An Open Letter to Kylie Jenner.
You don’t know me and you probably never will. After all, you’re one of the most famous women on this planet, and I’m just a 21-year-old writer from Melbourne who has a penchant for diet fizzy drinks and staying up until 3am watching a show called ‘Dating Naked’ (it’s amazing, you should watch it).
Anyway, you and I lead completely different lives.
For example: while you gift your best friends with a Mercedes when they turn 18, I’m still trying to repay my mum for the shitty Holden Barina I bought when I was 20.
Unlike you, I don’t have a supermodel for an older sister (my sister Claire is really pretty, she hasn’t been on the cover of Vogue, though). I don’t have 39 million Instagram followers (I’m just a tad off that). I don’t have the world’s most popular SnapChat account (I have a grand total of 66 SnapChat friends). My name doesn’t start with the letter ‘K’ etc etc etc.
In the space of one year you have dealt with more family-related scandal than I will know in a lifetime.
While the biggest change in my life has been my parents’ separation this year, you’re coming to terms with your father’s transition into a woman, the very public breakup of your sister Kourtney and her partner Scott, and the recent hospitalisation of Lamar.
When I was your age (yes, I’m speaking like a grandmother but bear with me) I had $3.50 to my name. I went out four times a week. I was dating boys. I was seriously considering a medical procedure called ‘Umbilicoplasty’ which involves surgically reshaping one’s bellybutton (this sounds ridiculous but I assure you it’s true). Why? Because I was 18, adulthood was unknown and scary and fresh and I was finding my way.
And yet despite all of our differences, we share something in common, Kylie. We share the fact that we are self-conscious, that we worry about the natural shape of our lips and the curve of our bodies. That we have both dabbled in diet tea in an effort to slim down. That we both have incredibly attractive sisters, to whom we are constantly compared.
We share the fact that we are both young women, and are each trying to navigate an adult world that demands we be aesthetically beautiful.
Unlike you, I don’t have an army of people scrutinising my wardrobe, my boyfriend, my family, and my appearance, though.
While the pressure to look attractive is something I put on myself, you have half of the developed world screaming out your ‘flaws’. Thousands of people who want to tell you what’s ‘wrong’ with how you look, telling you why your insecurities are valid and why they are necessary.
You are the target of comments like this:
The gossip media, in all of its wonderful compassionate glory, has portrayed you as the ugly sister since you were just a kid:
And You’re. Just. A. Teenager.
I know what it feels like to be self-conscious, and that’s why I thank my lucky stars that unlike you I continue to live most of my life in complete, blissful privacy. I am so grateful that my awkward years of self-discovery and experimentation were never tabloid stories. I never had my photograph taken without my permission and then plastered across the walls of social media. I was never publicised as ‘the ugly sister’.
And that’s why I’m not shocked when I see this:
I am not surprised by reports that you have had plastic surgery, and that you have felt the need to alter your appearance.
Kylie, it’s too easy to forget that you didn’t necessarily choose the life you have. You were born into fame, into a family that attracts drama like a magnet. People might say that you chose this life, but I’m not convinced. I don’t know if you can understand the pressure that comes with fame when you’re just a child.
I don’t think you ever had much say in how your life has turned out. Not really.
There is not enough money, or shiny cars, or pairs of false eyelashes in this world to make me envious of you. Because even in this average skin, in this unmonitored existence, I struggle with insecurity.
All of this makes me think – is the fact that you have gotten plastic surgery surprising?
This is exactly what the world should have expected.
The adult world has held up a mirror to your young face since you were nine, and that mirror told you that you are inadequate. It repeatedly told you that you are not Kendall, you are not Kim, and that therefore you are imperfect. That mirror told you that the way you were born was unacceptable. That mirror reflected you as the ‘ugly duckling’, and it told you that looking good is your sole purpose in life.
I think you are a young girl who is chasing what many of us chase, acceptance. The difference? The world is quick to judge you, but is painfully slow in turning that mirror back onto itself.
If you have gone under the knife, Kylie, I don’t judge you. In fact if I were in your position, I think I would have done the same thing.