When Kylie Jenner stepped out wearing a T-shirt that said, "I'm somebody's DUFF," the Internet went a little bananas. "DUFF" stands for designated ugly fat friend, so people started bugging that the svelte 17-year-old reality star had some serious body-image issues.
"It's a strange statement to see her making," said one website. Another called it "problematic, on several levels," "offensive to plus-size humans," and "condescending to those who are — or have felt like — the designated ugly fat friend."
In fact, the opposite is the case. Kody Keplinger, who wrote the novel The DUFF upon which the new movie is based and is credited for popularizing the term, applauds Jenner's statement. The way she sees it, such a move is empowering for everyone.
"I thought [Kylie wearing the shirt] was so badass. It was weird that it was controversial," Keplinger tells Yahoo. "People were so concerned that she had self-esteem issues or something. I'm like, 'No, that's not the point. The point is that even someone as beautiful as Kylie Jenner could feel like the DUFF because we've all felt like that."
And because we've all felt like a DUFF at some point or another, the 23-year-old scribe thinks we should embrace the term.
"There's a line in the movie: 'We're all somebody's DUFF.' I think that is so true, and so when I see someone like Kylie Jenner, who has this big profile and who is gorgeous wearing that shirt, it makes me so happy because it gets that message out there," Keplinger says. "Nobody ever says, 'Oh, yeah, I had a DUFF in high school.' Everybody says they were the DUFF. Nobody thinks they weren't. … Everyone has felt this way, and if we can acknowledge that and it can unite us, then it can't be used as a weapon anymore."
The DUFF, starring Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, and Bella Thorne, arrives in movie theaters Friday.