While just a few years ago the extremely slim type was considered the ideal, it is now the slim-thick physique. He experienced a real hype on Instagram un TikTok in 2022. Slim-Thick is a body shape that thrives on extremes: it is characterized by an extremely narrow waist, flared hips, large breasts and a pronounced buttocks. This body image is matched by a number of prominent women who feature heavily on social media.
The slim-thick body is not only propagated by them, but presented as the ultimate beauty ideal. Kyle Jenner, Kim Kardashian and Shirin David in Germany are among the most famous representatives of this body shape. They earn a lot of money with their curves. The celebrities regularly post revealing pictures of themselves. Since they have a very high number of followers (Kylie Jenner 377 million, as of January 2023), the imitation effect cannot be denied.
The slim-thick ideal is unrealistic and remains an ideal
Young women and girls in particular, who make up a large part of Jenner & Co.’s fan base, want to emulate this body type and do a great deal to achieve this ideal. Even dangerous measures like surgeries, harmful cosmetics and starvation diets are means they resort to. Viewers of these idealized images should always be aware that body shapes are not trend phenomena.
Also, emulating the supposedly healthier body shape (compared to the extremely slim shape) can have significant drawbacks. Both Jenner and Kardashian openly admit to editing their published photos with a photo editing program like Photoshop. It is therefore very realistic to assume that the body image has been alienated and is thus unlikely to occur in reality.
Therefore, it cannot be achieved naturally by imitators. Although the Slim-Thick figure trend of Kim Kardashian and Jenner was initially viewed positively, it also promotes self-doubt and dissatisfaction among women. By not labeling their photos as edited, they contribute significantly to the dissatisfaction of their fans, is one criticism. (Unlike in the U.S. or Germany, influencers in Norway must label such images).
The problem of exaggerated body images like Slim-Thick
The glorification of body images leads to more and more people feeling a strong pressure to change in order to also conform to this ideal. But it remains an ideal. By idealizing a body image, others are in turn discriminated against. The more a body image is propagated as desirable, the more people will despair of being able to conform to this ideal.
The likelihood that these people will develop eating disorders and other mental illnesses increases markedly. The mental illness „eating disorders“ has the highest mortality rate among young people (source: German Federal Center for Health).
York University Toronto published a study on the relationship between representations of a body ideal image, mood and body acceptance of young women. The study involved 402 female undergraduate students. It concluded that comparison with body ideal images led to more dissatisfaction with weight and appearance, in contrast to the control group.
The more pronounced the perfectionism regarding physical appearance, the greater the dissatisfaction with appearance and weight. The study also found that shifting the ideal image from the very slim to the slim-thick ideal was even more damaging to body image than striving for the „thin ideal image.“