The Kylie Jenner influence
Above image: Image from flickr.com (no attribution required)
Kylie Jenner, at the age of 21, is labelled as the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, making an estimated $1 million per sponsored post on her Instagram.1 According to the 2018 Instagram Rich List, complied by Hopper HQ, she is the highest paid celebrity influencer on the social media platform.2 With these statistics at state, there is no doubt that Kylie is one of the most influential celebrities, in terms of perpetuating certain ideologies and trends about women and their bodies to her diverse fan base.
One of the most outstanding trends Kylie perpetuated to her fans in recent years, would be the controversial debate of her lip enhancement, which came about in 2015 and whether this was natural or through the construction of plastic surgery. This turned out to be one of the biggest social media blow ups, where young teens insert their lips into a shot glass, small jar or bottle, and then sucked out the air, creating a vacuum. The hope is they’ll end up with pouty lips like the reality TV star. But some attempts have gone awry, where girls ended up with bruises, soreness and even torn skin.3
The Kylie Jenner challenge
This trend was then labelled ‘the Kylie Jenner lip challenge’ forwarding young teens desires to make their lips look poutier and replicate Kylie’s without the use of plastic surgery.
For a long time, Kylie denied achieving her pout without the means of lip injections, forwarding young girls to want to experiment ways in which they could achieve a similar look. YouTube famous stars such as Nicole Sykes, uploaded videos of them doing the challenge, which it can be argued gained Kylie more publicity and potentially encouraged Nicole’s fan base to try the challenge too. The video received over 5 million views when it was uploaded in 2015.
The catastrophic results
The results were catastrophic where these teenage girls had bruising, blistering and even infections that would require antibiotics to clear up, which occurred from suctioning the lips so aggressively.3 This highlights how much of an influence Kylie Jenner is in forwarding young girls to make drastic changes to their bodies, so much so, that they’re willing to harm themselves quite severely within the process.
Kylie Jenner tweeted on April 21, 2015 “I want to encourage people/young girls like me to be YOURSELF & not be afraid to experiment w your look.” After this trend, Kylie gained the greatest amount of popularity and notice out of all her sisters, and her famous pout helped her build a beauty empire.4 This forwarded her career and follower fan base on Instagram, helping build her label in society as the the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.
Kylie admits to having lip fillers
The ideology was perpetuated that in order for teens/young women to be beautiful and popular in society then you must construct your image to fit in with the desired bodily discourses in a westernised society. Kylie was only the age of 17 when this trend came about in 2015, and with her fan base being of a similar age or even younger, encouraged them to make these drastic changes to their appearance simply because a celebrity influencer was doing the same. For a while, Kylie told her fans that her pouty look was achieved through over drawing her lips with lip-liner. However, the reality star finally came clean about her lip fillers on an episode of ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’.
It can be suggested that the power Kylie has in perpetuating these certain ideologies about women and their appearance, can be heavily influenced by her older sisters, such as Kim Kardashian, who is another Instagram influencer in exploiting representations of body Image.
The Kardashian/Jenner effect
Not only has Kylie exploited certain ideologies about women’s facial appearances, but she also uses Instagram as a way of exploiting her body, and with this, ideologies about body image are formed. The term ‘the Kardashian effect’ has been labelled by plastic surgeons Dubrow and Nassif, due to the family being the most influential celebrities when it came to the “work” patients suggested.5 This highlighting just how much the Kardashian’s/Jenner’s have in exploiting bodily ideals, due to their presence and the extensive amount of exploitation of their bodies on social media platforms, such as Instagram.
An example of this being, her nose job, buttocks enhancement and breast enlargement. Having all these dramatic procedures done before she turned 21, forces teens/young women to question their own bodies, and question where they stand in a westernised society obsessed with being perfect. It is evident that Instagram is one of the most toxic social media sites for females to idolise others, such as the Kardashian’s/Jenner’s, so much so, they will take drastic measures to change their own body image to further replicate theirs.
In conclusion, Kylie Jenner is a prime example in displaying the digital impact she has in implementing ideologies on beauty and body image to her followers and to society.