The beauty industry has changed a lot over time, especially with regard to how beauty is portrayed in entertainment media. We see it in reality television, movies, interviews, beauty stores, and more. And unfortunately, we’ve learned that some of its portrayals have become unrealistic. When thinking about unrealistic beauty standards in entertainment media, the Kardashian-Jenner family immediately pops into my head.
The Kardashian-Jenner sisters consist of Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, and Kylie Jenner. Keeping Up with the Kardashians is a reality show that first aired in October 2007 and ran until June 2021. Watching the reality series, we got to see the Kardashian sisters rise to A-list status and watch the Jenner sisters grow from middle schoolers to the adults they are now.
I grew up watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians with my sisters, and I found the early seasons fun to watch because Kylie and Kendall are only a few years older than me. Overall, the show was very entertaining and relatable when it came to the typical sister fights/bickering. I continued watching until I was in my middle and high school years, exposed to scenes where the Kardashian sisters emphasized that they got their bodies and healthy skin from workouts, routines, or diets. Some say that it was all a lie, and it wasn’t long until I knew that was true. But even though I was aware of that at 15, it doesn’t mean that a lot of their viewers were.
When the show was airing, there was also the growth of social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, and the Kardashian-Jenner sisters were and still are some of the most followed people on those platforms; with that, they had reached a lot of millennials and Gen Z. Although the sisters looked gorgeous in their posts, it led a lot of people, especially young women, to like and compare themselves to them, whether it be their contoured cheekbones, slim-curvy bodies, or big lips. And it wasn’t only their audience that compared themselves but the sisters as well, specifically Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner. Kylie is two and a half years older than me, and watching her grow up on the show made it clear that she herself was trying to keep up with the beauty standards she and her family have set.
The Kardashians continued their show on Hulu with the new title The Kardashians, which began in 2022 and is currently streaming its third season. To promote the new season, a multitude of trailers were released, including a clip of Kylie Jenner talking to her sisters and explaining how they need to think about the standards they are setting and how they affect their fans and audience. Kylie also said that she doesn’t want her daughter, Stormi, to do the things she has done.
I think publicly acknowledging it is a good step because it has been a topic since the early 2010s, but their audience and fanbase are more interested to see what they do now that they themselves have put it out there.