The #KylieJennerLipChallenge Is Literally Disfiguring Teenagers


On Sunday night, the troubling teenage fad #KylieJennerLipChallenge swept across social media. It involved the strange practice of sucking on a shot glass really, really hard to temporarily augment one's lips and emulate Kylie Jenner's pouty look.

Not only is this is a bad idea (because it's stupid) but it can seriously damage the face — even permanently.

Some of the results are pretty rough. 

Not only is the trend bizarre and arguably inane, it may also be highly dangerous with potentially long-lasting repercussions.

"The new trend in trying to DIY lip plumping is quite concerning. Not only can significant pain, swelling and bruising result from these suction techniques, but there is potential risk for scarring and permanent disfigurement with repeated attempts," dermatologic surgeon Dendy Engelman told Seventeen.

Fetishizing needs to stop. The desire to go to extreme measures to imitate idols and celebrities is not new. People across the country have undergone numerous plastic surgeries to emulate their idols, perhaps one of the most famous being Toby Sheldon, who spent $100,000 and five years having repeated surgeries to look like Justin Bieber. 

Cultural obsession with celebrity, glamor and unrealistic standards of beauty easily feed into dissatisfaction with one's own image or existence; and in cases like Sheldon's, also promote dangerous body dysmorphic disorder.

"BDD is a body-image disorder characterized by persistent and intrusive preoccupations with an imagined or slight defect in one's appearance," states Anxiety and Depression Association of America. People with BDD "may even undergo unnecessary plastic surgeries to correct perceived imperfections, never finding satisfaction with the results."

Is this a sign the next generation is doomed? No, the #KylieJennerLipChallenge doesn't signal the end of America. But bizarre viral trends such as this don't exactly say anything good about pop culture.

While there has been some bold pushback on unrealistic beauty standards such as fashion company Lane Bryant's plus-size #ImNoAngel counter-campaign to Victoria's Secret's (very thin) Angels or the #MoreThanPretty campaign to promote well-rounded role models for girls, the movements getting the most attention tend to be as silly and vacuous as the Jenner lip challenge. 

It might be a good idea to focus on the campaigns that don't send people to the ER or make them feel bad about themselves. Crazy, though it may sound.

Correction: April 21, 2015