone who reads her interview or follows her on social media has a playbook for how they, too, can attempt to lose rapid amounts of weight for whatever special event they’d like to celebrate.”
Kardashian is an individual person with control over her own body, so she should not have to ask permission from her fans to lose weight. However, Kardashian’s comments about her weight loss methods perpetuate diet culture. “We can argue that it’s not a celebrity or influencer’s job to display healthy habits, but then we’d be ignoring the vital part media consumption plays in our society,” Ismael wrote in a Teen Vogue article. “I used to think walking hungrily into an event with my fitted dress on fighting off a headache was my private badge of honor. I’d held out so I could look my leanest for an important night. My teenage self thought I was incredibly disciplined, when really I was harming my body in irrevocable ways — ways I’m still dealing with to this day,” remembers Ismael of her own past struggles with fashion and restrictive eating.
Numerous studies indicate that young women can develop body image issues and unhealthy eating or exercise habits when they see thin bodies and crash diets praised on social media and in magazines. When young women follow online content about celebrities who brag about losing weight or wearing extreme shapewear, those young women are statistically more likely to develop eating disorders and low self-esteem.
The pressure to look thin to fit into dresses can negatively impact women’s self-image as they grow into adulthood. When I was a teenager, I fasted for almost 24 hours and took anti-bloating pills so I could look more slender in my prom dress. Countless women feel the pressure to hit the gym or starve themselves to fit into a wedding dress.
When young women learn that Kardashian lost 16 pounds in 3 weeks, they may think that rapid weight loss is healthy and normal. Kardashian dropped an average of 5 pounds a week. That is far beyond the standard 1-2 pounds a week that most people could expect to lose with a balanced diet and moderate exercise.
When we try to wriggle into a too-tight dress, we let that garment wear us rather than the other way around. Fashion can provide a freeing, creative outlet for someone to express themselves by wearing clothing that makes them look and feel their best. But when we try to mold our bodies into an outfit, we can feel inadequate or anxious when that clothing doesn’t properly fit us.
Fortunately, International No Diet Day can help us reimagine health, weight, and fashion. Weight is not the only (or, often, the best) indicator of your overall wellness. Being thin does not automatically make someone healthy.
Crash diets like Kardashian’s gala stunt can cause mental and physical harm. People who have such rapid weight loss may experience fatigue, dehydration, muscle loss, or other serious medical complications. In a cruel twist of irony, most people gain back the weight that they had lost in a crash diet because such strict diet and exercise routines are difficult to maintain over time. Before you try to lose weight, contact your doctor to create a diet and exercise plan that works for you.
And if you feel pressured to lose weight to fit into a gown, consider ditching the dress instead.

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