BAFT: The Kylie Jenner Challenge – Culture Appropriation

I’m kinda glad I missed updating on Wednesday (my body is not adjusting to my new schedule as well as I hoped) because of the newly confirmed suspicion: Kylie Jenner used lip fillers (temporary).

So ladies, you can stop sucking on that shot glass or bottle or can of Coke or whatever it is that you’re using to do the #KylieJennerChallenge. But I also needed time to figure out how to address a rather sensitive issue that was brought up as criticism on the fad and it involved race.

Now, this is probably the closest thing I’ll ever get to discussing race and given the recent events about race issues, I’ll try not to get too deep into it because I know how ugly it could easily get and I don’t want this site to be a political platform discussion because politics has no place here.

That being said, I want to finish my thoughts on the #KylieJennerChallenge because it’s run its course. The big reveal is finally done (though I doubt it’ll stop people from continuing to suck on some object to create a vacuum effect) and there’s not much else to say about it, really.

In order to understand the craze behind Kylie Jenner’s filler-injected lips, I turned to Google to see if it could give me some wisdom. Google delivered with results – now it was up to me to pick which one provided the answer I was looking for. And I came across an article (link right here) that criticized the whole fad altogether, but not for the reasons I was expecting.

The article criticizes the challenge for turning what used to be a historically lampooned feature of black people into a fad. At first, I honestly thought it was the race card being played, but I decided to check out the link because one of my classmates used to share links on her Facebook that spoke on the same topic, except they were shared before the challenge even existed.

Reading through it was a bit of a history lesson for me – most of what I know about history is from school and that’s the sanitized version. I never knew that black people were caricatured for their physical features – from big boobs to big asses to big lips. The authors felt that the #KylieJennerChallenge trivialized the mockery and dehumanization that ancestral black people suffered and endured.

In other words, the author want to know why it took Kylie Jenner to popularize or beautify a common feature of black people.

Some have criticized articles that critique the #KylieJennerChallenge on the basis of racism for race-baiting and that some white women are born with big lips yet nobody is criticizing them for “stealing a feature that’s known to be aesthetically black.” Here’s the thing, though: we’ve never seen women and girls undertaking extreme measures to imitate those women as much as we see now. Angelina Jolie’s been lampooned for having natural big lips and nobody dared to imitate her (she was cited as an example).

Now we have Kylie Jenner sporting the same thing artificially and everyone suddenly wants a pouty pair. What gives? What about Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Viola Davis, Gabourey Sidibe, Lupita Nyong’O?

Heck, why can’t we just celebrate beauty regardless of skin pigmentation?

That being said, I think ultimately the bottom line of this is that Kylie Jenner isn’t happy with herself. Yet she’s gone on Instagram saying that she encourages people to be themselves.

Cultural appropriation is just one strand of this whole web – not its definitive aspect.

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