If you live in the public eye people are going to talk about you, and nobody on earth lives in the public eye of the social media storm quite like the Kardashians.
Kylie Jenner, the youngest member of America’s most social family and new mum, has grown up in the spotlight and has now become the topic of a(nother) creepy meme.
The memes strongly imply Kylie’s transformation into the 20-year-old Queen of Instagram wasn’t completely natural.
I aint mad at her I just want the surgeons name pic.twitter.com/LPdBtUdQZA
— Kardashians (@ltsKardashians) January 3, 2018
Kylie Jenner’s curated existence leaves many of her devotees concerning themselves with what is ‘real’ about her appearance and what, on the contrary, she has injected, dyed, plumped, preened and paid for with her largely inherited millions – you know, the Big Questions.
In Kylie’s defence, puberty is a pretty rubbish time for most people but going through the most awkward years of your life with the whole world examining every single part of you must be scary.
Kylie has spoken out about the unique pressures this charmed existence lays before her:
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Not to mention the sad fact that some male (and, surprisingly, female) observers seem not to understand the concept of female biology, which causes certain aspects of a woman’s body to change.
It’s part of the reason she kept her pregnancy so quiet, choosing instead to enjoy the highs and lows – both physically and emotionally – of childbirth in the privacy of her multi-million dollar home.
She took to Instagram to (unnecessarily) apologise for her Instagram absence:
Jenner announced she’d given birth to a healthy 8lb 9oz baby girl on February 1 at 4:43pm via YouTube and Instagram yesterday, after a long social media hiatus from the self-titled cosmetics ‘baby boss’.
You can watch the sweet video, titled ‘To Our Daughter’, below:
Her baby name announcement – Stormi Webster, in case you missed it – is the most liked photograph on Instagram of all time.
Of course Kylie does invite an unusual amount of attention on social media because that is how she makes her living selling lip kits and t-shirts to people who admire her online persona.
Like this guy, who has received death threats over his obsession:
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But if you found yourself as the youngest member of the notoriously nepotistic Kardashian family it’s hard to imagine you’d have much choice in the matter really.
People were always going to dissect her life, so she might as well be earning some dollar.
In fairness to the people who find Kylie’s appearance highly suspect, both Kylie and Kendal looked very different in 2008.
But then who didn’t look different in 2008?
It was 10 years ago. Scrolling that far back in your Facebook photos is probably a bizarre form of torture. No wonder no one can Keep Up with Kylie.
Kylie herself has joked about her own unusual ageing:
But despite admitting that she’s changed rather quickly the reality TV star has previously denied having plastic surgery.
Tempting as it is to side with the mean spirited meme makers in this instance it’s important to remember that Kylie was a teenager going through all the normal stuff teenagers go through – but in an unimaginably unusual setting.
The life of Kylie is a strange and sad case of self-censorship, self-objectification and self-preservation which you can hardly blame her for, considering she’s unfairly hounded left, right and centre by tabloids, while remaining utterly reliant on press for her livelihood.
And, after perusing some of the sick, depraved comments on social media about both Kylie and her innocent child, I’m guessing there are a lot of people who would rather Kylie wasn’t in the public eye so much.
Those cold-hearted folk certainly got their way over the past nine months.
The beauty businesswoman had been incredibly quiet on Instagram since TMZ revealed she was expecting – but most of us would chalk it up to fear of systematic criticism pregnant women and their baby bumps face from keyboard warriors.
Rachel Waddilove, author of The Baby Journal, among other parenting advice books, told UNILAD about the minefield of advice for those new to motherhood.
From ‘practical pressures’ to the ‘chaos’ of introducing routine, as well as choosing whether to breastfeed, ‘attachment parent’ and ‘co-sleep’, Waddilove, who also runs a consultancy service offering help and advice to parents of babies and toddlers, said there’s ‘huge pressure’ on young mums – particularly those in the public eye.
Waddilove, who has worked with other celebrity mums, added:
We live in a time when everything is public, right down to what your child had for tea. It’s crazy. We’ve lost the plot. It’s so important – whoever we are – to be able to be private. I take my hat off to her.
Birth is a great leveller and whether you’re a celebrity mum or Mrs Bloggs from round the corner, you’ll go through exactly the same emotions.
Moreover, when celebrity mothers come back into the magazines, that puts pressure on a new mother, particularly with pregnancy and the aftermath.
In the past few years, with the dissemination of divisive social media commentary, expectant mothers are increasingly subjected to systematic structures in our society which alienate young pregnant women both online and in their day-to-day lives.
Waddilove believes Jenner’s decision to extricate herself is ‘sensible’:
Social media can be incredibly damaging because the younger generation spend most of their time looking at a screen – and it’s like gospel truth to them.
Even though there’s lots of good stuff about social media, if its not used properly, it takes away a person’s ability to make a free choice.
For young women it can be quite dangerous as social media can bring your stress levels up and down, especially if someone says something negative about you.
And pregnant women – particularly women as controversially capitalist as Jenner – are no stranger to negativity.
Whether it’s judgement online for lifestyle choices during pregnancy, age and body shame, the unwanted attention from strangers in the street who grab at bellies, demonstrate a lack of spatial awareness and perpetuate the assumption that baby hormones make women act or behave in an anti-social way, expectant mums get it from all angles.
But, the dip in activity was eerily frustrating for the self-titled Dash Dolls, who sent themselves west reading way too much into Kylie’s limited online updates, and creepily demanded to see a baby bump in the comments sections across the world wide web.
Thus is the strange, baffling world we live in.
So, perhaps it would be better for everyone’s sanity if Kylie Jenner just subtly dropped under the radar; better for her obsessive fans to abandon their idol and carry on living their lives, better for the new mum’s self-worth in the face of a barrage of abuse and most importantly, better for her child?
Kylie is a product of a social media generation. She sparks a dangerous cocktail of reactions from the public, ranging from reverence, to rage, to utter disrespect by way of ridicule and reckless indifference.
It’s not to say she’s responsible for the backlash she so regularly receives for simply existing. It’s almost like it’s not personal – even though words can hurt her just as much as anyone else.
It’s almost as if she simply represents everything wrong and unjust about our capitalist system which rewards elitist connections and beautifully made-up faces.
We – as a society – created these social media creatures. Some blindly bolster them to fame and fortune, while others cruelly tear them down.
Maybe by early next year Kylie will have ‘realised things’ enough to see social media can be both a blessing and a curse.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.