Kylie Jenner recently made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, again. On Tuesday evening, images from a fashion photoshoot with Interview magazine emerged with Jenner posing in a wheelchair. Almost immediately, the shoot sparked a negative reaction and Jenner was branded ‘ableist’. This isn’t the first time Jenner has offended thousands with a photoshoot though, she has previously sported blackface and dreadlocks too.
We decided to ask some of our disabled readers, also known as spoonies, to share their thoughts on the controversial photoshoot.
I am completely infuriated by the images of Kylie Jenner using a wheelchair as a prop. A wheelchair is an everyday necessity to a disabled person; it’s not a fashion statement. It’s taken me years to come to the terms of being in a wheelchair and she’s completely making a mockery of the disabled community. Not only is she glamourising disability but she’s posed like a dominatrix doll – what exactly is that insinuating? That disabled people are not real, that we’re aliens? We already feel alienated everyday by the ableist society we live in, and this is not helping. If you’re going to do a photoshoot using mobility aids, use disabled models.
Enhance the UK have just done a campaign called Undressing Disability where they shot disabled people in their underwear to try and banish the taboo surrounding disability and sex. That got hardly any publicity, but Kylie Jenner did. It’s insane. As a disabled woman that uses a manual wheelchair, and needs a powerchair (but can’t afford one), it angers me that a wheelchair is used as a prop. It’s not fashionable, it’s a way of living a ‘normal’ life.
Two years ago, I started using a cane to help with the physical effects of my disability. I never saw it as holding me back. It’s a big step to finally admit that you need help and the decision to start using a cane has given me freedom, as well as confidence again. So for Kylie Jenner to justify her wheelchair photo by saying it represents her ‘limitations’ is completely incorrect. Wheelchairs and mobility aids help us overcome our limitations and give us the freedom to leave the house. They help us try and carve out a ‘normal’ life. The struggles of an cisgender, able-bodied, celebrity are very different to somebody who has to fight every day to be heard and taken seriously. It’s hard enough as it is, we don’t need celebrities using our struggles as clickbait.
Far too often those who use wheelchairs are put into two categories: the sexless and the over-sexualised. There’s people who think disabled people can’t have sex, don’t enjoy sex and aren’t attractive. We also have wheelchair fetishists, people who only see a wheelchair and want to have relations with them because of that. I have come across people who hound my friends on social media because they want to live out their sexual fantasies with them. Kylie has been photographed in a chair wearing a corset and what look like restraints around her neck and ankles, thus feeding both sides.
Other reasons for wheelchair usage include: chronic pain, joint dislocations/internal injury, cardiovascular strain, orthostatic intolerance
— fa1on (@ManicPixieDG) December 1, 2015
Conditions: Marfan’s Syndrome and Fibromyalgia