Kylie Jenner covered the latest issue of Forbes magazine in a series on "America's Richest Self-Made Women." Forbes estimated that within a year, Kylie would become the "youngest self-made billionaire ever, male or female." After she received this honor, the web quickly clapped back. Many took offense to the idea that Jenner was "self-made," and argued she wasn't a candidate for the status because she was born into a rich, famous family. According to Dictionary.com, the term "self-made" means "having succeeded in life unaided." Because Kylie jumpstarted her cosmetics empire with $250,000 that she made from Keeping Up with the Kardashians and other appearances, she was "aided" by the success of her older siblings. As many fans pointed out, Kylie couldn't have invested that initial $250,000 unless she was a reality star, all thanks to her family's TV empire. But her older sister, Kim Kardashian, thinks otherwise, and she's here to defend Kylie's hustle.
"I really didn’t get it," Kim told Refinery29 about the backlash, "because she is 'self-made' — we are all 'self-made.' What, because we came from a family that has had success? To me, that doesn’t really make sense… I know so many people like that [who] haven’t turned out to be as successful as Kylie. If anything, I’ve seen the complete opposite."
Case in point: The rest of the Kardashian/Jenner family. Are they running companies with $900 million valuations? No. Are Rob Kardashian's socks flying off the shelves like Kylie's lip kits? Is Khloe Kardashian's Good American brand even half as successful as Kylie Cosmetics? Hell, Kylie is even valued higher than Kim. If the seed money alone had led to her success, KKW Beauty would be just as successful as Kylie Cosmetics, but it's not.
Kim also challenged the argument that Kylie was "aided" in her path to almost-billionaire status.
"Me, Kylie, not one [of the siblings] has ever depended on our parents for anything besides advice," Kim said. "That’s how I lived my life with my dad [Robert Kardashian]. He never gave me anything. We might have the opportunity, but I’ve seen it go the complete opposite way. Nobody works harder than my sisters and my mom."
If we're going to cancel Kylie's self-made status because she had familial assistance, we should argue Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg (another young, "self-made" billionaire) isn't self-made either. He, too, was "aided" by the privilege of affording Harvard tuition. He's even admitted that his parents financially supported him. Aren't most straight white male billionaires "aided" by the patriarchy? Where does the line between "aided" and "privileged" end? If your parents pay for your schooling, your rent, and whatever else you might need while you launch a billionaire-dollar business, how is that self-made?
Ultimately, everyone gets help at some point in their lives. The question is, where do we draw the line?