Goodbye prison reform, hello full-body medical imaging. Kim Kardashian is once again using her platform to promote important issues, so why are people calling her out?
Telling Kim Kardashian to ‘stay in her own lane’ is pretty redundant these days. Thanks to her multiple thriving businesses, fashion and beauty endorsements, TV commitment and her endless work advocating for prison reform across the US, Kardashian simply doesn’t fit in one lane alone.
She’s the epitome of a celebrity who no longer needs a talent to justify their fame. Sure, she may have climbed the ranks by taking advantage of a scandalous sex tape release, capitalising on the public interest in herself and her family, but the star has since proved she’s much more than that narrative.
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But one of her recent Instagram posts promoting a ‘lifesaving’ MRI scan, has sparked a deeper debate about the responsibility of celebrities when it comes to promoting and recommending medical services and treatments.
“I recently did this @prenuvo scan and had to tell you all about this life-saving machine,” Kardashians writes. “It has really saved some of my friends‘ lives and I just wanted to share.”
The company markets itself as providing ‘clinical quality at non-clinical speeds’, offering a range of whole-body diagnostic imaging all within one sitting. While no one doubts the machine’s ability to detect and diagnose threatening conditions and abnormalities, there are concerns widespread use without proper medical oversight could lead to grave misinterpretation and demand that our health system simply can’t keep up with.
According to Prenuvo’s website, the ‘whole body’ scan Kardashian raves about costs about $AU3,850. Lined up against Kardashian’s net worth, the cost of the scan is laughable But for the average Australian battling the rising cost of living, it’s anything but.
The last thing I want to be likened to is a celeb-basher, tearing down the rich and famous for simply existing. Because truly, I love the Kardashians.
I love their style, their adorable kids, their unapologetic confidence and their petty family dramas that keep us glued to the TV every week. They’re my favourite celebrity family, and Kimberly has always sat at the helm of the ship, steering them into stardom.
But I do think the magnitude of hyper-fame these sisters and their Momager represent, the intense wealth and notoriety they exude, compels us to examine what they do and say with a higher level of scrutiny.
#NotAnAD, but does that matter?
The post, like much of what Kardashian does, generated a pretty mixed review in the comments section. Some praised her for shining a light on the lifesaving technology, while others were appalled.
While Kardashian clearly states the post is not in paid collaboration with the MRI company, the backlash from fans in the comments criticises the shoutout, perhaps the greatest inability to read the room since Marie Antoinette apparently told her starving subjects to ‘eat cake’.
Posing next to the machine in a full face of glam, fans claimed Kardashian was flaunting her immense privilege to be able to afford and access expensive treatments such as this, while the majority of her followers are struggling to afford basic healthcare.
Isn’t all attention good attention?
In some cases, the waitlist for an MRI scan can be months long. Despite outpatient MRIs being covered by Medicare, Aussies can still be required to pay up to $1,000 upfront, with only part of that cost sometimes eligible for rebate.
The fact of the matter is, that MRIs are a really sophisticated and expensive service, and each scan requires a complicated organisation of medical resources.
And it’s not the first time a Kardashian has dabbled as a mouthpiece for the world of medical treatments and pharmaceuticals.
For some time now, Khloe Kardashian has been flogging a prescription drug for migraine prevention and management, Nurtec OTD, to her not-so-modest following of 311 million.
As someone who has suffered from debilitating migraines for the last 10 years, I can tell you first-hand that the prevention and treatment is far more complex and individualised than an Instagram recommendation.
And while these pill promotions are very clearly a paid affair, with a list of disclaimers attached, the migraine drug is still a prescription medication, and certainly isn’t effective or appropriate for every case.
Those in need of urgent medical attention and diagnosis certainly don’t need Insta-swayed hypochondriacs clogging up the queues.
So while it may seem wonderfully altruistic for mega-celebrities like Kardashian to use their social media platform to inform people about medical advancements and treatments, their recommendations – paid or not – shouldn’t replace those of medical professionals.