The Kardashian-Jenner family are definitely no strangers to controversy, and when it comes to their social media usage, they’re courting it (kourting it?) left, right, and center. From claims of cultural appropriation to plastic surgery suspicions to photoshopping blunders to just plain tasteless photos, all the sisters have been in hot water and shamed on the internet at one time or another.
This time, we’re looking at the littlest sister, Kylie Jenner! A major influencer on Snapchat and Instagram, Kylie has been ripped apart by fans and non-fans alike for her posts, which many consider to be too racy, too insensitive, or too crass. While she’s also been in controversial situations outside of her photos (seriously, this girl can barely catch a break!), this time we’re just focusing on the content she gives us from her very own accounts. We try and give her the benefit of the doubt as a teenager who’s grown up under public scrutiny, but sometimes you just can’t forgive some of these missteps. Take a look at 15 of her most controversial pics and judge for yourself!
Back in 2015, Kylie got kaught up in some kontroversy regarding a modelling shot she posted to her Instagram. In it, the pouty-lipped social media star and entrepreneur appeared to don blackface, a major no-no that catapulted the teen into the public sphere amid cries of racism.
Initially, Kylie had captioned the photo with, “What I wish I looked like all the time”, which caused an uproar because of her history of appropriating black culture and trying to ingratiate herself within black and hip-hop communities (more on that later). She later amended the post to clarify that the photo was a result black and neon lights. Even Zendaya, who is outspoken about cultural appropriation, at first saw no problem with the image, before she admitted on Twitter, “At first, I saw more of an avatar look but thank y’all for keepin [sic] me on point….we all gotta stay aware of what image we project #lessons”. Kylie ignored the controversy, told everyone to calm down, and never apologized.
Speaking of cultural appropriation, Kylie was at it again, with her hair in dreads for this Instagram shot that she captioned, “I woke up like diss [sic]”. (Which, obviously, she did not.) Unfortunately for Kylie, her timing couldn’t have been worse, as the disgusting hashtag #WhiteGirlsDoItBetter had begun trending, and once a fan commented the hashtag on the photo, all hell broke loose.
Actress and crusader Amandla Stenberg of Hunger Games fame commented, “when u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards your wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter” [sic]. Kylie wasn’t having any of Amandla, though, and responded like the 17-year-old she was, telling her to hang out with Jaden Smith. Then – as if this all weren’t enough – Justin Bieber leapt to Kylie’s defence, saying she was trying to figure herself out and that wearing braids wasn’t racist. Ah, kids these days.
13 Copycat Coachella
Kylie Jenner – for better or for worse – has become a bit of a style icon among the millennial and younger set. From her pouty lips to her multicolored braids, girls everywhere are trying to emulate the Kylie ~lewk~.
But what if Kylie wasn’t all that original, either?
Back in April during the hipster-friendly festival known as Coachella, Kylie rocked pastel-colored hair and an evil-eye bikini. The only problem was that stylish Instagrammer Brit Day wore the exact same thing weeks earlier. While New Zealander Brit wasn’t too phased, calling Kylie a “babe” and asking her followers who wore it better, fans of both ladies started a feud all their own, calling Kylie a copycat and Brit selfish for daring to think that the bikini was for her alone. While this copycat Coachella look is a recent example of Kylie’s duplicating behaviour, one only has to look at big sister Kim to see that Kylie’s copying days have been around for a while.
12 Disabled Doll
Near the top of the list of the most controversial Kylie Jenner photos is definitely this shot from Interview magazine, where Kylie – dressed in S&M gear and with a freakishly plastic face – sat in a wheelchair.
Almost instantly, cries of “ableism!” abounded, as disabled individuals, especially models, have faced intense difficulty achieving their dreams, whereas an able-bodied woman like Kylie Jenner can merely mimic a disability and have it called art to sell magazines. The fact that Kylie was fashioned to appear like a sex doll angered people more, as they saw it as a reinforcement of stereotypes regarding those with disabilities, while others claimed that their wheelchairs were not haute couture or a prop. Interview, rather than acknowledge the controversy they had created, stood by their decision to feature Kylie in a wheelchair for their Art issue, but the conversation the article awoke was definitely more powerful than any photograph
11 Interview Take 2
Another image taken from Kylie’s photo shoot with Interview magazine, this one was the tamer of the two I chose from, where the other features a full back view of her bare butt. Instead, Kylie’s latex-clad form is bent over with her hands in shoes (what?).
