Kylie Jenner’s wheelchair photoshoot is being criticized as an insensitive publicity stunt. In the photographs, which were published by Interview magazine, the 18-year-old socialite is wearing a risqué latex outfit and high-heeled shoes. Although her attire is not entirely unusual, disability advocates are concerned since the teen was posing in a wheelchair.
As reported by CNN, the controversial photos were published on Interview’s website on Monday morning. Within hours, social media sites were teeming with criticism aimed toward the magazine, the photographer, and Kylie herself.
Kylie Kardashian wouldn’t know a bad idea if it paralysed her and rendered her unable to walk. Idiot. pic.twitter.com/BVJL0P0uqM
— Chelle (@ChelleNZ) December 1, 2015
In an official statement, which was published by E! Online, an Interview spokesperson confirmed Kylie Jenner’s wheelchair photoshoot was inspired by Pop artist Allen Jones, who is notorious for portraying women as objects.
Jones’ most controversial works, which were created in the 1960s and 1970s, feature female mannequins dressed in BDSM-inspired outfits and displayed as pieces of furniture. The unusual works, which are simply titled Chair, Hatstand, and Table, are critically acclaimed despite the surrounding controversy.
Allen Jones has received stark criticism for objectifying women, However, in a 2014 interview with Dazed Digital, the artist said his work is simply misunderstood.
“… the artist cannot worry when he’s doing something about how someone might misconstrue the work. When you’re doing the work in your studio, your duty is to make the image within the language that the artistic frame of reference you are pursuing and if someone doesn’t like it, that’s tough… if someone misreads it, it’s tougher still.”
In the controversial photoshoot, Kylie Jenner’s lack of facial expression is eerily similar to the mannequins used in Jones’ sculptures. As a result, many critics, including disability advocate Emily Smith Beitiks, believe the teen is “literally being objectified made to look like a sex doll.”
Beitiks said Kylie Jenner’s wheelchair photoshoot is specifically disturbing, as the photographs are perpetuating negative stereotypes associated with the disabled. In Beitiks opinion, the teen’s submissive appearance suggests people with physical disabilities are weak.
Some critics have accused Kylie and the magazine of promoting ableism, which is a form of discrimination against the physically disabled.
I’d rather not bring attention to the Jenner/Kardashian family, but Kylie posing in a wheelchair bothers me. pic.twitter.com/0EFQw9LU2p
— young blanket (@LindsiexD) December 2, 2015
The comments posted via social media outlets, including Facebook and Twitter, have been largely critical of the unusual photoshoot and the unnecessary inclusion of a wheelchair.
Despite the ongoing controversy, Interview magazine strongly defended their homage to Allen Jones.
“… we are proud of our tradition of working with great artists and empowering them to realize their distinct and often bold visions. The Kylie Jenner cover by Steven Klein, which references the British artist Allen Jones, is a part of this tradition…”
The spokesperson vehemently denied accusations that the photographs portray Kylie as weak. Instead, they insist Jenner was dressed and posed in a way that was meant to convey “power and control.”
Kylie Jenner is the youngest daughter of former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner and Kris Kardashian. Like her sisters, Kylie became a celebrity amid her appearance in the reality series Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
In addition to appearing in reality television programs, Kylie aspires to be a professional dancer and model. She is also known for inspiring lines of clothing, hair extensions, handbags, jewelry, nail polish, and shoes.
Following the debut of Keeping Up with the Kardashians in 2007, Kylie and her family were thrust into the public spotlight. Although the Jenners and Kardashians have faced stark criticism, as they are simply “famous for being famous,” they have maintained their celebrity status for nearly 10 years.
Although Kylie Jenner’s wheelchair photoshoot has become a point of heated controversy, the model has not offered any comment or explanation. However, Interview magazine continues to defend their homage to Allen Jones’ controversial work.
[Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images]