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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder — but who’s holding the mirror? The Kardashian-Jenner sisters, often in the spotlight for altering their appearance, are now expressing concern over the beauty standards that have come to affect them.

Last week on Hulu’s “The Kardashians,” Kylie Jenner broke down crying while discussing the public’s criticism of how she looked after Paris Fashion Week last year, saying it’s a “miracle” that she still finds beauty and confidence in herself.

The influencer said that she wore less makeup following feedback from critics but was then disparaged for apparently wearing too little.

“That’s a general thing with our family,” sister Kendall Jenner responded. “We’re dehumanized. They don’t think that there’s any rules with us. … They don’t think we have any feelings.”

TikToker Marie Soledad shared her thoughts about the exchange online, saying that “the only time the Kardashian-Jenners ever talk about how societal beauty standards are fucked up … is when they stop meeting their own beauty standards.”

“I also hate the weaponization of social justice language and therapy talk to try to make themselves feel better about the predicament they put themselves in,” Soledad said.

“Your entire empire is based on the dehumanization of women through societal beauty standards. … I don’t think any of you have been your natural skin tone publicly for decades.”

Others on social media also questioned the moment, too.

Kylie Jenner has been selling teenage girls a distorted view of reality with her diet teas and face/lip injections for 10 years, but now she’s crying over it??? This girl made millions off destroying women’s self esteem and now we’re suppose to feel sorry for her??? Nope!!!!

— Stephanie Sidley (@StephanieSidley) June 20, 2024

While it is sad to see someone dealing with public scrutiny, it’s important to recognize that Kylie Jenner and her family have helped create the situation they’re in. For years, Black people have called out how the sisters’ aesthetic draws heavily from Black women, who were historically mocked for features like full lips and curvy figures. When members of the Kardashian-Jenner family started getting lip fillers, augmenting their curves and adopting darker skin tones through spray tans, they made these features more fashionable and widely accepted. (Two pieces from Allure and Time go deep on these ideas.)

Now, Kylie Jenner is experiencing a fraction of the criticism that Black women have faced for generations, shedding light on the persistent double standards in our society. The Kardashians helped establish new beauty norms, and they now find themselves targeted by these same standards. Look at how the tables have turned.

Bullying is never acceptable, but this is a reminder of how beauty standards can be both a burden and a privilege, depending on who sets them and who follows them.

Also, this goes to prove that Black women continue to set trends and determine what’s cool. They are the beauty standard.

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