The Kardashian-Jenners have all the power, none of the responsibility, and a global influence that’s almost impossible to fathom.
These women have built an unprecedented reality TV empire, dominate social media platforms and have undertaken business ventures that have put them at the forefront of the fashion and beauty world. But it’s 21-year-old billionaire Kylie Jenner whose latest enterprise has made punters doubt whether she actually cares about her young female followers, or is just manipulating their adoration for a quick buck.
In the past week, Jenner announced that she would be launching a skincare line. Kylieskin’s first drop would feature six staple products, including a walnut face scrub. This didn’t sit well with many of her followers, who compared the allegedly “gentle” daily exfoliator to the cult-favourite St Ives Apricot Scrub that was recently the subject of a class-action lawsuit, where plaintiffs alleged the crushed walnut shells used in the product makes it “as abrasive as using sandpaper on your face”.
So why would Jenner, a rich millennial with the world at her feet, release a product with this ingredient when there are proven, more effective alternatives? Fans were understandably confused and angry.
But the furore goes beyond the scrub. Jenner has been promoting this skincare line as her “secret” for perfect skin. While her older and wiser followers know it takes a lot more to achieve her signature look, the young girls who make up the majority of her following are none the wiser.
It’s a marketing tactic that Jenner and her sisters have mastered. Whether they’re selling skincare, appetite-suppressing lollipops or skinny teas, they will claim that it’s the “secret” to their glowing skin or tiny waists. Of course, this tactic works: when you tell young women that the only thing that lies between them and Kardashian-levels of beauty is a swipe of their (or their parents’) credit card, how can they say no?
Their followers aren’t in their tax-bracket; they don’t know that you actually need a personal trainer, nutritionist, a surgeon and some damn good genes to look like Kim or Kylie, nor do they know the potential risks of using these products. Young girls are so desperate, so whittled down by societal expectations that they’ll jump at any chance to get them closer to that idea of perfection that is always just out of reach.
The Kardashian-Jenners are manipulating their young followers and as long as they’re turning a profit, they don’t seem to care. Kardashian-West herself admitted that it was “easy work”. But as women with daughters of their own, how can they reconcile the harm they’re doing to their followers’ mental and physical health just because they’re making millions per post?
Admittedly, Jenner promoting her skincare line is not as bad as pushing non-FDA-approved weight-loss products. But she owes it to her young admirers to be more transparent about how she really achieves “flawless” skin and maybe do some more research when it comes to selecting ingredients for her exfoliants. It’s not like she doesn’t have the means to do so.
The Kardashian-Jenners know how to use their power for good. Kardashian-West has recently helped release 17 people incarcerated on harsh drug charges, a feat that would be difficult to achieve without her status. There is no excuse for these women to continue misleading their naive followers and promoting unrealistic beauty ideals. There is already so much pressure on women to be perfect — is this the world they want to raise their daughters in?