Kylie Jenner wheelchair photoshoot sparks backlash

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Kylie Jenner’s recent photoshoot with Interview Magazine, published on the magazine’s website November 30, is not sitting well with disability advocates.

The reality star graces the front cover of the magazine’s latest issue, sitting in a golden wheelchair, wearing a black bustier, a choker and high heels. In most of the photos, her expression is blank, as to resemble a sex doll.

Critics quickly took to social media, calling Jenner’s use of the wheelchair inappropriate.

“I’m constantly infantilized because of my wheelchair, denied even the idea of sexuality and agency let alone desirability. But Kylie? She gets paid and praised to wear the shallowest possible illusion of my disability for a few hours,” Atlanta writer Kayla Whaley tweeted, according to CNN.

Other advocates were less critical of Jenner’s provocative attire, but nonetheless critical of the use of the wheelchair as a mere prop in the photoshoot.

“We very much appreciate and recognize the value of celebrities who are portrayed as people who use wheelchairs or as people with disabilities. “On the other side, the portrayal of Kylie Jenner in these photographs is as someone who is an inanimate object, and a portrayal alongside inanimate objects,” National Organization on Disability President Carol Glazer, whose nonprofit group has teamed up with stars ranging from the late Christopher Reeve to “CSI” actor Robert David Hall, told NBC Today.

Interview defended the photo in a statement to E!News, saying that its intentions have been misconstrued.

“At Interview, we are proud of our tradition of working with great artists and empowering them to realize their distinct and often bold visions,” the statement reads. “The Kylie Jenner cover by Steven Klein, which references the British artist Allen Jones, is a part of this tradition, placing Kylie in a variety of positions of power and control and exploring her image as an object of vast media scrutiny.

“Throughout the Art Issue, we celebrate a variety of women who are both the creators and subjects of their artistic work, and the Kylie feature aims to unpack Kylie’s status as both engineer of her image and object of attention. Our intention was to create a powerful set of pictures that get people thinking about image and creative expression, including the set with the wheelchair. But our intention was certainly not to offend anyone.”

For more responses, read a piece in the Guardian, an article in the Huffington Post by Karin Hitselberger, an blogger recently featured on Rooted in Rights, and in a Salon article.

One response to “Kylie Jenner wheelchair photoshoot sparks backlash

  1. I have a son who is multi disable having autism and being developmental delayed. He is 49 now. Because there was no Special Education then I got involved in getting the bill passed was told that it was my testimony that got the bill passed. Before the bill was passed I had to give up my rights to the state so he could live with a foster family so he could go to a private school when he was 8. Before that a person could be denied an education. When I testified before the House Ways and Means I told them about having to give up my rights to my son and that state had to pay for a foster family when I was able keep him home if Special Education was available in my town. Later on I was told it was what I said that got the Sped Ed billed passed. As our bill here in MA was passed it became the bases of the federal law.
    I think that parents of today have no idea of what it was like 40 years ago to get a disable child educated.

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