Since Kim Kardashian West first announced the new KKW Beauty Skin Perfecting Body Foundation, the reality star and entrepreneur’s launch has elicited a range of reactions on social media.
“I use this when I want to enhance my skin tone or cover my psoriasis,” Kardashian West wrote on Instagram alongside a video of her using the product to conceal red, raised patches on her legs. “I bruise easily and have veins, and this has been my secret for over a decade. I’ve learned to live with and not be insecure of my psoriasis, but for days when I want to just cover it up, I use this Body Makeup.” Kardashian West also illustrated the transformative results on her 84-year-old grandmother, Mary Jo Campbell, who wanted to obscure her arm and hand veins. While the body foundation was positively received by many followers, others criticized the inherent messaging behind the all-over camouflager.
And now Jameela Jamil, who spoke out against Kardashian West when she promoted Flat Tummy Co’s appetite-suppressant lollipops, is weighing in, getting candid about her own so-called imperfections. “I have such severe eczema all over that my legs are covered in huge patches of pigment loss from scratching,” explained The Good Place star on Twitter. “I have a ton of stretch marks, and because I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, every time I cut, I scar. I refuse to have these normal human marks weaponized against me.”
While Jamil’s convictions were met with support by other women who are empowered by loving their body as is, Twitter users also presented a counter argument: You can be confident with a visible skin condition and still enjoy wearing makeup. In her response, Jamil clarified that it wasn’t her intention to propose a rigid dichotomy, nor does she think wearing body makeup is wrong. It’s the “why” of it all that concerns her most. “I never said wearing body makeup makes you a bad feminist, or wrong in any way,” she explained in a follow-up tweet. “I suggested that as men aren’t told to cover up, why should we have to spend the money and time doing so? Especially SUCH time-consuming stuff. I just want to know why our perfection is expected...” Zeroing in on the impossible beauty standards that are placed on women, Jamil, a radical self-acceptance advocate, makes a valid point through the lens of gender equality—at a charged time for women’s rights, too.
But while it’s easy for the KKW Beauty Body Foundation to be construed as further burdening women with expectations of perfection, there’s no denying that Kardashian West has, at least, offered solace to other women who wrestle with skin conditions by being transparent about her own psoriasis and how she copes with it. And much like face foundation might provide comfort to an individual suffering from severe acne, if one for the body helps a woman feel more comfortable when she leaves the house, is it a bad thing? As with most questions of bodily revision, perhaps the most important takeaway is that each woman feels she has a choice.