Trigger warning: Name an eating disorder
The Met Gala — a staple of spring, an event for members of the very affluent society to parade in designer outfits and remind the world that they are printing the much coveted invitations. The show is almost always publicized as pop culture fans and the general public alike gather with anticipation to gaze at the stars in all their glory. Fashion is often as extravagant as money spent on parties; whether any celebrity is on the list of best or worst clothes, their look is considered a success if people talk about it.
If anyone likes this talking phenomenon in town, it’s Kim Kardashian. Her Met Gala performance made a statement, like most of her performances, but it might not be the statement she was looking for.
Kardashian wore the dress Marilyn Monroe wore when she was famous – or famous, depending on who you ask – singing John F. Kennedy’s ‘Happy Birthday’ in 1962. The dress, a see-through Jean-Louis gown accented with over 6,000 hand-stitched crystals, touted by Guinness World Records as “most expensive dress in the world.”
Kardashian is determined to wear Monroe’s historic gown to the 2022 Met Gala: themed “Gilded Glamor and White Tie.” After being given permission to wear the dress for the event, Kardashian vowed to do whatever it took to fit the dress.
In an interview with Vogue, Kardashian detailed the extreme steps she took to change her size into a Monroe dress: including wearing a sauna suit, limiting food groups, and exercising frequently. Kardashian insists, “I don’t starve myself, but I am very strict.” However, the act that Kardashian described was starving in nature… for a dress she only wore “in minutes” because of its “fragility and historical value.”
Kim Kardashian is one of the richest and most influential figures in the world. The Kardashian platform is vast and expansive — so much that can be done, one might say, to promote change and drive empowerment. Instead, the platform is being used as a breeding ground to promote harmful habits that align with disordered diets. Many popular media outlets, including People Magazine, Buzzfeed News, Us Weekly, and Entertainment Weekly, have featured Kim Kardashian’s actions without significant criticism.
Us Weekly calls Pete Davidson a “support king” to cheer up Kardashian while she’s “worried” about fitting in the dress. Decorated with almost comical ignorance, Buzzfeed News states, “Say what you want, but when Kim thinks of something, she gives it.” Weekly entertainment declared Kardashian to be “the icing on the cake at the 2022 Met Gala.”
Kardashian shared a desire to honor Monroe’s memory by wearing her dress to the Met Gala…and she did, with heartbreaking irony. Although Monroe’s legacy is largely identical to her appearance, Monroe harbors a deep sense of insecurity around her appearance. Before he became famous, monroe underwent a series of cosmetic surgeries: including rhinoplasty, overbite correction, chin implants and even hairline electrolysis. Kardashian, of course, is no stranger to bending her body to fit a particular aesthetic: her shapewear line, SKIMS, promises “a solution for every body” worth more than $3 billion.
In her last interview before her death, Monroe confessed, “I am one of the most self-aware people in the world. I really have to fight… Everyone always pulls you. They want some of you.” Monroe’s legacy is strong in life and death, but she still has the same insecurities that consume so many of us.
To be clear, this is not a criticism of Kim Kardashian: she is simply a product of our society and its misleading perception of beauty. Our body is not a problem that needs a solution. Our bodies are not aesthetic. Our bodies are vessels that carry us through life.
Kardashian made it to the top of the best-dressed lists – but at what cost?