Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Dissed Ableist: The Kylie Jenner Backlash

I don't pay much attention to the three-ring circus that is the Kardashian/Jenner clan. I don't watch their show, I don't follow them on social media, and my internet worked just fine after Kim "broke" it. 

I am also not one of the many "haters" who seem to have a ton of time on their hands, given how often they post simply to trash the trashy. 

In all, that train wreck of a family has all the appeal of watching Dustin Diamond eating liverwurst whilst making obscene gestures for an hour.

And as far as I can recall, I have never felt the urge to remind my Zensters of these people's existence.

Until now.

Kylie Jenner is apparently an 18-year-old model. And the most recent cover for Interview Magazine portrays the non-disabled Kylie wearing S&M gear while sitting in a gold wheelchair. Behold: 


She has an extremely vapid look on her face, not unlike an inflatable sex doll. It's certainly possible that she always looks like that. Maybe instead of Resting Bitch Face, she has Resting Fake Vagina face instead.  

After the photos were published, Twitter exploded. 

Many Tweetsvwere from my fellow Wheel Warriors:




While others objected to the ableism: 




Some felt that a photo shoot of a girl in a wheelchair ought to be an authentic photo shoot of a girl in a wheelchair


Still others just didn't want this to become a fad, imagining a world where the Ladies Who Lunch scoot along Rodeo Drive in their ultra-sleek, custom-built, Swarovski-encrusted designer chairs: 




Then there's this one, which reads much like the "one black friend" trope: 


In the midsts of the backlash, there was some dispute about the photographer's culpability:



Then I read my very favorite Tweet on this subject:


G-d bless you, my fellow Warrior. 

Now that you've seen some examples of what your fellow human beings thought about these photos, what their reaction to it was...it's now time to share mine.
There are three problems I have with this:

1) It's ableist and offensive to use a wheelchair as a runway prop. If you want to have people in wheelchairs in your photo shoots/runway shows, HIRE AN ACTUAL DISABLED PERSON.
2)  This will make the disability fetishists come crawling out of the woodwork, especially as this photo is kinky in nature. I anticipate getting more "ever done it in your chair?" messages in the aftermath of this. My single disabled friends tell me that it's sometimes hard to distinguish men who are attracted to you in spite of the chair, and the men who are attracted to you because of the chair. It's one of those things you only learn when you become disabled: Rule 34 applies to you, too. 
3) I fear this will encourage those individuals who believe they were "born to be disabled" and they need to get there via voluntarily amputating a perfectly healthy limb. This photo shoot makes it seem glamorous, sexy, fun...feeding their belief that being disabled will give them fufillment and the happiness that has somehow eluded them. 

All in all, I think the strong reactions to this photo shoot could, in the end, be a good thing. Why? Because it will open the eyes of people who don't really "get" ableism. It will also hopefully open a dialogue between the disabled and the able-bodied about what it means to be disabled. Such a dialogue could further aid disability rights, and open the pursestrings this holiday season and give to those charities that help, not hinder or objectify disability. 

I have little doubt that should that come to pass, the Kardashian/Jenner camp will take the credit for it.

Give anyway. Remember that we are all susceptible to sudden illness or injury. Do unto them what you'd want them to do unto you. 

It's a lesson Miss Jenner has yet to learn. 




Good charities that help the disabled:

•Multiple Sclerosis:

https://secure.nationalmssociety.org/

http://msfocus.org/

•United Cerebral Palsy: 

upc.org 

•Cystic Fibrosis:

https://www.cff.org/

•St. Jude's Children's Hospital:

https://www.stjude.org/

•A List of Wheelchair Organizations:

http://www.wheelchairfoundation.org/programs/more_organizations














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7 Comments:

At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I saw you deleted your post but I wanted to send my sympathy. There are a lot of people out there who are very skeptical of what's been posted and my heart goes out to you. I really hope your family can eventually find peace.

 
At 8:05 AM, Blogger Angela Singer said...

Thank you. I didn't delete it, I just edited it. I realized that one of the posters at MC were right, and I had not included positive stories about my brother. I have since changed that, and the post is back up.

 
At 8:06 AM, Blogger Angela Singer said...

Thank you again for your kind words during this difficult time. It's appreciated.

 
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