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Kylie Jenner: victim or perpetrator?

The answer is complex and layered

Kylie Jenner: victim or perpetrator? The answer is complex and layered

The statements made by Kylie Jenner in one of the latest episodes of Keeping up with The Kardashians are making waves online, sparking a debate that, beyond factions, is very interesting and opens up complex reflections on what it means to be a woman in the age of social media, micro-trends, pervasive fame, and the ever-changing (and often impossible) standards of beauty and the perfect body.

The October 2023 Photo and Kylie Jenner's Reaction

"It’s a miracle I still have some self-confidence, that I can look in the mirror and think I’m pretty," said the influencer and entrepreneur, in tears. "After Paris Fashion Week (October 2023), a photo went viral. It was the first time I decided not to wear too much makeup. When I wear too much, they say it’s too much; when I wear less, someone photographs me in strange lighting. I’ve had those lines on my face since I was 13," she added, giving some context to her distress. The photo in question, which circulated widely, shows a close-up of her face. The public took these shots as proof that plastic surgery in large amounts at such a young age is not a good idea, sharing it everywhere and commenting without restraint. "I hear horrible things about myself constantly. After 10 years of comments, it becomes really exhausting."

Kylie Jenner's Fillers and Kendall's Response: Are the Kardashians Dehumanized?

"At this point, I’m almost numb to the chatter about my appearance. I just want to know why no one on the internet says something, why everyone thinks it’s okay to say certain things," she continued. "I dissolved half of my lip fillers last year. I hate talking about it; it feels like a waste of breath. Nothing will change," she concluded. Listening to her was her sister Kendall, who added: "This is something that affects our entire family. We are dehumanized; people think there are no rules when it comes to us."

The Online Debate: The Two Main Positions

Almost proving them right, users' reactions to these statements have been less than compassionate. "Do you think I should feel sorry for someone who has helped reinforce and impose these standards on younger girls?" someone thundered. "I’m sorry, I won’t feel compassion for her, who has become a millionaire thanks to these ideas," added another. Some users, however, tried to broaden the perspective and contextualize: "You can’t seriously believe that the beauty standards that have weighed on women and girls for centuries were invented by Kylie Jenner." So, is Kylie Jenner a victim or a perpetrator? It’s not that simple.

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Kylie Jenner and Beauty Standards: What's the Truth?

The answer is the most complex of all, fortunately or unfortunately, and it is: both. Playing in a sick system (that of patriarchy, photoshopped beauty at all costs, adultification and sexualization of girls, diet culture), Kylie and her family have indeed perpetuated negative mechanisms and continue to do so, modifying their bodies according to trends and almost always denying it, actively profiting from it. However, this does not change the fact that the system exists, it is pervasive, and it affects everyone, to varying degrees. There is a possibility that even they, in brief moments of lucidity—after all, we are talking about people, even if they are millionaires, even if they live in a bubble—realize it and suffer from it. Kylie Jenner is both a handmaid of patriarchy and a victim because in patriarchy, there are no women who are not, even when they try to side with it. And if we don’t have time to feel sorry for her, that's fine, but it’s something to consider.