beauty

Why Kourtney Kardashian's latest Instagram post is potentially dangerous.

The Kardashian sisters have a habit of making headlines with their Instagram posts. This year alone, Kim’s platinum blonde hair, Kylie’s pillowy lips and the entire family’s obsession with waist training have all raised eyebrows and created a stir.

Today, it’s Kourtney who’s found herself in the Insta-spotlight.

RELATED: Kourtney Kardashian reveals she eats placenta pills.

Overnight, the 36-year-old — who recently welcomed her third child — jumped on her bathroom scales and snapped a photo of the number that appeared: 116 pounds (roughly 52kg). She proceeded to share that photo with her 16.2 million Instagram followers, explaining that she was “trying to bring some Monday motivation.”

Kourtney's post has divided people.

Clearly pre-empting a backlash, Kourtney added: "I'm 5 feet tall, so everyone relax I'm on a workout kick."

The post has since attracted 261,000 likes and hundreds of comments in response, running the gamut from impressed to concerned. While some of Kourtney's followers congratulated her for reaching this weight — "Great job! Keep posting, it's motivating!" one writes — others warned her about the potentially harmful impact of her post.

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"I applaud you for your hard work, but I can't shake that it seems you are setting poor and unrealistic expectations to women and especially young girls," one commenter wrote. (Post continues after gallery.)

Louise Adams, clinical psychologist specialising in eating and body image, agrees that Kourtney's post is problematic, particularly in light of the fact she so recently gave birth.

"It's so unhelpful. Having a baby is not about losing the baby weight as soon as possible — having a baby should be about having a baby," Adams, founder of Treat Yourself Well in Sydney, explains.

"Our world is so obsessed  with maintaining the lowest weight possible, regardless of your circumstance. There's so many problems associated with this focus on weight — it's not motivational, it makes people feel bad about themselves and it breeds comparisons."

RELATED: Kim Kardashian started crash dieting when she was just 13.

These comparisons are certainly evident among Kourtney's Instagram fans. One teenage follower writes, "Omg you weigh less than me and I'm 14..." That response isn't limited to Kourtney's young fans — several mums and women close to Kourtney's age also lament the fact they weigh more than her.

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The Kardashians' promotion of waist training is also problematic

Yet there are just as many, if not more, followers deriving inspiration and motivation based on Kourtney's photo, which was seemingly her intention in sharing it. Adams says this supposed focus on 'health' and avoiding obesity might seem like healthy behaviour, but really, it's not.

"There are some people who will cheerlead this kind of focus as motivational and empowering. But I don't agree that it is, or that we need to buy into perceptions of the thin ideal as a way of feeling good about ourselves," she says.

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"We live in a culture that is obsessed with appearance and body weight as the be all and end all. We can reject it and say, 'Actually, no, that's not important', or we can get on board and say, 'Yes, this is what I should be going after and therefore this is motivation and inspiration'. And that's what we see."

It doesn't help that Kourtney's post was solely focused on her weight. By sharing a photo of the number on the scales, rather than something that expressed how her exercise kick has made her feel, Kourtney's message attributes value and worth to how much her body weighs. (Post continues after gallery.)

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"Who cares what that number says? My weight does not equal my worth," Adams says. "I call scales a mood determiner. That's all they do, they determine our mood. If the scales are down we feel good. If the scales are up we feel bad."

The psychological effect of obsessing over the number on the scales doesn't end there. It can also translate into a dangerous preoccupation with food and an increased risk of disordered eating, such as bingeing.

RELATED: Experts say this kind of selfie could be triggering eating disorders.

It's obvious that Kourtney Kardashian didn't share her photo with the sinister intention of making her fans feel bad about themselves. However, when they have such huge and often very young followings, it's important for celebrities to understand that body image is a complex issue that needs to be approached carefully and positively.

Adams says a perfect example of a celebrity using their fame to spread a body-positive message is Pink's recent response to body shamers on Instagram. When nasty commenters accused her of looking 'fat' in a photo, the singer addressed their insults critically and respectfully, writing:

"I think what Pink did recently was wonderful," Adams says.

"That's what [celebrities can do] — they can use their reach and power to remind women everywhere that what we look like isn't particularly important, that we can be loved regardless of what we look like, and that bodies can change and it's no big deal."

What do you think of Kourtney's post?