Ariyana Hossain, Year 12
The Kardashians are always circulating the news/internet for one reason or the other, whether it’s the latest baby announcement or celebrity feud, controversy is an all-too-familiar concept to the family. The most recent controversy to cause a stir was Forbes’ announcement that the youngest of the sisters, 20-year-old media and makeup mogul Kylie Jenner was on the verge of becoming the “youngest ‘self-made’ billionaire in history”?!
Now the accomplishment in itself is remarkable and a testament to both her own hard work and the mass appeal Kylie Cosmetics has globally. Despite veering off from the norms of traditional cosmetic brands by selling her products almost exclusively online, Kylie Cosmetics is crazy successful, usually selling out minutes into a release. Public uproar surrounding the announcement didn’t concern her ‘near-billionaire’ status though, but in the fact that she was called ‘self-made’. Is a person really considered self-made when their fame and privilege provides them with the financial means and platform to succeed? If so, what separates Kylie from other self-made billionaires and their means to success?
These were just some of the questions the internet went to war over during these past weeks.
Opinions are mainly divided, with fans and allies advocating for her ability to capitalize on the privilege she was born into by making her visions a reality; something they would argue that many others from similar backgrounds have not been able to do. Which is essentially saying that privilege doesn’t cancel out talent and hard work.
On the other hand, a likely majority of people have taken issue with lumping Kylie’s success with that of women like Pat McGrath and Oprah Winfrey whose success stories were built off of considerably less. Even dictionary.com took the time to throw shade at Kylie and Forbes.
The whole stirrup also raises the question as to whether people are more irked by the fact that a Kardashian ‘of all people’ is being flaunted as the definition of self-made, or simply because she was called self-made.
In the end, both sides of the argument have their own complex opinions and views, so it’s probably too straightforward to call criticisers “jealous” or assume all supporters are blind followers. Kylie’s success is no doubt a remarkable accomplishment, but it’s also important to acknowledge your origins and the privileges that have come from it. Whether you’re Oprah or Kylie Jenner, success stories aren’t one homogenous path to triumph, they are their own unique experience, and by that virtue they should not be treated as the same.