Beauty feminism

Did Kylie Jenner watch my YouTube video?!

July 12, 2018
Kylie Jenner lip filler removal

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I jest; it’s pretty unlikely that Kylie Jenner, soon to be the youngest ever self-made billionaire (a title previously claimed by Mark Zuckerberg at the age of 23) in the US, watched my little old YouTube video – but she definitely took my advice, because the youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner klan has removed her lip fillers.

Yes, you read that right; Kylie, who has made her fortune on the back of her big lips and her even bigger lip kits, has opted to remove her filler, confirmed in a comment on one of her recent Instagram posts.

When Instagram user @haleithorn remarked, “she looks like the old Kylie here idk why”, Jenner responded, “I got rid of all my filler”.

Kylie Jenner lip filler removal

Why should we care what Kylie Jenner does?

It’s an interesting question – on the surface, what Kylie Jenner does or doesn’t do with her lips should not matter to us in the slightest. I wish it didn’t matter to me. But examined on a macro level, Kylie Jenner has been massively influential in terms of trends in beauty standards and, yes, cosmetic surgery.

This news comes at a time when my beloved Love Island is being credited with fuelling a dramatic rise in the number of young women – specifically, women between the ages of 18 and 25 – enquiring about lip fillers. It’s clear that, whether we like it or not, us humans are susceptible to being influenced by the existence of subjectively beautiful* women on our screens, perhaps especially if they’re starring in so-called reality TV.

The presence of these sexbots on a show with the word “reality” in its description infers that we could, and perhaps should, look just like they do

While we can justify the beauty of actors in high-budget movies by putting it down to make-up, lighting and post-production – “she’s meant to look ridiculously beautiful” – I think the presence of these sexbots on a show with the word “reality” in its description infers that us mere mortals could, and perhaps should, look just like they do. It’s within our reach, so to speak.

The Kylie Jenner / Kim Kardashian beauty standard

Kim Kardashian was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes

A recent article in The Pool pointed to the Kardashian-Jenner kohort (sorry) as having entirely changed the face of beauty in the 21st century. Where, a mere decade ago, we were looking to models and actresses for our “beauty inspo”.

As Tina Fey says in her book, Bossypants**: “Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.”

There is no good way to exert pressure on women

Crucially, there is no good way to exert pressure on women to adhere to a beauty norm – whatever standard is de rigueur at any given time, the overarching message is: “You must strive to be less of yourself and more of [insert name of relevant beauty icon].”

Will this change the face of beauty in 2018 and beyond?

It’s a massive question to ask of a decision taken by a 20-year-old about her own face – but, let’s be clear: it happened before. Kylie Jenner’s decision to get lip fillers, way back when, and to talk about them publicly, was most definitely a factor in the massive increase in the numbers of women enquiring about and undergoing the procedure. So could her removal of said filler result in a mass exodus – from the lips equivalent of Angelina Jolie to the slimmer (no less beautiful or acceptable) lips of Jennifer Aniston, so to speak?

Of course, nobody knows – and, plump lips or no, Kylie Jenner is, once again subjectively, an incredibly beautiful humanoid robot. The rest of us, sitting at home in our jammies watching Love Island‘s Megan winning the hearts of every idiotic man on that godforsaken show, may not feel quite as confident. So, y’know, maybe a little bit of filler might help make navigating this world a little bit easier – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

An addendum

Since filming the above YouTube video, my feelings – like the fillers of many of the women I was talking about – have softened. I entirely resent and reject the pressure put on women to conform to particular standards of beauty, and I wish those pressures weren’t exerted so strongly and felt so keenly. But I understand them. As I get older, I grow more and more empathetic, I think, and I understand that, though conforming isn’t always the best thing to do, generally speaking, it may be the best decision for an individual. Sometimes I think that my life would be 10 times easier if I had a shitload of surgery; we only get one go at this life, and we live in a culture that is incredibly judgemental. Maybe it would be easier to be considered one of the beautiful people. Then I remember how much money I enjoy spending on granola and I go off the idea. But I get it.

*There is no way of calling someone beautiful without acknowledging the fact that beauty is subjective. What one person considers attractive, another person may not; what one culture reveres, another would shun. When I say “subjectively attractive” what I mean is that right now, in 2018, in Western culture, this person is widely considered to be attractive. I’m trying very hard not to make a judgement based on that assessment. 

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