In December, Kylie Jenner did a cover for Interview Magazine which sparked some controversy to say the least. Jenner is posed on the cover in a black bustier and hells while sitting in a glided wheel chair. If you are any bit familiar with the star, you know that she does not legitimately require a wheelchair .
This photograph caused major blacklash on social media and especially within the disabled community… and for good reason.
Pam Wade Kenner, posted a photo of her niece, Leah Abell, who has cerebral palsey in response to the cover. In an interview with TODAY.com, Kenner said, “She sits in that chair every waking moment, unable to sit, stand or walk on her own. Cerebral Palsy is her captor and the chair is her prison. Glamorizing the chair angers me. … So incredible that nobody stood up and told Kylie Jenner that this was a bad idea.”
Kenner is right, it is really mind blowing that not a single person working for the magazine or own the shoot thought that the concept could be highly offensive to those who are confined to a wheelchair every day for the rest of their lives. Glamorizing something that can profoundly impact an individuals life in that way is more than just unethical, it’s disturbing.
My favorite response to the cover however, is a post on social media by Erin Tatum.
“I can barely get people to make eye contact with me, let alone land a cover shoot. If being in a wheelchair is trendy now, I’ve apparently been a trendsetter since before Kylie was born.”
Even more disturbing than the cover concept itself, is the Interview Magazine defense for it.
According to VH1, Interview Magazine is said (they do not specify whom), “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 Kylie Jenner cover is 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.”
Positions of power, as Interview is quoted, is the anthesis of what placing Jenner in a wheelchair does. Yes she is in a position of power… stand up and walk out of the chair after the photo shoot is over unlike the countless number of people who are confined to them for the rest of their lives. Even more than that, trying to claim that it is creative work and therefore not offensive, is a bunch of garbage .