As Khloé Kardashian seems to know, beauty is existential terror | Van Badham

The destigmatization of mental illness is an ongoing campaign. Is it helped by Khloé Kardashian on TV popping beta-blockers she gets from her mother?

No. Let me frankly remind readers that beta-blockers are not candy and you should never take any medications not recommended by a doctor, especially those whose side effects may include nightmares, vomiting and heart failure. cardiac. Maybe Khloé Kardashian saw a doctor, in which case we shouldn’t worry about Kris Jenner, on their show, handing out drugs like E at a 90s rave. “Oh, I love these!” Khloé says, and laughs. “I know. They are really great! replies his mother.

The casualization of medication does not de-stigmatize mental illness, but honest examination of its context does. Kardashian tells a friend that her anxiety is due to the scrutiny of her body in public and on social media. It affects her self-esteem, her confidence and the way she sees herself.

The valuable lesson here is that Khloé Kardashian’s issues aren’t even special. They are incredibly common.

Her estimated net worth of $40 million easily funds appearance upgrades to a basic makeup kit, which a recent piece by Mamamia showed much lesser-known women for $400 to $800 each.

I shudder at the thought of what – as a 47-year-old woman – my own investment in this field has cost. I barely experienced the mass evaluation of a Kardashian, but I internalized the micro-examinations prompted by the occasional public appearances, and they had a material effect. Alas, “I’m not rich enough to be pretty,” sighed a friend when a recent group chat of media-adjacent guys resulted in pricey eye cream recommendations.

Khloé Kardashian is rich enough to be pretty in every way. Still, “I think it’s gotten to the point that it’s literally safer to stay home,” she says, of the embarrassment that drives her to pick up the pills.

Cosmetic procedures are now a billion dollar annual industry in Australia: 90% of procedures are for women. In 2021, the Australian beauty market grew 22 times, with women spending $3,600 on beauty every year.

What does it mean that you can literally beautify to Kardashian level and still be paranoid about how you look?

I mean, aside from “depression and anxiety levels in women are rising globally” – something that probably should be said more often. A recent article appeared in The Atlantic about an epidemic of sadness swallowing up American teenagers, especially girls. He traced his beginnings back to 2012 – the year the number of Americans with mobile social media enabled smartphones topped 50%. The writer explained that the girls have an intense sensitivity to peer judgment, which social media “seems to hijack.”

Only teenagers? A 2018 study showed that women in general were less likely to be satisfied with their bodies if they spent more than an hour on social media per day. Kardashian mentions its “deteriorating” effects on her by name.

So why do we all keep going back? Social media usage has remained steady over the past five years, despite women’s widespread experience of bullying and “heckling,” Kardashian describes.

We know why; social networks are our public square, to avoid them is to flee society. It is better to analyze how this digital square is constructed from visual content that implies that society does not change – when people do.

Philosopher Susan Sontag described the photographs as memento mori. By cutting out moments and freezing them, she writes, “all photographs bear witness to the incessant melting of time”.

Once, a metaphor for this relentless fusion was in the physical properties of the photographs themselves. They would fade, crack, wrinkle and stain. Their shapes and borders were subject to fashion, just as the clothes and hairstyles in them pinned their content to a specific moment. But the photographs are no longer artifacts of a deteriorating past. Digital photos represent an eternal visual present.

Bullying only works when it names a weakness that its victim may already feel. Heavy tradition encourages women’s self-esteem to be based on how we look – so how strong even a Kardashian could be, when the most obvious sign of the passage of time is on the body you live in, aging and changing while his visual world does not?

Our defects can be scrutinized down to the pixel. Digital photography transforms living women into portraits of Dorian Gray.

This week, 78-year-old model Lauren Hutton appeared shirtless on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. Tempering all the celebrations – OMG! She even has wrinkles! — was Hutton’s line in an accompanying interview, about his career. “I was about to turn 30,” she says, “and I knew I was about to expire.”

No wonder we spend a lot on eye cream; even model Hutton had botox. There is an existential terror in beauty. I would block it if I could. Is not it?

About Julius Southworth

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