The reality star graces the front cover of the magazine’s latest issue, sitting in a golden wheelchair, wearing a black bustier, a choker and high heels. In most of the photos, her expression is blank, as to resemble a sex doll.
Critics quickly took to social media, calling Jenner’s use of the wheelchair inappropriate.
“I’m constantly infantilized because of my wheelchair, denied even the idea of sexuality and agency let alone desirability. But Kylie? She gets paid and praised to wear the shallowest possible illusion of my disability for a few hours,” Atlanta writer Kayla Whaley tweeted, according to CNN.
Other advocates were less critical of Jenner’s provocative attire, but nonetheless critical of the use of the wheelchair as a mere prop in the photoshoot.
“We very much appreciate and recognize the value of celebrities who are portrayed as people who use wheelchairs or as people with disabilities. “On the other side, the portrayal of Kylie Jenner in these photographs is as someone who is an inanimate object, and a portrayal alongside inanimate objects,” National Organization on Disability President Carol Glazer, whose nonprofit group has teamed up with stars ranging from the late Christopher Reeve to “CSI” actor Robert David Hall, told NBC Today.
Interview defended the photo in a statement to E!News, saying that its intentions have been misconstrued.
“At Interview, we are proud of our tradition of working with great artists and empowering them to realize their distinct and often bold visions,” the statement reads. “The Kylie Jenner cover by Steven Klein, which references the British artist Allen Jones, is a part of this tradition, placing Kylie in a variety of positions of power and control and exploring her image as an object of vast media scrutiny.
“Throughout the Art Issue, we celebrate a variety of women who are both the creators and subjects of their artistic work, and the Kylie feature aims to unpack Kylie’s status as both engineer of her image and object of attention. Our intention was to create a powerful set of pictures that get people thinking about image and creative expression, including the set with the wheelchair. But our intention was certainly not to offend anyone.”
For more responses, read a piece in the Guardian, an article in the Huffington Post by Karin Hitselberger, an blogger recently featured on Rooted in Rights, and in a Salon article.