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Comparative Project on Kylie and Kendall Jenner

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The accelerated growth of social media in recent times has allowed for an influx in the spread of information. As large aspects of celebrities’ lifestyle are publicized throughout social media, it has become easier than ever for rumours, news and controversy to reach fans and the general public. Celebrities are unable to conceal their private lives and the Kardashian Jenner family is no exception to this as millions of fans around the world are constantly curious to discover the latest events in the lives of the family. The Kardashian Jenner family are continually under the spotlight as they star in the popular reality television series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” which details events in their personal and professional lives. It becomes apparent that the family as well as each individual must be be aware of their representation and presentation of self and personal brand.

Two sisters, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, have always been considered a pair from a young age as they are the two stepsisters of the Kardashians and supporting characters on the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” television series (Nordyke, 2007). Kendall and Kylie have together created a fashion line, collaborations with many fashion brands, a webisode series and won many awards as a pair. More recently, the pair have adopted different representations of themselves and have gained plenty of public attention.

I have drawn from two case studies in order to compare the differences in Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s representation and presentation of self in recent times. Kendall Jenner faced backlash and controversy following her participation in an offensive Pepsi commercial in April 2017. A year later, in April 2018, Kylie Jenner announced her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter over social media. These cases were widely spread throughout social media, gaining a large amount of attention through virality.

In April of 2017, a Pepsi commercial titled “Live for Now” was aired on national television. This commercial starred Kendall Jenner who plays the role of a model posing for a photoshoot which is taking place at the same time as a protest. Kendall Jenner joins the protest, approaches a line of police officers guarding the protest and hands a Pepsi can to one officer. Meanwhile, a young photographer captures this in a photo. This commercial was viewed by millions as this had aired during the Super Bowl and immediately received backlash due to its resemblance to the “Black Lives Matter” movement. “Live for Now” shared many similarities with the iconic photo and viral phenomenon “Taking a Stand in Baton Rouge”. “Taking a Stand in Baton Rouge” is a photograph by Jonathan Bachman depicting a young African American woman walking up to a line of police officers in riot gear as she was arrested. This protest followed the of two African American men who were fatally shot by police officers (Bachman, 2017).

(Bachman, 2017)

Angry viewers and the general public turned to social media in order to voice their opinions on the matter. One Twitter user, Ziwe said “and to think, all Rodney King needed to avoid that beating was a Pepsi” (Ziwe, 2017). Referring to Rodney King’s experience with police brutality. Another Twitter user, David Dennis Jr said “100% chance my Pepsi gets mistaken for a gun and I'm dead in that situation” (Dennis, 2017). This refers to the death of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile who were both fatally shot after police officers reportedly saw both parties reach for a gun. These two deaths were the cause of the Baton Rouge protest (Bachman, 2017). Well-known civil rights leader Martin Luther King’s daughter, Bernice King, tweeted, “If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi”.

Through a performance analysis, it can be observed that Kendall Jenner did not respond to the controversy for over six months despite months of backlash on social media following the showings of the advertisement. During the Keeping Up with the Kardashians season premiere, Kendall Jenner made an apology. She emphasized that if she had known the outcome, she would not have participated in the production of the commercial. Kendall also stated that she felt “really, really bad” for those who she may have offended or who had misinterpreted her intentions. Her sister, Khloe said that Kendall had been taking all the blame although she tries to be socially cautious (Yahr, 2017).

In a semiotic analysis, it can be observed that Kendall Jenner is more secretive of her private life and is reluctant to live in the public eye. In an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kendall Jenner explained, “It’s not always easy, but I don’t know I just like to keep my private life private.” In addition, Kendall Jenner had not dramatically altered her appearance through use of enhancements as these would negatively impact her career as she is currently the highest earning model. (Robehmed, 2017), (Swift, 2016). During the Pepsi scandal, Kendall kept quiet on social media and did not respond or mention the Pepsi scandal as an attempt keep this private. In this case study, Kendall Jenner presents herself to be naïve and refrained.

Kylie Jenner and her baby daughter, Stormi quickly became the centre of attention on social media as Kylie Jenner announced that she had given birth on the 4th of February, 2018. This followed months of pregnancy rumours which were circulated on social media. On YouTube, Kylie Jenner posted a video titled “To Our Daughter” which showed, Kris Jenner giving birth to Kylie Jenner and several anecdotes from friends and family of Kylie Jenner such as Jordyn Woods, Kylie Jenner’s best friend. The videos also include Kylie discovering her own pregnancy and telling her boyfriend, Travis Scott. Kylie Jenner also reveals photos and videos of her baby bump and all of the events leading up to the birth such as the baby shower and the name reveal.

In addition, Kylie Jenner also announced her pregnancy on Instagram with a post that details her reasoning behind concealing her pregnancy from the public eye. She explained that she chose to reveal her pregnancy via social media as it would be the most stress free way for her and her daughter. (Jenner, 2018) When analyzing this case from a performance perspective, it becomes evident that Kylie wished to keep news of her pregnancy to herself and immediate family members as the presentation of the pregnancy was a form of self-representation in personal media, only to be known a select few. This proves to be difficult as her and her family are constantly under the media spotlight. The announcement of her pregnancy showed the general public her concerns for her daughter. She was honest and appeared to be sincere.

Due to the personal, emotional and intimate nature of this video,



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