According to Clay, Vignoles and Dittmar (2005), the media commonly places a significant amount of emphasis on women obtaining self-worth from the outward appearance of their bodies. However, this image of what is considered a beautiful body is becoming unattainable for the average woman to have (Clay et al., 2005). E-News is a newscast that has a television presence and online presence that disseminates news about celebrities and their personal lives. They have a significant focus on the Kardashian family. E-News transmits news that glorifies the Kardashian’s body shapes and suggest that they are ideal body shapes for women in society. E-News frequently posts articles about the Kardashian family and their physiques, calling them ‘fit’ and suggest that their bodies are desirable.

According to Olds and Barnes (2013), celebrity gossip may make people compare themselves to celebrities as a way of seeking self-improvement. Celebrity gossip also makes people seek self-improvement by comparing themselves to people that they desire to be like (Olds & Barnes, 2013). E-News is a celebrity gossip platform because their news reflects the lives of celebrities and their daily lives. They particularly broadcast news about the Kardashian family and their famous bodies. They suggest that the Kardashians have ideal body shapes, which is seen from their articles.

Does E-News depict the Kardashians as role models for female body image?

According to Cashmore in 2006, (as cited in Olds & Barnes, 2013) consumers have become invested in the lives of celebrities and they have appeared to be god-like people, that people look up to as role models. The Kardashians are seen as role models worldwide, and this is depicted by E-News on a daily basis, because of the dissemination of news articles written about the Kardashian family.

According to Alexander in 2010, (as cited in Olds & Barnes, 2013) after the 1910s, audiences generally began to develop an interest in celebrities and their personal lives. The Kardashian’s personal lives are publicized by E-News who reports news about them on a continuous basis. Kardashians are often shown on E-News because they are considered as newsworthy. According to Olds and Barnes (2013), celebrities have wide appeal because they relate to sensationalism stories that usually revolve around elite people (celebrities). According to Clay, Vignoles and Dittmar (2005), the desire to be thin is becoming more desirable amongst women in society because they are being exposed to movies, programs, and magazines that commonly portray certain body shapes as desirable for women to have.

Social media is commonly used by journalists as a way of sharing their news stories online (Ritter, 2015). E-News use their social media accounts such as Twitter, as a gateway for people to access articles that they have posted about the Kardashians. They have written a news story about Kim Kardashian’s body suggesting that she has an ideal body type, because she was still able to wear a bikini when she was pregnant.

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 10.00.11 pm.png

According to Chojnacki, Grant, Maguire and Regan (n.d.), desired female body types are those that are reflected by the media. They tend to be preferred body types and are seen as unattainable to the masses (Chojnacki, et al., n.d.). This reflects how even though Kim Kardashian’s body is seemingly unattainable because of her curves, E-News still writes articles about it. E-News associate positive words with the Kardashian’s bodies in order to emphasise that they have ideal body shapes.

Why does E-News particularly focus on the Kardashians?

Gorin and Dubied in 2011 (as cited by Armstrong et al., 2015) noted that celebrities must fulfil a certain criterion in order for them to be considered newsworthy, which involves having a glamorous lifestyle as well as showing that they are normal people with relatable personalities. This suggests that the Kardashians have a ‘glamorous lifestyle,’ and are worthy of news coverage. Therefore, E-News ensures that the public is up-to-date with changes in the Kardashian’s lifestyles such as their bodies, their weight loss and fitness routines.

According to Rojek in 2001 (as cited by Armstrong, McAdams & Cain, 2015), attributed celebrities is the third category of celebrities which includes individuals that are famous because they have a significant amount of attention given to them from the media. The Kardashian Family lies within this category of celebrities and is noticeably given a significant amount of attention from E-News.

What have the Kardashians been doing on the E channel to spread body image messages, and how have people reacted?

Sensationalism usually relates to elite people in society and is seen as one of the main roles of journalism to make people feel excited about news articles that have been posted (Armstrong, McCain & Cain, 2015). On E Channel, they have their own show called Keeping up with the Kardashians and Khloe Kardashian’s latest show called Revenge Body, that focuses on achieving a desirable body that fits societal standards. It is suggested that women who have appeared on the show have low body confidence because they do not fit societal standards of beauty. Even though Khloe Kardashian is helping women achieve the bodies that they want, the show’s main focus is on how women look. This show suggests that women who look a certain way are not beautiful.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.51.03 pm.png

Two comments of criticism on a YouTube video that E-Entertainment posted on the show suggest that people who watch Khloe Kardashian’s show, may be influenced to think that women are not beautiful if they look a certain way. People have questioned the implications of Khloe Kardashian’s body messages of creating the show.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.51.56 pm

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 12.51.28 pm.png

These users have criticized Khloe Kardashian for her new show, and have questioned whether the show has implications for women’s self-esteem regarding their body image. This suggests that E-News and the channel are also responsible for the criticism since the show was programmed on E Channel. According to Ceron (2015), social media platforms such as YouTube allows citizens to discuss information that has been broadcasted by news outlets because they are able to speak about their own opinions and perspectives in relation to the information that is being broadcasted. Social media provides a public sphere that allows citizen’s opinions and thoughts to be shown which is not moderated by news outlets (Ceron, 2015).

How does E News’ portrayal of the Kardashians bodies seen to have negative effects on women?