This image is another example of the sex doll shoot Interview was going for, and controversial because, while Kylie is certainly provocative on social media, this skintight, passive look was one audiences hadn’t really seen before. Even momager Kris Jenner was a little startled about the photos, noting, “I think she could have covered her bum a little bit more”, proving that even publicity-hungry moms like Kris still have a moment of reflection when it comes to seeing their kids go bare-a$$ed in public. Knowing Kylie, though, this certainly won’t be the last we’ve seen of her in barely-there outfits for the sake of “art”.
10 Luscious Lips
The image that started it all! This shot was taken way, way back, when the naturally thin-lipped Kylie showed off her plumped-up pout on Instagram, leading fans and non-fans alike to question whether or not she’d had plastic surgery or fillers.
As we all know, Kylie denied having any work done, and insisted her fuller lips were the result of artistic makeup techniques including the careful overlining of her lips and filling in with lipstick. Of course, we know now that Kylie did in fact get fillers injected into her lips because of her insecurity with her thin lips. The reason this photo appears in the list of most controversial Kylie Jenner pics is because of all the conversation and “did she or didn’t she?” questions that happened in its wake. Plus, you know, the painful Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge trend that followed. The internet is a very weird place.
The Kardashian-Jenner clan is not one known for their keen driving abilities (just look at the track record of Caitlyn and Kris!), and Kylie is no different. This photo is the first of two where Kylie snapped a shot while she was behind the wheel, causing many to question her maturity level and responsibility when Snapchatting (or Instagramming) while driving. It's almost definitely more dangerous than texting because of the attention it requires. (For the record, Kylie was busted for texting and driving just weeks after Caitlyn’s four-car pile-up a couple of years back!)
This photo is probably another example of Kylie flaunting her wealth (the Ranger Rover! The bracelet! The nails!), and to be fair, she could be caught at a stop light or during a particularly bad bout of traffic. But when it comes to safety – for herself and everyone else on the road – maybe the fam should just hire a chauffeur already!
8 Bad Birthday Cake
Yikes, this one is just in bad taste (pun intended). In a Snapchat video uploaded in 2015, Kylie shared the reveal of a birthday cake for her best friend, Jordyn Woods. Although not totally visible in the story, upon closer inspection the cake reads, “Happy Birthday N****”.
Since Kylie is shown standing next to Jordyn in the video, viewers naturally assumed that she had a hand in making the cake, including what was written on it. And to be fair, it’s not such a stretch that Kylie would be unaware enough to see this as an okay idea, rather than the racist and insensitive message that it is. Kylie backtracked on the whole thing, insisting that the cake was not a present from her, sharing with her followers the actual cake she had made for her BFF. Since she also gifted her bestie with a Mercedes, maybe we can assume Kylie was also trying to apologize for her bad idea?
7 Photoshop Fail
It’s no surprise that the Kardashian-Jenner girls are fans of Photoshop and other photo editing apps. They use it liberally throughout their social media accounts and photo shoots and have been called on it more than a few times. It seems that even Kylie was not immune to the lure of photo editing, as is evidenced by this ‘shopped pic that popped up on her Instagram.
While Kylie has an incredibly fit and fabulous figure, she still felt it was necessary to trim a little off the thighs, which resulted in a blurry, pixelated edge between her legs and around her hips. People quickly noticed the editing and jumped on Kylie, saying the obvious editing was embarrassing. Others came to her defence, claiming that she had used a filter that had fuzzed the lines of her legs. Kylie took to Twitter to address the controversy, saying, “I’ve never photoshopped an Instagram photo. it was fuzzy from the app I used. So end of story thank u [sic].”
6 Smoke Show
In January 2016, Kylie took to Snapchat to show off her new vape pen, but she had fans wondering if she was smoking something else in her video. There’s no real way to tell what it is she was smoking, but the rumors that she was indulging in a little Mary Jane came from her ability to blow an (admittedly impressive) series of smoke rings as she drove around with her friend.
