We can't talk about Kylie Jenner's $900 million worth without talking about privilege.

Newsflash: Kylie Jenner is really, really wealthy.

Forbes just estimated her total worth, conservatively, at $900 million.

Most of that wealth comes from the 20-year-old's young cosmetics brand, Kylie Cosmetics, which Forbes (again, conservatively) valued at $800 million. Her astonishing wealth landed Jenner a place on Forbes' 2018 list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women.


Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

"Another year of growth will make her the youngest self-made billionaire ever, male or female," the outlet reported, noting she'll have edged out Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (who became a billionaire at age 23) by two birthdays.

But Jenner's isn't exactly a rags-to-riches story. The youngest child in the Kardashian-Jenner crew was already starring in her family's reality TV series and swimming in endorsement deal cash before her 18th birthday. If your zip code does, in fact, decide your destiny, Jenner's Calabasas, California, upbringing has paved the way to a life of luxury.

It's easy to understand why Forbes' "self-made" distinction raised plenty of eyebrows.

"Calling Kylie Jenner self-made without acknowledging anywhere the incredible head start she had is what allows people to turn around and look at poor people and ask them why they haven't become billionaires yet," read one viral tweet that's amassed over 280,000 likes as of this writing.

The backlash was swift (and, at times, kind of funny).

Image via Gulab Jamun/Twitter.

Disgruntled readers even pushed Forbes to note that the publication "fully acknowledges that within the term 'self-made' there are many who are more self-made than others," a spokesperson noted to CNN. A glimpse through the full list of women — on which Jenner ranked amongst the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Sandberg, and Taylor Swift — further illustrates that point.

In peak internet form, however, then there was a backlash to the backlash.

Some argued the "self-made" distinction is fair, while others justifiably suggested the intense backlash was over-the-top and sexist.

Image via Alexandra Talty/Twitter.

Even Dictionary.com threw in its two cents on the matter, clarifying on Twitter that "self-made means having succeeded in life unaided."

Image via Dictionary.com/Twitter.

Intentional or not, Dictionary.com's input further stirred the pot, with outlets like People magazine quipping, "Dictionary.com Shades Kylie Jenner After Forbes Calls Her a 'Self-Made' Almost Billionaire."

As all things internet tend to do, the conversation snowballed into a sour, divisive, and oversimplified water cooler debate.

But then Roxane Gay chimed in.

And in under 280 characters, the acclaimed author gave some much needed perspective. "It is not shade to point out that Kylie Jenner isn't self-made," she wrote on Twitter. "She grew up in a wealthy, famous family. Her success is commendable, but it comes by virtue of her privilege."

Image via Roxane Gay/Twitter.

"Words have meanings," she concluded. "And it behooves a dictionary to remind us of that."

Gay's tempered response touched on an important point.

Privilege — whether it comes down to skin color, sexual orientation, gender, ability, or money — doesn't mean a person hasn't worked hard or faces no hurdles, as Gay suggested in noting Jenner's "commendable" success. But privilege does mean a person's benefited from a system that — in some way, shape, or form — gives them a leg up.

Or, in Jenner's case, many millions of legs up.

Jenner may be a hardworking, business-savvy entrepreneur, but she's also benefitted from an incredible amount of privilege that's served as the springboard to her status as an almost-billionaire. Both things can be true at once.

And acknowledging that privilege isn't "throwing shade" or "lambasting" Jenner — it's simply recognizing that maybe "self-made" isn't the most accurate term to describe her wealth.

Words matter, after all.

Image via Dictionary.com/Twitter.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less