Kylie Jenner Poses in Wheelchair, Disability Activists Respond

by Holiday Black

The Kardashian/Jenner clan keeps us living and kicking—whether that’s because they’re hosting obscenely over the top weddings, starting a million businesses, screaming at us on Snapchat, or because, for better or worse, they’re posing for magazine covers. In this case…I’m gonna have to go with worse.

Most recently, Kylie Jenner is in the spotlight for her cover with Interview Magazine, posing in a wheel chair. Oh littlest Jenner…I wish I could save you from your ass-hat boyfriend Tyga and this ass-hat photographer who seems to think that disabilities are a joke or an aesthetic plaything. Alas, all I have is this blog post which seems to be on a record streak for usage of the word ‘ass.’ 

As you can see, Jenner is collared and wears all latex in her latest shoot, pictured above. In the three-page cover feature, photographer Steven Klein satirizes the Kardashian/Jenner clan (Posse? Clique? Cultural militia?)’s flare for dramatic, Barbie-esque makeup. Jenner’s angular joints and firm, stiff postures hint at a doll-like, plastic quality. But Klein took it too far when he sat Jenner in the golden wheelchair.

Yeah…about that. What does it mean that Jenner and her photographer, Klein, fall into the privileged end of the able-bodied spectrum, but that they can just opt into and out of the wheel chair for sheer aesthetics? What does it say about their able-bodied relationship to the world around them?

Wheelchairs aren’t ‘cool,’ toys for photographers and fetishists or whoever else to use at whim. They’re real tools that real people use. Real people who deal with a lot of shit that able bodied people don’t. 

Further, why is it that when people with disabilities use wheelchairs, they are treated as “less than,” but that when Kylie uses one, it’s fashion? I don’t have an answer other than, well, general lack of foresight, irresponsibly maneuvered privilege, and just….ugh!

At first when I saw this story, I was scanning twitter for posts about Jenner’s new lip kit, optimistically haunting the interwebs for femme cosmetic brain fluff. “Nah!” I thought to myself, “Kylie’s just modeling for this insensitive sh*tbag bereft of any respect for disabled peoples, it’s not KYLIE’S fault.” Unfortunately though, this isn’t the first time Jenner has modeled for morally questionable shoots. Jenner also wore blackface in a shoot and sported dread locks for a Teen Vogue cover. 

Come on Kylie…I so badly just want to pretend to be excited about your burgeoning beauty business. Unfortunately though, Kylie’s got a pattern of doing righteously uncool shit that I can’t overlook. Sorry girl, guess I’ll be sticking to my usual routine of Carmex and waxy dollar store lipstick.

More from BUST

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You’ve Never Seen Mannequins Like These: Disabled Public Figures Serve As Models 

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