On September 12, Kim Kardashian announced her latest SKIMS release: Maternity Solutionwear.
The news received mixed reactions and a lot of feelings, to say the least.
Kim swiftly responded to the backlash, claiming the new line isn’t actually “shapewear”, despite being sold under her shapewear label.
According to Kim, the new collection is “not to slim but to support” a pregnant body by providing some compression to help reduce swelling, ease the weight of a belly, and give the back a little relief. Then, when worn postpartum, the compression aids as the body works to restore itself and provides support that is especially helpful to people who delivered via c-section.
There’s definitely a valid argument that having that compression support after delivery is helpful, but whether or not that’s true during pregnancy, I’m not sure.
I’m not a doctor but I have had two high-risk pregnancies. During them, I dealt with swelling and repeatedly threw out my back, two of the very things Kim claims this line helps. But when I brought up these concerns to my doctors, none of them ever recommended compression/shapewear.
Granted, every healthcare team, body, and pregnancy are different, but this is telling because wearing something like this would have been a non-medical intervention, which is preferred — especially during a high-risk pregnancy. Also, as most people who have been pregnant probably know, the worst swelling happens in your hands and feet so I’m not sure how the shorts or the bodysuit styles help that.
But, putting practicality aside for a moment, the bigger problem at hand is that she’s marketing maternitywear under the SKIMS label, a brand that’s all about “smoothing, enhancing, lifting, and toning” — aka fixing — your body.
In fact, Kim’s entire brand is built on conforming to societal beauty standards and encouraging others to do the same. She’s promoted diet lollipops and waist trainers, beamed when someone told her she looked anorexic, and even celebrated getting the flu in 2017 because it helped her lose weight before the Met Gala.
For more than a decade, Kim has continuously sent the message that your worth is based on your body and appearance. So, why would anyone assume her messaging is different with this maternitywear line? Given her track record, it’s hard to believe that this product is about anything other than “fixing” what pregnant people are often told are flaws and that’s just plain gross.
If Kim truly wanted this maternitywear to be about function, she would have created a new label for it. Or, at the very least, she would have marketed the product differently from the rest of her shapewear. But she didn’t differentiate the line from the rest of SKIMS at all.
If she had just been honest and said her line was shapewear and supportwear, then she would at least be owning it and it might not have been such an eye-roll moment.
Instead, she’s asking everyone to believe she’s suddenly no longer profiting off the very thing her fame is built on. Please.