On Tuesday, Interview magazine unveiled a cover story starring Kylie Jenner. The editorial photos were quite racy (you may see them here) and showed Kylie in a variety of scenarios. She sported tush-less PVC chaps in several shots, and she also posed inside a box like a sex doll. The internet did not break (nor did it for big sister Kim, although she continues to try), but people enjoyed commenting upon Kylie’s assets.
It took awhile for people to stop staring at the chaps. Eventually, though, people realized the able-bodied Jenner posed in a gold wheelchair. Photographer Steven Klein appears to have styled Jenner as an inanimate object throughout the shoot. It remains fruitless to dig for deep meaning regarding the Kardashian-Jenners, but Klein may have tried to get artsy with Kylie’s media image. She’s the youngest of the group and grew up as an object of artifice. Kylie was taught to be an object for consumption, which is reflected in most of the shoot. But, the wheelchair photo is a whole other ballgame.
No aesthetic reason can be served by treating a wheelchair as a gimmick. Kylie’s facial expression on the cover is doll-like, which further feeds the inanimate-object vibe. Disability advocates are understandably upset, and CNN interviewed Emily Smith Beitiks (a director of a San Francisco disability institute), who called the cover “deeply disturbing. People with disabilities are already seen as powerless, and this just reinforces that.”
Fox News spoke with Interview magazine, which defends its shoot in the tradition of British artist Allen Jones, but there’s more:
Chelsey Jay, Director of Disability for Models of Diversity, a campaign calling for more diversity in the modeling industry, says her organization is “completely against the images of an able Kylie Jenner using a wheelchair. It’s very bad taste that it’s deemed ‘artistic’ to place a celebrity figure in the position of a disabled person in an editorial sense,” Jay said. “However in reality, the fashion industry shuns actual models who in real life, depend on these mobility aids, yet are excluded for this exact reason. “
Twitter’s angry about this “artistic” cover, as well, and one model led the charge.
Other tweeters called out Klein’s judgment in placing Jenner in a wheelchair. Many are not placing blame on Jenner herself, but the Kardashian family probably won’t mind the controversy.