In Defense of Kylie

If you were to google Kylie Jenner, the top result you would find, is the ‘Kylie Jenner Challenge’. A couple of weeks ago, this phrase was trending all over social media, as we collectively pointed and laughed at the teens who had attempted the (frankly dangerous) “challenge” of suctioning their mouths – ostensibly to try and replicate the famous lips of the youngest member of Kris’s Kollective.

It has since faded from popularity – the trend quickly lost traction as more and more testimonies emerged, showing the horribly bruised, distorted, painful results. But our collective fascination with Kylie Jenner’s lips, remains. Speculation as to whether she uses lip fillers has been rife for over a year – before the May 6 reveal that on an episode of KUWTK (Keeping Up With The Kardashians, for the uninitiated amongst us), Kylie would confess to the procedure, the media had still rarely mentioned Kylie without reference being made to her lips.

And sure, she wasn’t fooling anyone. We all knew, in our hearts, that the lips were fake. At most it was an entertaining game, the knowing and pretending to accept feigning ignorance.

But what’s it to you? What’s it to any of us? For starters, the lip fillers were being applied to Kylie and Kylie alone. I sure wasn’t suffering beauticians beating down my door with needles full of lip filler every other month – were you? If she wants to experiment with minor procedures, if her lips were an insecurity that she had the means to alter then I say more power to her! I’m all for making yourself the best version of you – and if that requires surgery and implants and fillers; so long as you know what you’re getting into then I’m all in favour.

The reaction I’ve observed over and over again has been one of outrage and betrayal. As though she broke some sacred bond of trust, people have been quick to blame, label her a liar – entire articles have been written on “Lipgate”. This is weird to me on many levels. First of all, if you fall into the outraged and betrayed camp – I have to ask; is this your first foray into celebrity culture? If so, I have some bad news for you….celebrities undergo cosmetic procedures! It’s well documented! Non-celebrities do too!

More crucially, I’ll say it again – what’s it to you? Rather than interrogate and attack, I would question why Kylie felt compelled to lie. To hazard a guess – because this was the kind of reaction she could expect to receive from the world. One of judgement, outrage, anger rather than the reaction that anyone should be given upon revealing their cosmetic surgery, or any choice they have made in their lives. Respect and understanding, a simple “I’m glad you’re happy” if you can’t manage more. This is the kind of etiquette taught in kindergarten, I kind of can’t believe I’m even devoting a whole paragraph to trying to explain this.

Teenage girls are disrespected, not taken seriously, actively laughed at across society and their agency is often denied or stolen. If plumping her lips has made Kylie Jenner feel better about herself, it has reclaimed her agency and that can only be a good thing. Its not anybody else’s business and while I do understand that the very purpose of popular, tabloid style media is to make things their business, the general attitude of contempt being exuded in her direction is unpleasant at best. It’s such a vicious cycle – you discover the young girl who is insecure and you give her attention; you build her up but still remind her she is one of many; you let her feel the weight of the pressure you place on her to be exceptional and then you tear her down for trying.

Lastly, and I believe crucially, Kylie Jenner is seventeen years old. She – as she points out – has been in the public eye since she was nine years old and it can be easy to forget, but Kylie Jenner is still a child. Developmentally, emotionally, legally she is a minor and the fact that real actual qualified adult career members of the media are falling over themselves to tear her to shreds is gross. Kylie Jenner is lucky to have a closeknit family who do love and protect one another (I won’t hear a word to the contrary about them) because at 17 she has a long way to go, you can be sure this won’t be the last time she’s picked apart for the whole world to see. I for one love her lips – fake as they may be, and I fully support whatever decision she chooses to make regarding them or any other part of her being, just so long as she keeps posting selfies on Instagram

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