Kylie Jenner: Avant Garde or Offensive?

I’m home with the flu today. At least, that’s what it feels like. My medication lowers immune system function, so I’m surprised this is the first time I’m getting sick this season. I wanted to do something productive while lying in a pile of blankets and tissues and I’ve been sitting here, staring at a blank screen for quite some time now, knowing the topics I’d like to talk about, but frankly, I haven’t really been in a great head space over the last couple days and the words just aren’t coming.

So! I’ll resort to my backup, before it becomes too irrelevant.

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I realize I’m late to the game on this, but I’d like to address the recent shoot Kylie Jenner did for Interview magazine. There’s so much I wanted to say about this, but I’ll keep it short and sweet.

Kylie has received a lot of backlash for this spread and I’m curious what my readers think about it. The world of medicine has been fetishized for ages, and while I can certainly appreciate the feelings, the memories, the smells that the textures, the uniforms, the temperatures of some good medical imagery can evoke…but something about this photo of Kylie really rubbed me the wrong way.

The disabled tend to be objectified, dehumanized, and desexualized and are seldom seen in beauty, fashion, and media. I can’t speak from experience, but from my limited understanding, there’s nothing glamorous about being confined to a wheelchair, something that has been described as a somewhat mobile prison cell that shrinks the world around you and makes you invisible, inhuman.

I’m sure this wasn’t the intent of Kylie or Interview magazine, but that doesn’t make the photo featuring a dead-eyed, plastic-looking Kylie any less tasteless or insensitive.


EDIT:

I totally forgot to mention my thoughts on something like the music video for Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi, in regard to utilizing medical equipment in entertainment. Thank you, Jenn, for reminding me! 🙂

I really like the Paparazzi video. Like I said above, medical equipment and apparel have been fetishized for many, many years and I can appreciate a lot of it.

I think it was how lifeless and plastic Kylie looked in her photo that made me uncomfortable. In the Gaga video, the wheelchair and crutches were part of a story—if I remember correctly, Gaga was pushed off of a balcony. The chair and crutches, while decorated to match the aesthetic of the singer and her video, were being utilized, temporarily until she recovered, as a wheelchair and crutches—not strictly as an “edgy” accessory to sell a magazine.

I apologize if this post comes across as short and rant-y. I’m sick and cranky :).

2 thoughts on “Kylie Jenner: Avant Garde or Offensive?

  1. Susan Lesperance

    Cat, I found Kylie Jenner’s photo shoot cover for INTERVIEW magazine highly offensive. The Kardashian klan (sic) doesn’t have a clue as it relates to people experiencing and living with devastating illnesses or health crises. I don’t wish anything bad on the klan, however, I do wish they would look back on how they present their image and branding to others–and show more respect for people who are not as fortunate as them. Rant over. xo

    Like

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