The Kylie Jenner Wheelchair Shoot

2 December 2015

If you didn't go near the internet yesterday you might not have heard about Kylie Jenners latest cover for Interview magazine with her in a gold wheelchair. There are so many reasons that I am not okay with this. I tweeted about it and my phone has not stopped since and I woke up to about a billion (slight exaggeration) notifications so I thought I'd expand for you here.


As my tweet mentioned it angers me that there are so many disabled models out there who cannot get work modelling or in the fashion industry because of their disability and the fact that they use a wheelchair. Models of Diversity are trying to change this and are doing amazing work. However it is seen as perfectly okay for Kylie to just casually use one as a prop by the same people that are turning away actual disabled people. Wheelchairs are not props. 

Someone on twitter said that people are getting angry over Kylie but it's seen as fine to use able bodied actors to play disabled characters. I would just like to point out that this is also not okay and is one of my massive pet peeves. There are so many disabled actors out there. Use them to accurately portray disabled characters. Its insulting not to. 

 I know many people who are too self conscious to go out in public in their chairs because of people staring and even shouting abuse. Wheelchair users get treated as children or not even as people. I've been patted on the head and talked down to. People aim any questions at my mum or friends because they automatically assume they are my carers, because what disabled person actually has friends? I've been quizzed on my disability and even spat at by kids. Kylie doesn't have that to contend with when she decided to use one as a photo prop.

I also hate how sexualised the shoot was as the disabled community already struggles with being fetishised. It would seem that disabled bodies are only okay as long as they can be seen as sexual and something to be fetishised. The general public already seem to be obsessed with disabled people and if we can have sex. 

 I read somewhere (can't remember where now) that the wheelchair was supposed to symbolise the limitations Kylie faces due to her fame. Seriously there are no words. First off the limitations you face due to fame are nothing compared to the limitations disabled people face daily due to accessibility issues, pain, lack of understanding, discrimination etc. And secondly my wheelchair gave me my freedom back and has opened up the door for so many more opportunities. Yes okay I am limited due to the lack of accessibility in certain places but my chair has changed my life for the better. I have been able to go on holidays with friends, complete a degree, volunteer and actually leave the house. Before my chair I was stuck in bed because life just hurt too much and was too exhausting.

So in short, Disability is not a fashion statement you can just pick and choose when it suits you. This is not to say that wheelchair users aren't fashionable because we are so damn fabulous. A wheelchair is essential in many peoples lives and is not just a prop. Wheelchairs are not a symbol of limitations. If you want a wheelchair on the cover of your magazine use one of the many gorgeous disabled models out there. 

Beth...x

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