The Kardashians never look anything but perfect online, but does anyone really look this good in real life?instagram: kimkardashian

That images of Kim Kardashian West are heavily photoshopped should come as a surprise to no one, but the outcry over the recent unedited paparazzi photos of her arse arguably justifies the endeavour. If a woman can’t leave the house without being mobbed by photographers desperate to catch her at an unflattering moment, it is much more understandable that she might want a degree of control over which image of her is propagated.

Should we even be allowed an opinion on Kim’s body? A lot of people don’t care about the images of celebrities, but those that do often do so vociferously, and retouched images can be damaging to the self-expectations of individuals with low self-esteem. Kardashian West’s disappearing cellulite is hardly fake news in the way that the doctored photos of Donald Trump’s inauguration are. Instagram, where Kim Kardashian West frequently posts images of herself are, astonishingly, cellulite-free zones, is known to be a selection of the edited highlights of a person’s life, with photos showing people having the time of their life, while sometimes belying the reality of the situation as being somewhat less enjoyable than implied.

“Why do we demand physical perfection from these people, and then of ourselves, when there is no need for it at all in the first place?”

Editing is not necessarily restricted to the moments chosen, either; there is currently no disclaimer in Kardashian West’s bio stating that nothing is retouched. An Instagram user captioning a photo with ‘#nofilter’ once does not mean that a blanket ban on filters applies to everything posted thereafter. Kardashian West hasn’t lied, just as if she posted a photo of her smiling when she was actually sad she wouldn’t be lying, and the indignation of the over 100,000 people who have unfollowed her in the wake of this supposed ‘scandal’ is hardly righteous or justifiable.

The unedited photographs of Kim that leaked on the internet caused outrage from her followersYouTube: t1gerlilly

If anything, it reflects our own insecurities. We feed off celebrity culture the way we do food, and yet we know that the images in food adverts are heavily manipulated, with mashed potato standing in for ice cream, and copious amounts of hairspray employed to keep errant crumbs in place. No one expects their ready meal to at all resemble the image on the cardboard, so why should a living, breathing, changing person be expected to maintain a state of perfection when not even inanimate, pliable objects such as food can? Society relentlessly holds celebrities to account for bodily perfection, and this is the issue that needs addressing, rather than which cellulite remedies Kardashian West could be employing to eradicate any imperfections from her body. It’s a vicious cycle, with the pressure on celebrities leading them to use photoshop all the more, and instilling the attitude in some non-famous people that they themselves both can, and must, look like these manipulated images.

Beyonce is a singer, not a model, yet her use of photoshop has still been criticised.instagram: beyonce

Most people are not celebrities. They do not have teams of nutritionists, glam squads, personal trainers and stylists to get them ready to leave the house as celebrities do. Through these factors, the playing field is made irrevocably unfair before photoshop is even considered. There is a difference in the purpose of appearance if, as for most celebrities, your popularity is predicated entirely on your appearance, so to expect the same of an average person as of a celebrity is madness. Why, then, do we put so much pressure on ourselves? Beyoncé, who has also encountered criticism for photoshopping her photographs on Instagram, is a singer, and nowhere in the definition of ‘singer’ is the phrase ‘perfect body’ contained.

Why do we demand physical perfection from these people, and then of ourselves, when there is no need for it at all in the first place? We could take heart from the fact that, despite the amount of effort that goes into maintaining her appearance, Kardashian West has bodily imperfections, just as any human being does. Or, better still, we could change our attitude. Society has no right to expect perfection from anyone, and perhaps should hold itself to account, rather than anyone who dares to contravene the arbitrary regulations on image it imposes.