Talking Point: The #KylieJennerChallenge

Okay, unpopular opinion: I fucking hate celebrity culture. It’s not that celebrity gossip doesn’t interest me because, to some extent, of course it does. I’m only human, after all. I’m not a fan of TOWIE or Geordie Shore, or any other celebrity reality shows. Unless they’re eating kangaroo bollocks in the Australian jungle, count me out. To be frank, the only people I want to hear about are my friends and family. I’m far too busy with my own life to be interested in what the Kardashians are doing for Christmas, and who’s had their boobs done. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest issue I have with celebrity culture is the unrealistic expectations young girls and ‘ordinary’ women place upon themselves as a result. We’re not ordinary women – we’re extraordinary women who deserve to feel beautiful and we should never feel inadequate because we don’t match up to celebrities who have stylists and makeup artists to make them look flawless. Yet, we do. Younger generations in particular feel they need to look a certain way, and in some cases they go to extreme lengths to imitate their favourite celebrities. There is no example more fitting than the #KylieJennerChallenge, which quickly developed into the #KylieJennerChallengeGoneWrong – because when was it ever a going to be a good idea?

Women (and men) everywhere have been attempting to recreate Kylie’s luscious pout. Whilst Kylie claims to use ‘only lip liner’ to enhance her lips, Dr David Alessi (who has not treated her) believes “the lips have been augmented”.

Please don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I have a problem with Kylie per se, because I absolutely don’t. Nor do I have an issue with those who regard celebrities ‘icons’ – each to their own. It’s just that I am a little uncomfortable with the fact that a 17 year old girl, so influential towards her adoring young fans around the globe, is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on cosmetic surgery whilst her dad Bruce Jenner is criticised for making a bold, beautiful lifestyle choice to undergo gender reassignment surgery after years of feeling he’s not being true to himself.

Recently, chat-show host Wendy Williams stunned the world as she took a rather ferocious swipe at Bruce’s decision to become a woman. Wendy revelled in the support of her audience, as she commented: “Bruce Jenner is a fame whore who never should have had children.” Harsh.

What Wendy failed to acknowledge, if you ask me, is that regardless of what happens in the lives of the Kardashians/Jenners, it is going to make headlines. If Kylie forgets to flush in a restaurant, you’d better believe it’s going to make headlines. They are famous and very much a hot topic right now – of course we are going to hear about it – virtually immediately. Bruce is not some average Joe, calling his local paper or glossy magazine to sell his story for five sleazy minutes of fame. Bruce is a human being who lives his life in the limelight, and unfortunately, by doing so he has unwittingly given the press permission to document his every move. Fame comes with a price.

Bruce is making a decision that will be with him for the rest of his life; when he looks in the mirror, sleeps, eats and breathes. His decision is admirable; he wishes to channel his true identity and for that, he should be the celebrity icon. Not his daughter, whom by anybody’s standards is still a child. Bruce’s decision has the power to influence millions afraid of accepting who they really are to be brave and take a leap, one they may never have had the courage to make before reading Bruce’s story. He has the power to encourage gay people to accept themselves, the fear of shame and humiliation that so many wrongly fear cast aside. He has the power to change the world. He could be a marvel to the LGBT community. Kylie’s decision has the power to influence young, vulnerable teenagers to take drastic and absolutely unnecessary measures to alter their appearance. Yet people are too busy criticising Bruce and copying Kylie to notice how backwards it is.

If Bruce should be criticised for anything, then surely it should be solely for allowing his child to become an adult before her time. My parents are pretty mellow, but I know in my heart that even now, at 20, they would go batshit if I so much as suggested undergoing a cosmetic procedure. And as an adult, I still feel too young to even contemplate such drastic measures. I appreciate that celebrity teenagers are very different to ‘normal’ teenagers; there seems to be some ludicrous, unwritten rule that suggests they must keep up with the Madonnas and the Sarah Jessica Parkers. And that’s absolutely fine, but don’t throw away your youth. Be a kid and have fun with it. Wear sparkly mascara, for christ’s sake. My generation had an ugly phase – yours should too.

Kylie is believed to have spent in excess of $400,000 to upgrade her look

Kylie, much like her sisters, is a beautiful girl with buckets of potential to do wonderful things. She is so, incredibly powerful and influential in the eyes of young women everywhere, and should be using that power for good. As for Bruce, I think more people need to respect his decision. After  all, we all deserve to feel beautiful.

What are your thoughts on Kylie’s drastic transformation?

Follow me on Twitter @varleylou.

Until next time…

l-12

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