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The #KylieJennerChallenge Exposes the Problem With Celebrity Worship

Teenagers are now injuring themselves to look like Kylie Jenner.
By Courtney Sanders, 21 Apr 2015
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The #KylieJennerChallenge Exposes the Problem With Celebrity Worship
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We were all teenagers once. Hell, some of you probably still are. We all know then, that during our teenager years we are vulnerable to the social pressures around us and will pretty much do anything to fit in and be "cool". All of this was bad enough when I was a teenager (too long ago), but youth today have the Internet and social media to make them feel bad about themselves all the time, rather than just when they're actually hanging out with other people or chatting to one other person on MSN Messenger.

Enter Kylie Jenner, her wonderful life, her beautiful looks, and her 8.91 million Twitter followers, who want to be just like her because: aspirations. Under the hashtag #KylieJennerChallenge, these followers are trying to emulate one of Kylie Jenner's less believably natural features, her cushion-y, bee-stung lips, by, oh, you know, sucking on a cup until their lips are swollen because they are bruised. The process is much like receiving a hickie, except, well, way more intense and less fun.

Here are some delightful examples:

kyliejenner3.jpg

kyliejenner4.jpg

Recently, I tried to unpack my adoration for Michael Fassbender, and argued that we are predisposed to idolize celebrities for a number of biological and sociological reasons that are outside of our personal control. We are not all crazy stalker people, then. One of these biological reasons is that we are just really into attractive people (I reference a study in the above article where even babies are more attracted to attractive people), and we elevate people with symetrical faces in our society because of this. Which is obviously in part, why the Kardashians and Jenners have courted the following they have.

However, with the advent of social media, particularly Instagram, there's this much more insidious, economic factor at play: we all want to be rich and fabulous, so we can take photos of our rich and fabulous lives, and become more rich and more fabulous.

If I were a teen today, I probably still wouldn't stoop to sucking my face off until it turned blue in order to look like Kylie Jenner, but I would be constructing my online persona in the same way she has, in the hope of courting the same kind of following and achieving the same kind of success.

I am so glad I am not a teenager right now.

-

Liked this? Read these articles about social media:

1) Instagram Has Updated its Nudity Policy

2) How Instagram is Classist, and Why That's a Problem

3) How Instagram is Perpetuating The Beauty Myth

4) Stop Calling 15 Year Old Lily-Rose Depp a "Megababe"

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