Age might just be a number, but so is 10 million—the number of dollars Kylie Jenner was reportedly offered to make a sex tape just weeks after her 18th birthday. To fully understand the impact of a Tyga-Jenner sex tape (and the grossness of the aforementioned offer), one needs to fully understand the oversexualized hype that has surrounded the 25-year-old rapper and formerly 17-year-old reality TV star/hair extension mogul/cut-out swimsuit kween.
The celebrity duo went from mini-scandal to full-out statutory back in January, when Tyga reposted one of Jenner’s sexy selfies with the caption, “I hit that every day.” In the pic, which the rapper quickly deleted, Kylie rocked leggings, a sports bra, long pink nails, and Louis Vuitton luggage in the background (so you know it’s real). The rumor spread like Calabasas wildfire, with a series of “news” reports on the young couple’s sex life, including salient details like Kris Jenner’s liberal approach to romantic sleepovers, and Kylie’s all access pass to Tyga’s mansion. Because love means memorizing all of your boyfriend’s security codes and getting funkytime approval from your momager.
After Jenner’s low-key brother-in-law, Kanye West, confirmed during a radio interview that Jenner and Tyga were “in love,” shit truly started to hit the fan for the two star-crossed lovers. The course of true love never did run smooth—especially when “true love” consists of publicly shtupping a 17-year-old. Tyga reportedly faced pressure from fans and music business insiders, who argued that the artistic innovator behind “Rack City” could weather serious career repercussions from his underage dalliance. Instead of backing out, and in the true spirit of romance, Tyga penned a ballad clearly referencing his relationship with the teenage TV star. “Pleazer,” the young couple’s sonic love child, is “Let’s Get It On” by way of World Star Hip Hop, Urban Dictionary, and PornHub’s teenage amateur tag.
Tyga’s most damning, explicit verse on the conclusively filthy track?
“I hit her, she backwards, lickin' her a**hole My d**k is the password T nasty, 'bout to catch a felony for it Vagina juice like orange juice in the mornin.”
While fans tried to argue that Tyga wasn’t necessarily talking about Kylie, his reference to catching “a felony for it” makes “Pleazer” the hip-hop equivalent to O.J. Simpson’s “If I Did It.” In other words, he definitely did it.
The celebrity media was fascinated with Jenner and Tyga’s sex life long before Tyga’s NSFW confession. But it took Jenner’s 18th birthday to truly christen the pair as Hollywood’s sexiest couple-commodity. For her 18th birthday, Jenner received a Ferrari from her boyfriend before the two jetted off together for a Mexican vacation. But Tyga wasn’t the only one emptying out his bank account over the big one eight. Vivid Entertainment, the upstanding gentlemen behind the distribution of Kim Kardashian’s 2007 sex tape, offered Jenner and Tyga a $10 million deal for their debut pornographic collaboration. Vivid’s Steve Hirsch made the offer via TMZ, pleading with the KUWTK star, “Kim’s sex tape helped launch her career and would be nothing but positive for you.”
Scrappy upstart BangYouLater is making a similar bid for Jenner’s bod, offering a modest $1.8 million upfront for a porno co-starring Tyga. Meanwhile, porn studio Digital Playground has offered Jenner a job as their brand ambassador, with an added opportunity for vertical (or horizontal) advancement: “Maybe you’ll be interested in becoming an adult star yourself!”
Kylie and Tyga’s relationship might ick you out, but there’s nothing grosser than the eagerly awaited arrival of a female celebrity’s 18th birthday. I honestly thought that Kylie Jenner couldn’t be more enthusiastically oversexualized and superficially examined than she was as a 17-year-old—until those officially “adult” offers started rolling it. It’s as if, by virtue of an essentially arbitrary birthday, Jenner is finally allowed to experience the true scope of exploitation and misogynistic scrutiny that is every Hollywood starlet’s daily bread and butter (if starlets were allowed to eat bread, or butter). For some reason, 18 years of life on this planet is perceived as permission to release a barrage of horniness and inappropriate leering on an unsuspecting celebrity. For older sister Kendall Jenner, that meant TMZ headlines like “53 days until she turns 18. Not that we’re counting.” For the record, Jenner was also offered $1.8 million to shoot her own porno.
The idea of “counting” down to a starlet’s 18th birthday is the rare fame phenomenon that actually wasn’t trademarked by the Kardashians—online countdowns tracked the days, months, and even years until former child stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen turned 18. The concept that an 18-year-old can be comfortably ogled, while a sexually active 17-year-old should be shamed (with a side order of more ogling), is as strange as it is pervasive. With the amount of energy that grown men have put into Googling “is Ariana Grande 18?”, we could have already cured cancer, or invented a calorie-free vodka.
Actually, the legal age of consent is different around the world, and shifts from state to state. While Kylie and Tyga’s relationship may have technically constituted statutory rape, California’s specific 18-and-older rule doesn’t explain why global Internet denizens seem to have some sort of hard-on for Jenner’s newfound “adulthood.” Just because Jenner can now vote or join the Army doesn’t mean that the world should feel “less creepy gawking at her Instagram feed.” Jenner turning 18 won’t make her any more likely to sleep with anyone on the Internet—so why does the entire Internet suddenly have the right to sexualize her without qualms (after demonizing Tyga for doing the exact same thing)?
A 25-year-old man having consensual sex with a 17-year-old girl is still concerning. But I’m just as grossed out by bloggers asking (i.e. requesting) “will Kylie Jenner follow in her big sister’s footsteps by trying to break the Internet with a nude photo?” or spending a day in front of the computer compiling “18 times Kylie Jenner looked way older than 18.” Jenner might not be, in the words of big sis Khloé Kardashian, a “normal 17-year-old,” but that doesn’t mean that all bets are off—and arguing that her newfound “legality” somehow validates or legitimizes our perverse prying is totally ludicrous. Jenner is simply too young for this level of sexualization and scrutiny, and we’re too old to be blogging and reposting her sensual selfies, or those salacious rumors about her sex life.
Kylie Jenner is growing up, and it’s about time the Internet did too.