Influencers and their ‘Influence’

Kim Kardashian

Did you see the Kim Kardashian’s Instagram post on Wednesday? With 111 million followers, there’s quite a chance you may be one of them. So I’m going to guess you have seen it. But if, like me, you are one of the extremely minor few that don’t follow Kim Kardashian West or any of the Kardashian clan – major respect to you – then you can see the photo in question above.

Doesn’t look much out of the ordinary, right? Kim Kardashian sucking seductively on a lollipop. Very PG compared to past Instagram posts. So what’s the big deal?

Again, if like me you don’t follow Kim and didn’t see her post this photo then I’m more than sure you saw it somewhere on social media, if not over thirty times. The backlash to this post was incredible.

A bitter reaction

The Instagram post by Kim was an advert for Appetite Supressant Lollipops. All above board, she even had ‘#ad’ at the beginning of the caption. But the problem everyone seemed to have was the morals behind the post.

Kim Kardashian has 111 million followers. The population of South America is less than four times this. One quarter of a continent follow Kim Kardashian on Instagram.

Considering that Kim has quite the fan base, with a number of impressionable young people among those fans, shouldn’t she be using her social media to promote something a little more credible? To make things worse, it’s also Mental Health Awareness Week. But here we have Kim encouraging people to buy these Appetite Suppressant Lollipops, further encouraging her fans to have a negative relationship with food and their diet.

But then it can be argued that Kim is very open about her diet and that she doesn’t eat very much in order to stay slim and is constantly dieting. We complain that bloggers will accept brand collaborations just for the money, even if the brand doesn’t fit in with their profile and their audience’s interests. But unfortunately, the brand that Kim promoted was quite suited to her and actually does sound like something Kim would use.

I am in no way saying that because the brand fits with Kim’s way of life, she should be promoting them to her 111 million followers. I don’t even want to imagine how much she would have been paid for that post. However, I think it may have cost a lot more to the Kim Kardashian brand as the majority of bloggers and even just friends I follow on Instagram were all outraged and making it publicly known. She has since removed a tweet linking to the post. The post still remains on Instagram with currently 1,498,767 likes.

In particular, actress and TV presenter, Jameela Jamil who recently started a body confidence campaign ‘I Weigh’, tweeted this about Kim Kardashian:

No. F**k off. No. You terrible and toxic influence on young girls. I admire their mother’s branding capabilities, she is an exploitative but innovative genius, however this family makes me feel actual despair over what women are reduced to.”

Jameela Jamil

How to use your ‘Influencer’ status

Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of the term ‘Influencer’. However, if someone claims to be an ‘Influencer’, I hope that they use the platform they have to influence for the better. Maybe they influence the clothes their followers purchase, or the beauty products and makeup they purchase. But fad diets and detox teas? Haven’t we surpassed the reality-star sponsored posts we used to see? Didn’t we see through them that they were purely laxatives in a mug and that these ‘Influencers’ weren’t even users of the product themselves, only posting for the paycheck?

I wish there were more Influencers that used their influence to make their followers more aware. Aware of various things such as the amount of plastic they use and how they can reduce this. Aware of what happens in places like the lesser developed countries and how they can do something to help. Aware of political arguments happening close to home, much like the Repeal the 8th vote that is taking place in Ireland. Irish ‘Influencers’ should be influencing their followers to use their vote and let their choices be heard and taken into consideration.

To see Kim Kardashian with 111 million followers and the influence she has on such a vast number of people, it pains me that she uses her platform to promote ‘diet lollipops’. I’m not saying Kim should start speaking about politics (not after what Kanye West has tweeted in previous weeks) but she should use her influence to promote a healthy lifestyle. Not to encourage an unhealthy image on food.

The power of the ‘Influencer’ is huge. I just wish more would put it to good use.


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