 

Celebrity gossip can allow people to look at their selves for self-improvement (Olds et al., 2005). A negative connotation of E-News articles that have disseminated ideas of the portrayal of the ideal body shape for women, is that it makes women look at their own bodies for self-improvement. According to Clay, Vignoles and Dittmar (2005), media platforms such as advertising and magazines are portraying the idea that females should be focused on their outward appearance, even though cultural perceptions of desirable female body shapes are unattainable and unrealistic for many women in society. E-News have posted articles about the Kardashians and their promotion of products such as waist trainers. Celebrities allow the public to see into their personal lives through the use of social media (Armstrong et al., 2015). Kylie Jenner uses her own social media accounts such as Instagram to promote waist trainers to millions of followers that she has. This suggests that women may get an unhealthy idea of body image and the idea that Kylie Jenner’s waist is desirable and that the products she has promoted are worth buying. In the image below, she mentions her own body and how the product is helping her maintain her shape.

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 9.50.05 pm.png

How has this portrayal of the Kardashian’s bodies brought about news from other news websites?

The dissemination of news written about the Kardashian’s bodies being seen as desirable for women has brought about a significant amount of discussion from other online news outlets such as New York Daily News. They have discussed that Kim Kardashian’s body is unrealistic and unattainable to the majority of women in the world. In contrast to E-News, they have a different perspective on the Kardashians and the body image messages they are portraying. The New York Daily News provides a link to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook on their articles to allow citizens to voice their own opinion about these body image messages. According to Shapiro, Brin, Spoel and Marshall (2016), the act of news organisations publishing their articles onto social media has allowed for a public discussion of people’s ideas and feelings in relation to the ideas that have been broadcasted by news media. Ceron (2015) has discussed that the introduction of social media allows for people to read and comment on news articles with their own perspectives, which eliminates an elite-biased perspective to only be represented.

How do other perspectives on women’s beauty differ from E News’ perspective?

Clay et al., (2005) notes that these ‘ideal’ representations of the female body, can result in women feeling dissatisfied with their own body shapes and feel the need to adjust the way that they look themselves. This has lead to a social media discussion online about the implications of the Kardashian’s bodies being idolised, and how important it is for young women to realise their own self-worth. For example, a YouTube channel called StyleLikeU focuses on interviewing women that have a different perception of beauty that is not considered the norm in society. One of the comments on one of their YouTube videos reflect the message of the video of inner beauty, that portrays a different message to what the Kardashians and E News are portraying which is not focused on the outward appearance of females.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 1.29.37 pm.png

What is social media’s role amongst this? How are citizens involved in determining what news they read about the Kardashians?

According to Ceron (2015), social media has separated the internet into two different groups called Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. Web 1.0 contains news websites such as E-News that broadcast their news in a one-way communication fashion to the public. E-News is a news platform that has disseminated information about the Kardashians to the public but does not respond to information in return. Ceron (2015) notes that journalists want to keep having one-way communication as a way that they can influence the public. Web 2.0 involves social media platforms such as personal blogs, and other social networking sites that allow people to communicate freely with other people in the public (Ceron, 2015).

Social media blogs allow for people to interact with each other about topics that have been discussed in the media and discuss information about the elite from an unbiased perspective (Ceron, 2015). This has noticeably happened online since people have discussed the Kardashians and their body image messages that they are broadcasting to the public. For example, fitness celebrity Blogilates has written a blog about the Kardashians and their Instagram influence. This reflects how she is a part of Web 2.0 and has a different perspective on the Kardashian’s bodies than E-News since she is trying to influence girls to think that the Kardashians portray an unrealistic and unattainable body image to young girls. She has discussed what is portrayed as ‘real’ news online, and has urged young women to not believe everything that the Kardashians are posting on their social media accounts, as well as news that is posted about the Kardashians, such as the articles that E News has posted.

Other online websites such as Harpers Bazaar have written about how unattainable the Kardashian’s bodies are for women to have. Their articles regarding the Kardashians differs to E-News’. Their article has addressed that Kim Kardashian’s body is favoured by women, but is an unrealistic achievement for most women to obtain.

In conclusion, E-News posts many articles in relation to the Kardashians. They are heavily associated with them because they have their own television shows on the E channel. However, in comparison to other news organisations, E-news has portrayed a biased perspective on the Kardashians bodies, by idolizing them to have desirable female bodies. Other news organisations have seen the flaws of their perception of beauty, and have broadcasted opposing news articles. Social media has also allowed for public discussion amongst citizens in relation to ideas of body image, which also differs to E-News’ perception of beauty in regards to the Kardashian’s bodies.

Sara Dajani

References

Armstrong, C. L., McAdams, M. J., & Cain, J. (2015). What Is News? Audiences May Have Their Own Ideas. Atlantic Journal Of Communication, 23(2), 81-98.

Ceron, A. (2015). Internet, News, and Political Trust: The Difference Between Social Media and Online Media Outlets. Journal Of Computer- Mediated Communication, 20(5), 487-503.

Chojnacki, M.S., Grant, C., Maguire, K., & Regan, K. (n.d.). Depleting Body Image. Retrieved from https://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~jpiliavi/357/body-image.htm

Clay, D., Vignoles, V.L., & Dittmar, H. (2005). Body Image and Self-Esteem Among Adolescent Girls: Testing the Influence of Sociocultural Factors. Journal of Research of Adolescence, 451-477

Olds, Jeremy and Barnes, Lyn. ‘We look after our own’: The cultural dynamics of celebrity in a small country [online]. Pacific Journalism Review, Vol. 19, No. 2, Oct 2013: 86-106.

Ritter, M. (2015). The Socially Challenged: Exploring Obstacles to Social Media Integration in Newsrooms. Global Media Journal: American Edition, 13(24), 1-15.

Shapiro, I., Brin, C., Spoel, P., & Marshall, L. (2016). Images of Essence: Journalists’ Discourse on the Professional “Discipline of Verification”. Canadian Journal Of Communication, 41(1), 37-48

Advertisements