KYLIE JENNER IS the most followed 20-year-old in the world, be that begrudgingly or otherwise. When the makeup mogul seemingly dropped off the face of the planet, retreating from her own much-loved social media accounts, it was duly noted.
For months, speculation surrounded the reality star’s whereabouts. Jenner went from snapping her meals, her lipkits and her dogs to radio silence. When news broke in September that the star was expecting, the world was aghast.
On 4 February, Jenner announced that she had given birth to a baby girl – Stormi – two days prior, with an endearing video documenting the last nine months.
Jenner’s decision to withdraw from the public eye was marked by a desire for privacy, to avoid the inevitable circus that would have followed a public announcement.
Upon the reveal, friends were quick to post their own congratulatory posts on their respective Instagram accounts and beyond. Friend and fellow expectant mother Heather Sanders shared a snap of the two at Jenner’s baby shower.
She ended the caption of her post with:
Can’t wait for Your Snap Back We Not Even Ready, The Most [flame emoji] Mama Ever!!”
Pregnancy, at any age, is physically demanding. A person’s body changes entirely. The physical changes can also be incredibly taxing on a woman’s psyche. Some adjust, others struggle.
The concept of ‘snapping back’ to your post-baby body is not a new one – it’s an idea that’s regularly pushed within female-targeted media. In fact, the term ‘post-baby body’ has to be one that was coined by women’s magazines. In the eyes of society, your physical identity is split post-partum – the body after your baby is completely different to the one before.
Everyone is susceptible when it comes to body image issues and low self-esteem. Jenner herself admitted that her motivation behind getting lip fillers came after she was teased about having small lips by a boy.
I had really small lips, and it was, like, one of my first kisses, and a guy was like, ‘I didn’t think you’d be a good kisser because you have such small lips’.
I didn’t feel desirable or pretty.”
Since coming-of-age, Jenner has wanted to forge her own identity beyond her sisters and beyond her surname. Even her pregnancy announcement video was a break from tradition for her clan – Kim, Kourtney and now Khloe have all closely documented their pregnancies, for the most part.
In the video, Jenner is seen ordering cheese fries, craving In-N-Out burger and eating mac ‘n’ cheese – all relatively normal behaviour for your average pregnant person.
Except, Jenner isn’t your average pregnant person or mother. She remains one part of a TV dynasty where physical aesthetics and appearances are paramount, where there looks have a monetary value. Kim constantly posts workout updates and references her baby-weight; Khloe is said to be “refusing to gain baby weight” after discovering a new love for exercise pre-pregnancy. While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, it puts enormous pressure on someone who is already in an unenviable position. At 20 years-old, your body has just about developed. Going from that to pregnant, is another massive change and can often cause body dysmorphia.
Fans – especially those within a younger, much more impressionable age bracket – will now look to her how she follows suit. Whatever she decides to do in terms of exercise, weight-loss or diet is ultimately her decision. But a ‘snap back’ sets an unrealistic example for women and young girls alike. Followers will look at her and think: “I can do that”. Without the money, childcare and time that Jenner is afforded? It’s doubtful.
Perhaps she should consider the road she’s taken so far – quietly, away from scrutiny and comfortably as a young mother.