This isn’t the first time Kylie has been accused of drug use. Back in 2015, watchers of her Snapchat declared they heard her say she was “high as f***” on camera, but Kylie retorted that she was saying “good as f***”, in reference to the Popeye’s chicken she was eating at the time. Hey, she’s legally an adult now, and as long as she wasn’t the one driving, this perceived controversy looks like people are grasping for straws.
5 Curve Appeal
The Kardashian-Jenner sisters are all famous for their gravity-defying curves, but in this Snapchat from Kylie, fans were left wondering if the ladies were getting more than a little help in the bum department. Although Kylie claimed her figure was the result of an awesome pair of Spanx, many fans believed that the telltale cutouts were actually butt pads that enhanced her derrière.
Kylie cleared things up on her Twitter account, declaring that it was just the Spanx, and if you check out the exact item she was shilling (at Target of all places!), the description does in fact read that the shapewear has special pockets to deliver a perky backside. With all the speculation surrounding the plastic surgery of the famous sisters, it’s no surprise that Kylie’s Snap got a fair bit of controversy before she was able to clarify that, even with the help of shapewear, her figure was all her own.
4 420, Mon
It’s not just Instagram or Twitter that gets tongues wagging when it comes to the Kardashian-Jenner brood. Snapchat – used prevalently by the sisters, especially Kim and Kylie – has lately become a huge source of controversy, including this still from a story posted by Kylie last April.
When Snapchat unveiled its creepy Bob Marley face filter that darkened skin and added a cap and dreads in honour of 420, social media knew it was only a matter of time before the world cried racism and insensitivity. (Which they were totally right to do, because virtual blackface is just a huge no-no.) In her Snapchat, Kylie says, “420. Yaaas, b****. Yaaas.”
Of course, as we well know, this wasn’t the teen’s only brush with cultural appropriation, and while she definitely got skewered on social media for her Snapchat faux pas, it’s really the app’s fault for rolling out the filter in the first place. Hey, Snapchat, blackface is never cool, even in filter form.
While Kylie is no stranger to provocative photos on her Instagram, when she was sharing steamy shots earlier than her audience felt comfortable with. In a skimpy black bikini, Kylie shared images of her underage self (she was 16 at the time) baring her cleavage and toned torso for her Instagram followers.
This isn’t the first time Kylie’s been criticized for not acting her age on social media: previous images have had people writing things like, “I don’t know many girls who want to look like they’re in their 40s!” and “Way to keep it classy, Kylie!” With her puffed-up pout, scandalous photos, and layers of contouring and makeup, many have mistaken the teenage Kylie for someone much older who’s visited more than a few plastic surgeons. Others considered this photo as Kylie trying too hard to emulate big sis Kim, and you can’t deny that she looks pretty much identical to her much-older Kardashian sister!
2 Don’t Rag
Are you keeping track of the instances of cultural appropriation Kylie gets reamed for? Because it’s a lot!
This is one of the more recent instances, as this photo was taken last September during New York Fashion Week. Kylie – in true Kylie fashion – documented her fashionable journey on Snapchat and Instagram, but her look (complete with a do-rag) was one case of cultural appropriation too many. The use of a do-rag (or du-rag) is to preserve a hair style, and is commonly worn by black men and women to shape or mould their hair. The cultural appropriation stickiness comes around because, when Kylie wears one, it is lauded as edgy and trendsetting. The fact that she donned it for NYFW – a place where high society and high snobbery meet – just serves as an example that black culture is being utilized for the sake of fashion, without any regard for the history or culture.
1 Bigger is Better?
After the lip enhancement rumours (and confirmations) Kylie has been plagued by plastic surgery suspicions wherever she goes. In a recent series of Snaps that came after an absence from social media due to food poisoning, Kylie showed off a larger chest that she flaunted in an off-the-shoulder shirt and a plunging grey top.
With her absence and then the larger chest, fans began to speculate if Kylie had gone under the knife to bump up what was already natural. Kylie immediately took to Twitter, where all celebrities go to defend themselves, saying she has never had her boobs done, and that her new swelled look was the result of weight gain and it being her time of the month. While the Kardashian-Jenner sisters are known for their ample posteriors, having their boobs done to match has always been a question in the mind of the public, and it’s not really a surprise to see why.