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Jenner, the youngest daughter in the Keeping Up With The Kardashians clan, does not use a wheelchair for everyday mobility and was posing as a model.
As the blog Fashionista reports, Stephen Klein photographed her spread in the December/January issue of Interview. His notoriously edgy photography has previously included bondage, bloodied corpses and a model surrounded by animals carcasses.
The pictures of Jenner clad in black PVC, sitting astride a male model and sporting ass-less chaps are relatively tame compared to the rest of Klein’s back catalogue.
However, the casual use of a wheelchair as a fashion prop has enraged many Twitter users. Disability vlogger Ophelia Brown tweeted sarcastically that “being in a wheelchair is so fun and fashionable”:
Kayla Whaley, editor of the website Disability in Kid Lit, responded to the photo shoot with pictures of Jillian Mercado, a model who is actually a wheelchair user:
Jenner’s photoshoot is also getting heavily criticized in the fashion blogosphere. Runway Riot labeled the photo “asinine disability appropriation” in an article which listed other examples of the fashion world practicing “crip drag,” i.e. when a person without a disability portrays a disabled person.
It’s also noteworthy that Jenner recently used her Instagram account for the anti-bullying campaign #IAmMoreThan to share the story of Audrey, an artist with disabilities, who wrote “#IamMoreThan my wheelchair.”
Thank you for your words @audreytheartist #repost “#iammorethan my wheelchair 👸🏻🔥🔥 I have been doing really great lately and I thought it was time to share my piece of mind with you guys. 2015 has been one hell of a ride, and I am proud of me ; worked so far with amazing people, kept drawing when I couldn’t for months because of the car accident I had last year, and also graduated. I left my comfort zone many, many times this year and I kept going, my faith in brighter days never faltering. Being different physically is complicated, you have to deal with loads of shits, and still keep smiling. I want to say to anyone who feels different, lonely or just down, #keepgoing. You never know what tomorrow is made of, in good or bad, so please, keep going and #nevergiveup. Life is weird, so are we, and that’s what is #magical. I decided to embrace my flaws a long time ago, and I never regretted once that decision. I’m a young artist, and once again here, it’s hard being different because, judgments (“you can draw with your hands?”) but it’s worth it. I believe one day, I will work for #Sia, making her cds covers, and even make exhibitions in San Fran, Amsterdam and Tokyo. In meantime I’m gonna build my empire, one drawing per day. And #keepsmiling because life is worth living no matter what. I love life. Do you?#audreytheartist @kyliejenner”
A photo posted by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on
Given the media-savvy nature of the Jenner and Kardashian families, it will come as a surprise to no one that the controversial magazine cover surfaced the day after Kylie launched her new lipstick kit.
Update 8:10am CT, Dec. 3: This post has been updated to remove a tweet from Twitter user @Bethanyhurts after the account went private and tweets were no longer visible.
Screengrab via Instagram.com/KylieJenner
Catherine Scott is the author of 'Thinking King: The Collusion of BDSM, Feminism and Popular Culture.' Scott's work has been published in the Telegraph, the Guardian, Ms. Magazine, and Salon.