For those who work with words every day, the importance of their meanings cannot be understated. Whether subtly shifted by context or evolving with the times, language and its usage will always be a point of debate.
Which is why when Dictionary.com posted a refreshed definition of the word self-made and then tapped Kylie Jenner for their example sentence—people online cried “Shade!“
Self-made means having succeeded in life unaided.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) July 11, 2018
Jenner, who is on the cover of Forbes this month, was named one of the magazine’s top 60 richest self-made American women, something Dictionary.com apparently took umbrage to. Which is why they reminded us of the real definition of “self-made” along with a nod and a link to the Forbes article.
Once they did though, Dictionary.com was accused of being, well, for lack of a better word—shady.
THE SHADE https://t.co/h8WNspphgd
— DdaengTan (@missemvi) July 12, 2018
— Nola Marianna Ojomu (@NolaMarianna) July 11, 2018
— Jennifer Mascia (@JenniferMascia) July 11, 2018
Ha! Come through with the definitions. Words mean things people. https://t.co/I2PYCCwtGG
— Britteney M (@BeBeTooSweet) July 12, 2018
When the dictionary throws shade at you https://t.co/YbFZ7EQ3OU
— GraveyardBetty (@graveyard_betty) July 12, 2018
Some thought Dictionary.com deserved another word—savage:
Dictionary, show me the definition of “savage” https://t.co/J4PMytUtah
— Karisa Maxwell (@KarisaMaxwell) July 11, 2018
They reply “https://t.co/NPsRcL1A3q”
— Fly Jones (@ChooChoo_Troy) July 12, 2018
But a few folks had Dictionary.com’s back including Mashable, who asked the question:
But, was it really throwing shade, or was this simply a distinction that needed to be made?
Writer Roxane Gay tweeted out the most compelling defense, saying:
It is not shade to point out that Kylie Jenner isn’t self-made. She grew up in a wealthy, famous family. Her success is commendable but it comes by virtue of her privilege. Words have meanings and it behooves a dictionary to remind us of that. https://t.co/2HzIJbLb8q
— roxane gay (@rgay) July 11, 2018
For her part, the 20-year-old mogul is not the one claiming she’s self-made. Jenner, who is the 8th most followed person on Instagram (her sister Kim is #6) and admits leveraging her 100+ million followers to help drive her success, has also credited her mother and her fans with helping her get to where she is today.
She even does so in the Forbes video teaser for the August 31, 2018, issue out now:
— Forbes (@Forbes) July 11, 2018
Kylie Cosmetics launched two years ago with a $29 “lip kit” consisting of a matching set of lipstick and lip liner, and has sold more than $630 million worth of makeup since, including an estimated $330 million in 2017. Even using a conservative multiple, and applying our standard 20% discount, Forbes values her company, which has since added other cosmetics like eye shadow and concealer, at nearly $800 million. Jenner owns 100% of it.
Add to that the millions she’s earned from TV programs and endorsing products like Puma shoes and PacSun clothing, and $60 million in estimated after-tax dividends she’s taken from her company, and she’s conservatively worth $900 million, which along with her age makes her the youngest person on the fourth annual ranking of America’s Richest Self-Made Women.
Regardless of whether Jenner did it all by herself (*hint—she didn’t) or leveraged her fame, platform and monetary foundation—there’s no disputing that her Kylie Cosmetics brand is a force to be reckoned with.
One that Forbes says puts her on track to be the:
…youngest self-made billionaire ever, male or female, trumping Mark Zuckerberg, who became a billionaire at age 23.
And that’s no shade.