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#KylieJennerChallenge: The Downside of Social Media
By: Jennifer Graber
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We all have a guilty pleasure that we are a bit hesitant to own up to. Mine just so happens to be reality television. One of the shows I watch is Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Any time one of family members makes the news, which is often, it catches my eye. This time the youngest of the bunch has gone viral, and for a very bad reason.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. There is no doubt about that. This is especially true when it comes to teen girls and young women. They see what they perceive to be beautiful or fashionable, and they want to emulate it to the highest extent possible. Some will go to lengths not even dreamt of just to fit amongst a perception. This is exactly the case as it pertains to Kylie Jenner.

Jenner, a teen model, stands out. She comes from an infamous family, wears the latest fashions, and dons the best makeup brands. Also, Jenner is all over social media. She has made herself a home on Instagram, posting a variety of photos (some questionable for her minor age). Another stand-out feature of Jenner’s is her pout. She insists that her lips are all natural, and “are the result of makeup.” Whether or not this is true, it has caused a craze on social media.

Teenaged girls are trying to get the Jenner lip look by “suctioning their lips with shot glasses.” The girls are then posting the results online via social media. This wacky phenomenon has been dubbed the #KylieJennerChallenge. Naturally, this challenge has gone viral, and has fallen victim to the downside of social media. And no one can even really tell where the challenge or hashtag got started.

The results photos on social media are slightly horrifying. Girls are showing off plump lips, but at what cost? The end results come with bruising, swelling, and torn skin. And the results often show up after the initial plump lip look. The shot glass suction technique can result in bruising and blistering that leads to infections. The infections can be so bad that antibiotics are needed. Additionally, these girls are messing with their lips’ collagen and sensitivities. Oh, not to mention that if the suction is strong enough there is potential for the shot glasses to break. The plump look is only temporary, while the negative effects are longer lasting.

Jenner has come out on social media to say that she in no way endorses this challenge, and is only here to encourage “young girls” to be themselves. The power of social media is incredible. Whether or not someone is attempting to leverage social media to promote something, the possibility is still there. As a celebrity, your every move is being watched and scrutinized. So, without even trying, one can end up being a viral social media story.

So where does Jenner’s responsibility fall in all of this? Is she at all responsible? After all, she seemingly did not set out to plump up the lips of America via shot glasses. She was just documenting her crazy lifestyle and look. When you harness the power of celebrity, what are the rules for social media?

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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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