In case you missed it, reality star Kylie Jenner admitted to having lip fillers. Although not totally shocking, it is pretty big news, considering the fact that the Internet is obsessed with her lips. Kylie Jenner has been dancing around the topic of her pout and plastic surgery for months. It was obvious that something was up – she went from slim lips to a perfectly huge, symmetrical pout that she was suddenly flaunting at every opportunity. The 17-year-old baby of the Kardashian-Jenner empire has only ever denied rumors of lip injections, saying “These plastic surgery rumors hurt my feelings to be honest and are kinda insulting.” That is, until now.
While some people might be rolling their eyes at this confession, I'm quite relieved that Kylie has come out to tell us the truth. Why? Because it proves that she's not perfect and that she's only human.
Let me tell you something about my body: I’ve been blessed with gorgeously plump, pillowy, Angelina-Jolie-esque lips. They’re genetic – even the men in my family have large feminine pouts. Am I lucky? Well, maybe. Before you decide, consider the fact that I have slim, boyish hips and a tummy so soft you could sleep on it.
I adhere to the belief that not everyone has been blessed with everything. I’ve seen beautiful young women struggle to pass their classes, I’ve seen brilliant men struggle to communicate in social situations, and I’ve seen wildly funny people grapple with body confidence. No one is 100% perfect, ever. That’s the key thing to remember when we discuss Kylie Jenner’s lip injections.
In the Keeping Up With The Kardashians clip recently posted to E!, Jenner says, "I have temporary lip fillers, it’s just an insecurity of mine and it’s what I wanted to do […] I want to admit to the lips, but people are so quick to judge me on everything, so I might have tiptoed around the truth, but I didn’t lie.” In the same clip, little sister Kylie comes to big sis Khloe Kardashian, freaking out when the press pressed her on the issue during an event, admitting she didn’t know how to handle the question. Big sister had the best advice: if you did it, own it. “Kylie decided to plump her lips and I don't think there is anything wrong with that,” said Khloe in the E! episode sneak preview. “I think if you've done something though, it is right to cop up to it. If you avoid the question you're gonna look like a liar.”
I was hopeful that Kylie Jenner’s lips – like Kim Kardashian West’s nose – was a transformation, thanks to modern day makeup trends, and I was not the only one. A bunch of teenagers underwent the #kyliejennerlipchallenge recently, suctioning bottles and glasses to their lips to make them swell. At least now they now know that Jenner had to rely on professional cosmetic services to get there — not some shot glass. And although that might not set a good example, at least she's 'fessing up to the fact that she's not perfect and that she has insecurities, too.
Kylie, with all her wealth and privilege, is not alone in her quest for perfection. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 63,623 cosmetic surgical procedures were performed on people age 13-19 in 2013, while 155,941 surgeries were minimally-invasive procedures. Top producers include breast enhancements, male breast reduction, surgical correction of the ears, and nose jobs.
But, here’s the thing about celebrities and plastic surgery: celebs need to understand that they are voluntarily setting the beauty and body positive (or negative) tone for the rest of the free world. Did they agree to that responsibility? Maybe not directly, but they sort of did when they signed that reality TV contract, when they wrote that book, and when they starred in that campaign. Kylie Jenner’s insecurity is her lips, while mine is my stomach. We are no different, expect for our visibility, accessibility, and platform. Kylie likely made the decision to get lip fillers based on her emotional relationship with the lips she was born with. She likely didn’t think of, let alone accept, the responsibility she had to her 22.6 million Instagram followers.
I understand and sympathize with her shyness around the topic. Who wants to admit their insecurities? However, she is doing right, right now, by coming clean. No longer will teens have to abuse their faces to achieve an unrealistic expectation.
I think we should all chalk this up to lessons learned. Not everyone is born confident. Not everyone is born with this or that one particular physical trait, like a flat stomach or full lips. It often takes behind-the-scenes hard work in the gym, in the kitchen, or in the doctor’s office. What you have, inherently, may be what someone else is working their ass off (or paying a plastic surgeon) for.
I’m happy to see Jenner owning her insecurities, and the steps she’s taken to overcome them. Maybe now we can all cool it with the lip liner, and start highlighting what we have instead of hiding what we don’t.