What is society’s obsession with women’s lips?

Love your own lips, not Kylie Jenners!


Why you should love your own lips and not Kylie Jenners

I wasn’t self conscious about my lips until Kylie Jenner. In fact Inwasnt even aware that being self conscious about your lips was a concept before Kylie Jenner. There are surely enough things about your body to feel lousy about already. Her big sister Kim has already made feel pretty inadequate about my shapeless bottom. However, recently Kylie has upped the game by revealing to the world a pair of lips so startling that they have spurred a Twitter challenge. She denies plastic surgery and puts her dramatic look down to careful make up coutouring explaining that she spends around forty minutes carefully perfecting her lips. Girls everywhere are suddenly trying to mimic the voluptuous Kylie pout with some pretty hilarious/painful looking results. By placing a glass over your lips, sucking inwards for a bit you can give yourself an instant lip job. Everybody from the Daily Mail to Jezebel have got their knickers in a twist about this new craze which is leaving teenagers bruised and a little embarrassed.

I was at first more confused than anything. My own lip regime is fairly minimal. To be honest, I am fairly terrible at applying lipstick and so rather than opt for the clown look, I tend to just go for a bit of Chapstick. This I assumed was perfectly acceptable. However, now I began to really look at my lips up close in the mirror for the first time. They were okay. Kind of narrow, pale and a bit bitten around the edges where I get nervous. I imagined that Kylie would disapprove. Her lips are indeed a work of art: luscious, glistening and admittedly impressive. They remind me of the sort of luxurious pillows that I would imagine you might find in posh hotel rooms.

I suppose if you think about it, your lips are the most intimate and outright sensual area of your body that you can politely reveal in public. Kisses begin with lips which in turn can be the beginning of many things. Sonnets have been written on the basis of the rosebud texture of a lady’s lips. Full, deeply coloured lips are historically linked to youth and fertility whilst being a symbol of womanliness and maturity. Cleopatra caked her lips with crushed dung beetles. In 50 Shades of Grey, Christian Grey is driven wild by the manner of which Anastasia bites her lower lip.

In ancient China, a woman’s lips were believed to extremely indicative of a woman’s temperament. To be honest, in terms of lips, I really don’t think that we have moved on very far. Women’s integrity is still brought into question on the basis of the plumpness of her pout. In the 1960s, a woman who did not wear lipstick were seen to be making a powerful statement or otherwise was seen to be a lesbian. Monica Lewinsky was found out to be having an affair with Bill Clinton, the media focused on her apparent “blow job lips”. This is bearing in mind that I have tried googling the words “cunninlingus mouth man” and all that has come up is some pretty nasty rash stories. Careers have been made or broken on the foundation of the bounciness of a kisser. In the 1990s, which was also incidentally the decade of the inflatable chair, surgical lip enhancement was at its peak. Any pair of page 3 boobs worth their salt had to be accompanied by a suitably swollen tooth border. When lip surgery went horrifically wrong, this sold even more papers.

Your mouth is so obvious without you even realising it, more noticeable even than your nose or your eyes. Your lips form every word that you say. Once I realised this fact, I could not stop thinking about it. People begin to look at me strangely and I realised that I was over enunciating every word, making myself look a little bit like a goldfish. Moreover, there is the unavoidably suggestive fact that your lips are the doors to a gaping orifice. Your tongue, a particularly naughty looking organ, lives there.

I began to panic. Did my pale so-so lips reveal more about me than just a pretty shoddy morning routine? By not wearing lipstick was i betraying my own immaturity? Could I truly ever hope to be a glamorous sultry lady a la Elizabeth Taylor with such a drab and I decorated mouth? I had always believed that a nice smile was enough to make you kissable but perhaps I have been fooling myself all my life. I knew that I had to get out there and find out some real opinions.

I spoke to Jessica, a very glamorous girl who works in fashion retail, about her own lip routine. For day to day use, she just uses a bit of Vaseline. However, on a night out she goes all out: pencilling on lip liner, pasting on a layer of lip voltage and finishing of with a nude brown lipstick, applied artfully with a brush. Jessica knows what suits her features and colouring, and doesn’t necessarily go for whatever is the latest craze. She doesn’t like to look like she is wearing lots of makeup and believes that darker more intense colours of lipstick give this effect. She likes to emphasise her eyes through copper coloured eyeshadow and lashings of mascara and believes that this coupled with heavily defined lips would be too much.

Jessica believes that lips are something that young women think about more than ever. Lip fillers have come back in in a big way and are easily accessible from your local beauty salon. More people are getting lip fillers and the girls who don’t want this are trying to keep up by investing to expensive and time consuming lip routines. Jessica believes that the Kylie Jenner lip challenge however is just a passing craze. She thinks that it is a case that everyone feels that they should be doing it because they see it all over Twitter and the media, but they aren’t really thinking critically about whether this is a good look for them.

Kylie herself has taken to Twitter to express her own “mortified” reaction to the Kylie Jenner challenge. She insisted that getting young girls to copy her look was never her intention. This week she tweeted: “I want to encourage people/young girls like me to be YOURSELF and not be afraid to experiment with your look”. The emphasis on the word ‘yourself’ is pretty important in this sentence. Following a new craze can be fun but it is always much more important to be true to your own unique style. Lips come in all shapes, sizes and colours but that variety should be celebrated. Whether you are rocking a scarlet painted pout or just smearing on a bit of Nivea, this should be entirely your choice and not one that should be made just because everyone else is doing it. As your mother might say: it would be a boring old world if we were all the same!


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