Kylie Jenner, you dick, a wheelchair is not a fashion accessory or a way to show how quirky you are. Shot by Steven Klein for Interview Magazine, the star of Keeping Up With The Kardashians is on the cover sitting in a wheelchair.
As if this is OK? Disability isn’t something to play at, it isn’t a prop or a way to show ‘another side of you’. It is a reality that affects millions of people, not a joke or a fashion shoot.
Beth Grossman, Head of Policy at disability charity Scope, told The Independent: “If Interview Magazine wanted a glamorous, sexy wheelchair user on its front cover it’s a shame they couldn’t use someone disabled.”
“Having a non-disabled person in a wheelchair, as a provocative fashion prop, will offend many disabled people. It’s rare that we see aspirational and authentic reflections of disabled people in advertising and the media.
“If we’re going to challenge assumptions about disability, particularly about sex and disability, we need to share real-life depictions and experiences.”
There is a HUGE lack of people with disability in the media when you think that around 15 per cent of the world’s population, or estimated 1 billion people, live with disabilities. They are the world’s largest minority. (According to the UN).
15% of the population… So where are the 15% of TV presenters, models, politicians, movie stars with a disability? Yes, things are improving but it is still a problem that we don’t see a proper representation in our media and this needs to change.
What doesnt help is people with such celebrity status playing at having a disability. It is offensive, it is wrong, it is not OK. What bothers me is that this image will have gone through so many people’s hands before making it onto the cover and they either didn’t think it could offend, weren’t bothered, or hoped it would be controversial and increase sales. Interview has since told E! that their intention was to “create a powerful set of pictures” and “certainly not to offend anyone.”
I know this won’t offend everyone, there will be those who say it doesn’t upset them in the slightest and that it is “PC gorrrnnnn mad” but I know I am not alone in being pretty appalled that this happened.
Ablism is rife and I think it important to stand up against the use of disability as a prop for able bodied people to promote themselves as something different.