Who Says There Has To Be An “Ugly Sister”?

Image for article titled Who Says There Has To Be An “Ugly Sister”?

In a recent interview with Cosmopolitan: Middle East, Khloe Kardashian said she finds it difficult to keep her self-esteem up when she is constantly subjected to negative comments.

"I'm the ugly sister. I'm the fat one. I'm the transvestite. I have had those mean things said about me at least twice a day for the last five years. It's horrible, you know? But I can brush that stuff off. Kim and Kourtney have said to me, ‘If we were put under the same negative attention that you are, we couldn't handle it.'

"If I want to wear a long flowing dress, someone will say I'm pregnant. I believe we're not given any more than we can handle and most of the time I can handle it. But we all have fat days and if I'm having one of those days, those sorts of things make me feel down."


When you're a woman in the entertainment industry, it goes without saying that you can expect a lot of running commentary about the way you look. But if you also happen to have siblings in the industry, comparisons between which one of you is "hotter" than the other are also pretty inevitable.

Hell, there are still arguments over which Olsen twin is more attractive (key word here being ‘twin') to this day.

Maybe it's just human nature, but why is it so important that we point out which sister is "less hot"?

As the eldest of two girls, I distinctly remember our parents occasionally making comparisons between the two of us: who had the "better" nose, better hair, who was pale (me) and who was tan (my sister). The worst part was, very often these comments would be made in front of my sister and I, leaving us with little choice but to resent one another for the various physical attributes one of us (apparently) lacked and the other possessed.

It's a terrible thing to do to two women in any scenario, but it's even more harmful when it pits two siblings against each other.

The thing is, as far as I can tell, nothing can be gained from the juxtaposition — save for our culture's obsession with empirical data. So what do you think, dear readers? Have you had similar experiences among your siblings? Do you have a theory as to why we seem to find this exercise so fascinating? I'm all ears*.


*There's a pun in there, but I'm not touching it.



This seems to be something people feel compelled to do with people who're related to each other. It's not unique to the Kardashians, and it's always worse with women - any famous women in the spotlight will always be compared to each other, the Kardashian sisters just get it more than most because they're viewed as coming as a set, like a girlpop band.

I wonder if it's rooted in family dynamics, and those scar all of us so we keep playing out the same pattern for the rest of our lives. I don't have siblings, but in my family it was done with cousins too. We even got it between cousins of different sexes - my male cousin and I who have the same first initial were the "pretty" ones and the "talented" ones, which was endlessly pointed out to the other cousins in a "why are you so inferior?" way. But we were also the bad seed cousins - too wild, not loyal enough to the family, too inclined to roam away from the family hometown. Same thing happened in the previous generation - I can see this pattern in my Dad's siblings, with the prettier ones being fawned over and the less pretty ones expected to stay close to home and do all the grunt work, for which they're praised, but also sort of looked down on. My family is weird - in our case the "pretty" ones were also generally the "smart" ones, so that created rivalry didn't exist, it was more like the pretty and smart ones go have adventures and are resented for it, but are acknowledged to be somehow superior, while the plain and less intellectual ones hold up the whole foundation, and they're expected to sacrifice their own happiness to do so. It's pretty fucked up, and designed so that basically everyone resents everyone else over something.

So it's not just pretty vs smart. Families are built around rivalry in various ways, and I think we keep on playing that out as a society even if we escape our own little family bubbles. So when given a set of famous people who are also an actual family, of course that tendency goes into overdrive. It's good that it doesn't seem to be suceeding in driving a wedge between the siblings in this particular case, much as it has to suck for all of them.