Literally just days ago, Kylie Jenner was accused of making herself look Middle Eastern.
That’s a complicated topic, given Kylie’s Armenian heritage.
But Kylie’s latest glimpse of herself goes much further, and fans are outraged.
Kylie is getting called out for blackfishing. Fans say that enough is enough.
Kylie Jenner is a mother. She is 23 years old. Her net worth is just a little under $1 billion.
And she, like her sisters, is a white woman.
So, as we reported earlier this week, Kylie’s makeup “transformations” often raise eyebrows.
This was the look that had some commenters accusing her of trying to adopt a Middle Eastern look.
(Some simply wrote “Arab,” which is … more specific but likely not what they meant)
Defenders did quickly point out that Kylie’s Armenian heritage makes this a more complicated conversation.
Then came … this, where Kylie was once again playing around with makeup.
Some critics accused Kylie of using makeup styles that work on Black women … but not so much on a white woman.
That would explain why the result registers as “clown” on Kylie … but this kind of colorful makeup isn’t the issue.
Recently, Scott Disick’s current entanglement Amelia Gray Hamlin was accused of blackfishing.
The term, invented in 2018 to describe a very recent phenomenon, was unfamiliar to many.
But as fans of Amelia familiarized themselves with its meaning, a certain name came to mind.
Blackfishing isn’t just about skin tone. Some people use spray tan. Others use natural tans.
Rather, the concept is about people — usually young women who are Instagram influencers — adopting Black features.
Makeup, wigs, lip fillers, even cosmetic surgery can play a role in making someone appear biracial or “ambiguous” when they are not.
Until very recently in our history, white supremacist beauty standards made this unthinkable.
To deliberately try to look Black or biracial as a white woman was beyond weird.
Recently, our culture has broadened its beauty standards … and some white influencers want to cash in.
This is not the same thing as blackface.
It’s also not the same thing as whatever nonsense Rachel Dolezal has going on in her head.
Rather than mocking Black people or claiming to be Black, a blackfishing influencer simply allows fans to assume what they are.
Amelia’s scandal speaks for itself (and for the record, she did thank her followers for educating her on the topic).
But what does this have to do with Kylie?
Well, as you may have noticed over the years or from the photos in this post, Kylie’s look goes back and forth between extremes.
Some might ask how Kylie could be accused of blackfishing if she also shows fans her bare face and freckles at times.
The answer, unfortunately, is that this is related to the problem.
The fact that a white woman can add and remove features like skin tone, hairstyles, and lip size like accessories is a problem because Black women can’t.
Just like white women get praised for hairstyles that get Black and brown people fired, they get praise for features that still get Black people mocked.
Obviously, Kylie has a natural olive complexion and can grow darker when she tans. That part is just fine.
But the rest? It’s a whole bunch of separate choices that add up to adopting a “Black look” and profiting from it as a white woman.
The thing about blackfishing is that it works.
Talk about any of the Kardashians being problematic on online spaces and you’ll see it.
The number of times that people on social media have described the Kardashians as “women of color” and been stunned to learn that they’re not … it’s a lot.
Blackfishing doesn’t necessarily come from a place of malice.
It can be born of insecurities, business savvy, or have environmental factors.
But it’s especially disappointing when any of the Kardashians do it, especially Kylie.
Parents of biracial children are not automatically immune to racism or racist behavior. Far from it.
Rather, they have more of an obligation than anyone to fight for a better world for people of color.
That includes not cashing in the Black community to build their own business and social media empires.