The beauty is on the inside

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By: Kyndall Cunningham, Columnist 

What I’m about to say may be frowned upon by my peers or on social media, but I’m going to say it anyway: I feel bad for Kylie Jenner. It’s something you don’t hear often, but I refuse to believe that everyone “hates” the Kardashians as much as society tells them they should. Scrolling through Instagram and seeing her all over my Explore page (including memes of her before and after surgery), I realized that Kylie Jenner represents an overarching issue in pop culture that many of her critics ignore so she remains the target. Everything is pornified.

It’s no secret that sex sells. Whether it’s sexy lyrics in songs, nudity in films, or advertisements for practically anything, the sexier the better. However, sexual imagery doesn’t just titillate the person viewing it. It sets the standard for what people expect women’s bodies to look like, and in some cases, what women are literally dying to get.

If you follow the most popular female celebrities on Instagram (models, singers, reality stars, etc.), you get a plethora of sexy photos with women of different body types posing as hard as they can to achieve the same look.

For the most part, I can detect when someone’s butt, hips, and boobs aren’t real. There are plenty of celebrities who want you to believe that they squatted their way to a giant behind, but it’s just not believable. They’ve succumbed to the 2016-2017 version of an hourglass shape. Even the skinniest of models who have to stay somewhat natural are arching their backs and squeezing their boobs together to give the impression that they have curves. And don’t get me started on everyone’s giant duck lips.

It’s complicated to criticize or even have a discussion about women’s bodies, sexuality and nudity without people calling you a slut-shamer or a misogynist. Any sort of criticism of what women choose to do with their bodies means you are trying to control them as free, sexual beings.

The Kardashians are free to get however many surgeries they want, not only because they have the money, but because it is their choice. But when our biggest pop stars are setting the tone for what’s sexy and what’s not, little girls and even adults who look up to them aren’t free at all.

Whenever a famous person takes a racy photo (e.g. Kim Kardashian) or an artist does sexy music video (e.g. Nicki Minaj), they almost always defend it as an expression of sexuality. But under what guidelines? With all the salacious photos circulating the Internet, why is everybody’s sexuality displayed the exact same way?

Social media has created a cage. There’s no freedom in sexuality when women are told they have to have wide hips, a huge butt but somehow a thigh gap to have a nice body. Young girls also shouldn’t feel like that have to show their bodies to get gratification.

Women can take power in their sexuality and attracting attention, but there’s also a thousand other ways to be powerful and strong.

I feel like the Kardashians have definitely made that idea a thing. A model’s job is to sell products. They eventually become celebrities in their own right, but the selling of the product comes first. As television personalities, the Kardashians have to sell themselves by any means necessary. Kim, Khloe, and Kylie all use their bodies as a means to promote their different business ventures and maintain likeability. While their success is extremely impressive, that’s not a healthy way to manage a career.

I don’t hate or judge them for choosing to carry out their careers this way. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be famous. Especially having a line of glamorous sisters come before you, of course Kylie was going to cave to whatever procedures she could get at age 17.

It’s time to stop attacking people who are simply the products of society’s ridiculous standards, and look at society itself. You can’t glorify women solely for having big butts or big lips and then attack young girls for wanting the same look. If you really want women to love themselves, leave body parts alone, and start from the inside.

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