I can’t believe I’m writing about the Kardashians, but I am.
Whether or not “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” or “Life With Kylie” is 100 percent real, 100 percent scripted or somewhere in between, there ARE issues in the show emblematic of the broader issues faced by women in general today.
Starting with Kylie Jenner’s lip injections.
Recently, in her E! show, she spoke about her decision to fill her lips.
“I was 15 and I was insecure about my lips. I have really small lips. And it was like one of my first kisses and a guy was like, ‘I didn’t think you would be a good kisser because you have such small lips.’ But I took that really hard. Just when a guy you like says that, I don’t know, it just really affected me. I just didn’t feel desirable or pretty.
“I really wanted bigger lips. I would overline my lips with lip liner just to create the illusion of bigger lips. And then finally I was like this lip liner isn’t doing it. [I] ended up getting my lips done.”
Put aside the fact that she speaks in what could be stereotyped as “Valley girl” speak. That’s judgmental and rude, and there’s no place for it.
What she’s saying here is something most women can relate to:
- She has insecurities (like EVERY human)
- She’s experienced douchebaggery
- The douchebaggery continues to linger in her thoughts
- She tried to solve it by hiding her insecurity
And now, she’s opening up about it and people like me are digging in and ripping apart her thoughts and actions to try to form some semblance of a moral to the story.
DISSECTING THE CHAOS THAT IS KYLIE’S LIPS
I think what alarmed me most initially was the fact she got it done at 15. When it comes to altering one’s body, I think I’m pretty central.
On the one hand, I think a woman’s body is her own property. She can do what she wants with it, and no one else should get a say.
On the other hand, if you’re altering your body in the name of independence and liberation when your underlying reason is to please or live up to someone else’s standard of beauty, well then that’s not so liberated, is it?
But then I wonder: Are we dramatizing this choice solely because it’s a celebrity? Do we think lips are a dumb thing to fix?
People make the choice to undergo cosmetic surgery all the time, and it’s often seen as no big deal.
I, for example, have a SUPER crooked jaw and used to be incredibly insecure about it. When I looked into surgical fixes, no one gave me trouble. The only thing that kept me from it was the $20,000 price tag.
And back to the age issue: At what age is someone capable of making a body- and life-altering decision? Is a body-altering decision life altering? SO MANY QUESTIONS.
We’re raised to think 18 and 21 are the barriers to adulthood
At least legally… but some teenagers are wise beyond their years! And some 40-somethings are still waking up with Taco Bell packets in their hair from the drunken night before.
But for argument’s sake, let’s assume at 18 we ARE granted this magical wisdom, and Kylie therefore should have waited. Well, then the choice would fall on her parents.
I’m assuming Kris and Caitlyn gave consent; every online source I’ve seen says Kylie’s family has remained supportive throughout the process.
But I can’t help but wonder:
Have Kris and Caitlyn taught Kylie to build her confidence or allow someone to knock it down?
Maybe the overwhelming judgement and nonstop critical nature of the public celebrities face are something we as non-famous people simply can’t understand.
I have no clue what it would be like to grow up with cameras tracing my every move, as Kylie has.
And I know some will argue, “Well, they CHOSE that!”
Yeah, but Kylie didn’t. So stop. And if she has now, we have to consider that her decision might’ve been warped based on the fact she’s known no other way of life. Who knows, maybe the idea of life without cameras is scary to her now. Maybe it would feel isolating and lonely.
Like I said: SO MANY THOUGHTS.
But despite all those relevant factors, here’s what I would like to think I would’ve said to Kylie and WILL say to any future child of mine:
You know Kylie, guys can be jerks. And you will never escape that, unfortunately. YOU CAN’T control what other people say and do.
YOU CAN, however, control your reactions.
YOU CAN work your butt off to build a force field of confidence that doesn’t allow hurtful comments to penetrate your emotions.
YOU CAN wake up and tell yourself you are beautiful and deserving and worthy of being seen.
And dammit, it’s empowering to discover all that you CAN do.
If after all that, she STILL wanted these lip injections – for HERSELF AND NO ONE ELSE – then I’d let her do it.
Do I think we need to shift some responsibility on the boy who caused her pain? Yes.
It’s about time we start raising people with awareness and open mindedness. Let’s teach today’s children to think before they speak and imagine what it’s like to walk in that other person’s shoes. Develop empathy.
Still, mistakes will be made.
So it’s on each one of us to raise not only aware children, but strong children who know their worth and won’t falter when the going gets so unbelievably tough, which it inevitably will.
I would want Kylie to take a considerable amount of time to mull her decision over. I would tell her I think she’s beautiful the way she is because we all are, and there’s power in self love.
But in the end, I think that’s all we can ask of people who are on the brink of a big decision. If they’ve fully thought it through, then we should respect their decisions.
Why would ours trump theirs?