Sarah Caden: Kylie Jenner's surgeon's praise of her 'wise' change of face is an ugly message
Published 24/04/2016 | 02:30
According to Dr Simon Ourian, 18-year-old Kylie Jenner is "going through an amazing metamorphosis". Is it really old-fashioned to think that this metamorphosis should be from teenager to woman, just something as simple as that? Is it really boring to believe that would be enough to be going on with?
Because in the real world, Kylie Jenner's metamorphosis, with Dr Ourian's help, is about altering her appearance beyond recognition.
With the help of Dr Ourian, who is also plastic surgeon to Kylie's half-siblings, the Kardashians, this young girl is rejecting her face and getting herself a new one.
She has admitted in the past to having lip fillers, but Ourian's comments back up the evidence that she's not the girl she was.
In fact, these days Kylie Jenner looks like a Kardashian. Which may well be what she wants. Hell, she wouldn't be alone. To look like a Kardashian is the ideal to which most selfie-slave young women aspire, it would seem.
This family didn't quite invent the selfie, but they certainly shaped it into what it is now, which is a cruel mistress for a generation of young women.
Theirs is the chin-down, duck-pout facial expression that passes for seductive. And theirs is the pelvis-tipped-back, bum-sticking-out pose that we now see not only in young women's selfies, but in family photos too, as the need to look hot has no boundaries.
The aping of the Kardashians is across the Instagrams and Snapchats of young women all over the world, but the opportunity for "metamorphosis" is not within the grasp of most of them.
Despite the fact that an increase in Irish teenagers seeking plastic surgery was reported only last week, the full facial transformation of Kylie Jenner is probably a step too far and an invoice too large for most.
Lip fillers, however, are the most popular procedure with the youngest cosmetic surgery clientele here and Jenner is credited with inspiring that interest. Botox, too, is now being sought by women under 25 and though Jenner has not admitted to any face-freezing work, there is a disturbing immobility, an oddly waxy aspect to her expression that makes her look counterproductively older than her 18 years.
In the way that surgery on an older woman can make her look different, rather than younger, it's possible that surgery on a young woman makes her appear perfectly jaded.
In his efforts to compliment Kylie Jenner for his very own work, Dr Simon Ourian said: "Kylie has become very wise in what she wants to have done and she has been going through an amazing metamorphosis over the past couple of years."
So that dates the start of what would probably be called her journey from when Kylie Jenner was 17. She has owned up to lip fillers from 17, but the idea that she had a face-over plan from that age is just sad.
Isn't it? For one thing, there may not be such thing as wisdom at the age of 18. Intelligence, street-smarts and sharpness, yes. But not wisdom. Life-altering decisions at that age don't tend to be the best because there is no life experience informing them and no real grasp of action and consequence due to the fact that one believes that life ends after 30 anyway. An ill-judged tattoo is generally the regretted mis-step of the 18-year-old old, but the fundamental rejection of your face is very different.
Of course, given the degree of ill-ease that comes with adolescence and the usual metamorphosis into adulthood, one often wishes for a new face or body or self at this age, but that doesn't mean you go out and get it. Or that you should be encouraged to.
Our exhortations to the young to just be happy with who they are may be optimistic, but to encourage actual dissatisfaction with oneself is hideous.
To describe Kylie Jenner's cosmetic surgery efforts as wise is to say that her original face was all wrong. And also to say that there is such thing as a face that is right. But then, if Kylie Jenner sees around her only people who have also rejected their original faces, bodies and general appearances, then why would she do anything else? Her mother, Kris Jenner, does not age, she just grows more shiny and taut. Kim and Khloe Kardashian bear no resemblance to the young women they were a decade ago. Not slightly different, utterly different. New-passport-required different.
Kourtney is the only one who seems to have her original face, bar Kylie's full sister, Kendall, who is one of the most in-demand models in the world. She is remarkably blank-faced and lacking in charisma, but that has made no difference and her success, as it would be to any younger teenage sister, must irk Kylie.
To the point of jettisoning her face, perhaps.
Last autumn, on the US TV show Saturday Night Live, comedian and actress Amy Schumer joked: "We have to be a role model for these little girls, because who do they have? All they have really is the Kardashians. Is that a great message for little girls? A whole family of women who take faces they were born with as a light suggestion?" When the Kardashians lashed out at her as a hater, she apologised, saying: "Nothing but love for that family. I like idea of sending women the message to be happy in their own skin."
Schumer may have been tongue in cheek, but there is a belief that comfort in your own skin is attained through changing that skin until it suits.
Whether happy is achieved is another thing, however.