If you've been anywhere near social media over the course of the past several weeks, then you've probably heard about the controversy surrounding a leaked photo of Khloe Kardashian.
The pic - which was taken by Khloe's maternal grandmother, MJ - shows the 36-year-old hanging out poolside, wearing a bikini.
She appears to be happy, and in good shape, and there's really nothing remarkable about the image.
Or at least there wouldn't be, were it not for the fact that it looks so different from the version of Khloe that fans have been seeing over the past few months.
The situation escalated when Khloe and her legal team launched a campaign to have the offending image scrubbed from the internet - a near-impossible feat in 2021, to say nothing of her surprising outrage over this.
Now, Khloe is attempting to explain her over-the-top response, and it seems she's unintentionally sparked an intense debate over the question of honesty on social media.
Take a look and see if you're buying what she's selling.
Khloe's New Face
Khloe Kardashian has found herself at the center of a surprising controversy over the past few weeks, thanks to a leaked photo (below). And the situation has raised difficult questions about celebrities' responsibilities to their fans and followers.
The trouble began when this image of Khloe appeared on her Instagram page over Easter weekend. Honestly, she looks great - to us. Khloe apparently doesn't feel the same way. Reps later explained that the pic was posted by an assistant without Khloe's knowledge or consent.
Nipped, Tucked, and Retouched
As any observer can see, the previous photo is not especially unflattering, but it's also not the version of Khloe that we've been seeing for most of the past year - that would THIS version of Khloe.
A Simple Misunderstanding
"The color edited photo was taken of Khloe during a private family gathering and posted to social media without permission by mistake by an assistant,” a rep for the Kardashians explained to Page Six.
Nothing to See Here ...
As for the seeming contradiction of wanting to take down an image of a happy, healthy Khloe? "Khloe looks beautiful but it is within the right of the copyright owner to not want an image not intended to be published taken down," the hired gun continued.
What's the Problem?
No one's questioning Khloe's right to at least a modicum of privacy, but may found themselves wondering why she was so upset about a pretty run-of-the-mill bikini pic going viral.
Is Khloe addicted to plastic surgery? Is she simply been a bit overzealous in face-tuning and retouching her pics? Only she knows for sure, but there's no denying that she looks quite different these days.
Defending Her Right to Photoshop
In a move that struck many people as preposterously melodramatic, Khloe issued a statement in which she explained that she's free to present herself to the world in whatever fashion she pleases and that her desire to perfect her appearance is a result of the bullying she's endured in the press.
"This is me and my body unretouched and unfiltered," she wrote alongside the images. "The photo that was posted this week was beautiful. But as someone who has struggled with body image her whole life, when someone takes a photo of you that isn’t flattering in bad lighting or doesn’t capture your body the way it is after working so hard to get to this point — and then shares it to the world — you should have every right to ask for it not to be shared, regardless of who you are."
"In truth, the pressure, constant ridicule and judgement my entire life to be perfect and to meet other's standards of how I should look has been too much to bear," she continued. "'Khloé is the fat sister,' 'Khloé is the ugly sister,' 'Her dad must not be her real dad because she looks so different,' 'The only way she could have lost that weight must have been from surgery.' Should I go on?"
Years of Pain
"For over a decade now in photos, every single flaw and imperfection has been micro-analyzed and made fun to the smallest detail and I am reminded of them everyday by the world," Khloe continued. "And when I take that criticism to use as motivation to get myself in the best shape of my life … I am told I couldn't have done it through hard work and must have paid for it all."
"You never quite get used to being judged and pulled apart and told how unattractive one is," Khloe went on. "But I will say, if you hear anything enough then you start to believe it. This is an example of how I have been conditioned to feel, that I am not beautiful enough just being me."
"We are all unique and perfect in our own way," she concluded. "I have realized that we cannot continue to live life trying to fit into the perfect mold of what others have set for us. Just do you and make sure your heart is happy."
She Went There
Khloe's post was accompanied with pics and videos which were posted as an attempt to prove that MJ's pic was uniquely unflattering, and her real life appearance is closer to what she had previously showcased on Instagram.
Missing the Point?
Many argued that Khloe undermined her own argument by asking fans to ignore MJ pic and focus on the version of herself she prefers to present.
All Over the Map
Many asked: Wouldn't that be an example of trying to fit into the perfect mold of what others have set for us
Khloe might have accrued some goodwill by sharing her story with the world, but she squandered much of it by immediately returning to posting heavily photoshopped pics,
No Role Model Here
After all, her detractors argue that many women endure the sort of body-shaming that Khloe has had to put up with, but the difference is that they lack the means to tinker with their appearance via cosmetic surgery and photo editing.
A Job She Never Wanted?
Khloe used to be seen as something of a role model for young fans who might feel that their looks don't perfectly align with the standards put in place by the beauty and fashion industries.
Breaking Down Barriers
As someone who made a fortune within those worlds, Khloe served to remind them that beauty is not limited to a single, industry-defined standard of perfection.
Flipping the Script
These days, however, Khloe seems eager to conform to those standards, and the turnabout has come as a major disappointment to many fans.
Going the Extra Mile
Lots of stars tweak their appearances using the same methods that Khloe has employed, but she's come under scrutiny for completely transforming her appearance.
Obviously, it's her body, and she's free to do whatever she pleases with it.
A Bygone Era
But she probably should've expected that there would be some minor backlash from those who prefer the era in Khloe's career in which she was unapologetically herself.
Stating Their Case
We're sure many of those people sympathize with the bullying that she endured. But they're free to give voice to their disappointment -- whether Khloe likes it or not.