Why Kylie Jenner's 17-year-old lips do have an impact on other people
While Kylie Jenner has made a name for herself in the last year by perfecting the glammed-out selfie, the 17-year-old reality TV star took to Instagram on Sunday to share her bare face with the world.
Let it be said, Jenner looks beautiful. For once, we get to see behind the falsies and the excessive eye shadow to the real girl... well, sort of.
Since developing a larger following on social media — which, coincidentally, occurred around the time she gave herself a dramatic makeover from fresh-faced teen to drama queen — Jenner has been plagued by rumors of plastic surgery.
Particularly when it comes to her noticeably fuller pout, which she proudly flaunts in selfie after selfie. Unruffled by the rumors, Jenner insists her larger lips are just the byproduct of strategically placed lip liner.
But, to many, Jenner's just-revealed no-makeup selfie offers definitive proof that the youngest member of the Kardashian clan did get her lips done. After all, her full lips absolutely look more plump than they did in 2013.
It's disconcerting, to say the least.
Jenner's fake lips send an unhealthy message to her doe-eyed fans, many of whom (read: most of whom) are tweens and teens.
Yes, she's only 17 and she has grown up in the public eye. I can't imagine what it must be like to have people watching — and commenting on — your every move during a time in your life when you are going through so many changes physically and emotionally.
But, like it or not, Jenner is a public figure and, therefore, a role model for some.
Besides, the truth is, Jenner largely chose that role for herself. She could have chosen to remain in the background of the Kardashian clan, but she has made a conscious decision as of late to put herself out there.
By going under the knife at such a young and formative age, it tells the young girls who look up to her, "You are not enough." It tells them it's OK to mutilate yourself to conform to society's standards. That it's OK to pander to outside pressures in order to gain more followers and end up on more magazine covers.
It sets young girls up for dangerous self-scrutiny against an impossible standard. Anything less than huge pouty lips — which most people don't come by naturally — simply won't be pretty or, as young girls these days are more likely to concern themselves with, sexy enough.
Instead of finding the beauty in the lips they do have, thin or otherwise, these young girls will look to Jenner and think of how easy it is to just change.
Unfortunately for Jenner (and, subsequently, her fans), she likely fell prey to the same pattern. Growing up with Kim Kardashian — who has openly tried fillers and other cosmetic augmentations — couldn't have given Jenner a clear-cut sense of self-worth without popularity and the "right" appearance.
It's a commentary on our culture as much as it is on the family.
So while I applaud Jenner for having the courage to share her bare face with the world, I sure wish I could say with certainty that every part of the pretty face looking back at me is Kylie's.
If it isn't, let's just hope her impressionable young fans have enough people in their lives telling them they are enough to know it's true — thin lips or not.
And, for Jenner's sake, I hope someone still tells her that, too.