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"What irks me about this photo of Khloe Kardashian has nothing to do with her or her body."

On Saturday, Khloe Kardashian posted an image of herself to her 82.7 million Instagram followers promoting a meal replacement shake that’s currently 30 per cent off for Black Friday sales.

As the caption and the partnership tag showed, this post was a “paid partnership” with a weight loss product company for their Flat Tummy Co shakes.

“#ad So look at this you guys! The flat tummy bundle by @flattummyco is definitely helping to keep my weight from fluctuating,” the 34-year-old captioned a composite image of herself in activewear front and side on.

“Stress affects my body in various ways (weight included????) but I feel tight, toned & fab with their new Chocolate Shakes.”

Like others on the interwebs, this kind of advertising makes me feel really bloody uncomfortable. What irks me about this photo of Khloe Kardashian in particular has nothing to do with her or her body.

Scrap that. Many, many things about this photo irk me, but we’re talking about a sliding scale of irksomeness here.

For example, the following post on Khloe’s feed was a Black Friday advertisement for her body positive fashion label Good American. The brand sells jeans and activewear in sizes up to a 4XL and features women of that size wearing them in their advertisements.

Next to a photoshopped image promoting a weight loss shake, the contrast is jarring.

Medical professionals and eating disorder experts would also have a lot to say about how this kind advertising promotes a warped ideal of both healthy weight management and body image.

It’s not the first time a Kardashian has promoted a weight loss product from this brand. In May, Kim Kardashian West was widely criticised for promoting weight loss lollipops on Instagram. At the time, we spoke to three dietitians, none of whom could confirm these appetite suppressant lollipops would actually do what they claim, nor would they ever recommend them to a patient.

Of this kind of celebrity influencer weight loss marketing, The Butterfly Foundation told Mamamia “any product that glamorises appetite suppressants or extreme dieting of any kind is dangerous and unsafe, particularly for those who are vulnerable to these types of messages.”

But the wider message that bothers me here isn’t to do with the photoshop mistakes or the sight of her flat stomach. Or even her.

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As actress and body image activist Jameela Jamil posted on her Instagram in response to Flat Tummy Co’s ad with Khloe Kardashian, I don’t singularly ‘hate’ or blame Khloe for this. She, like the rest of us, has been conditioned to fix what’s wrong with her body, particularly after a holiday period like Thanksgiving in America.

Brands that use old-school influencer marketing like this – I say old-school because even in the last five years, so much about how brands work with influencers has changed – are manipulative.

They also assume that we’re all dumb enough to believe in this. That we, the customers and consumers, don’t have the awareness to look at this image and question whether these shakes would actually make our stomachs look as flat as Khloe’s.

There’s no doubt Instagram is home to vulnerable people, including women and girls with low self esteem who might feel like they’re not good enough, who will look at this image and click through to find out more about that product.

As to why some people are vulnerable and susceptible to this stuff and others are able to say ‘umm what the hell, this isn’t right,’ Kotowicz said it comes down to our individual experiences and personalities.

Judging by the comments, most people were able to recognise the image was heavily photoshopped, resulting in lines in the background not matching up and carpet disappearing, and that Khloe looks as great as she does because she exercises rigorously and eats ‘clean’, as she often posts about on social media, and shaves a little off her silhouette before uploading.

To brands who do this: we’re not idiots. Frankly, I’ve kind of had enough of being treated like one by marketers.

People will never stop buying things, and some of those things will be from an Instagram ad. But the rose coloured glasses are well and truly off.

The time for buying something just because a Kardashian held it in a photo feels like it’s passed, doesn’t it?

If this article has raised any issues for you or you’re worried about a loved one, please contact The Butterfly Foundation’s National Helpline for Eating Disorder and Body Image Issues Support on 1800 33 4673. If you’re in immediate danger, call 000.

What do you think about Khloe Kardashian advertising weight loss products on Instagram? Do you think the blame and responsibility lies with her, the brand, or both?

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