Just recently, Blac Chyna (who has since reclaimed her birth name Angela White) revealed that she was getting her facial fillers dissolved. She also underwent a procedure to remove the silicone injections in her butt and got her breasts reduced.
She documented both experiences on her Instagram saying, “I just want all the ladies out there to know: Do not get silicone shots. You can get sick, you can die, have complications, and all this other crazy stuff.” Blac Chyna’s confession sparked a debate across the internet about the fleeting popularity of cosmetic trends, and more people started admitting their regrets about getting BBLs and lip fillers.
And Blac Chyna seemingly isn’t the only one with regrets. Last week, the trailer dropped for the latest season of The Kardashians, and a moment showed Kylie Jenner in a discussion with her sisters. “All of us just need to have a bigger conversation about the beauty standards that we are setting,” she tells them. The scene then changes to her talking to longtime friend Anastasia Karanikolaou, admitting that she doesn’t want her daughter Stormi to do the things that she did and that she regrets changing her face. “I wish I had never touched anything to begin with,” she concludes.
Given the track record of reality show trailers, we can’t really conclude whether this was a genuine discussion or genius editing. Either way, the internet is talking– which might actually lead to some fruitful revelations.
This isn’t the first time that a celebrity has reversed a cosmetic procedure or expressed their wish to do so. But most of these confessions have rarely caused a buzz as much as last night– because the Kardashians’ influence on our beauty standards is inevitable.
As much as we criticize the family, we all know that the Kardashian-Jenners have influenced the way we look for more than a decade now. Their style is a genre in itself, although most aspects that we know as trademark ‘Kardashian’ today are just cherry-picked from aesthetics of marginalised communities like Black women and drag queens.
Kim has no doubt spearheaded the BBL and curvy-body movement in the early 2010s, while also popularising the ultra-glam contour make-up look, which the beauty industry has tried emulating all this time. Kylie broke the internet back in 2015 when she announced getting lip fillers, and internet searches for the term increased by 3,233 per cent; there was a 70 per cent rise in enquiries for lip filler within 24 hours and a nine per cent increase in lip enhancements among 13- to 19-year-olds alone. The majority of her audience being teenagers, they couldn’t afford the same procedures as Kylie – and soon dangerous DIY ‘lip plumping’ challenges started cropping up on the internet.
To be fair, we can’t entirely blame the Kardashians for these cultural shifts. One could also argue that they simply know how to market themselves to the right audience, and anyone else in their position wouldn’t miss out on an opportunity to do the same. Last year, the internet dragged Kim through the mud after she reportedly removed her BBL and took Ozempic to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s dress. At the same time, sales of Ozempic, originally a crucial diabetes drug spiked among the masses, for all the wrong reasons. Khloe, who is ironically the “queen of Instagram Photoshop” today, has herself shared her experiences with dysmorphia and body shaming in the past. And it’s not that difficult to see– a decade ago, well before her ‘revenge body’ era, the internet brutally compared her to the rest of her sisters.
Regardless, being some of the most followed women on Instagram worldwide, the way they portray themselves influences millions– who in turn are going to irreversible lengths to achieve these unattainable standards they can’t afford. Botox, fillers and plastic surgery are becoming increasingly necessary to live up to contemporary beauty standards, creating a beauty tax that is pricing many people out. And in some cases, it’s proving fatal.
A few days ago, popular OnlyFans model Christina Ashten Gourkani, whom the internet had dubbed as a ‘Kim Kardashian look-alike’ died of cardiac arrest following a plastic surgery procedure, New York Post reported. Most people who can’t afford Beverly Hills plastic surgeons opt for shady clinics abroad out of desperation. And although the Kardashians have complete bodily autonomy, I do believe they have an opportunity here to start some meaningful conversations around beauty standards, body image and the role that celebrities and influencers play in our self-esteem.
Whether they make use of it or not, we’ll only find out once the new season comes out.