I will preface this by saying that I do not use a wheelchair. I have only used a wheelchair for short periods when I was younger and not yet able to walk for extended periods of time with my crutches.
By now you may have already seen the latest images of Kylie Jenner on Interview Magazine. The various images show Jenner as a sex doll, essentially. Emotionless, powerless and objectified for the male viewing pleasure. Kylie is usually in headlines for cultural appropriation and being the best black girl that isn't black. Or when we're playing another round on the "Are those your real lips?" carousel. We've seen it before, we've heard it before and we're pretty much over it, as it's obvious that she is not likely to change any time soon.
The images of her as a lifeless doll are creepy enough, especially as she has been sexualised from such an early age. However, this photoshoot has to be a brand new low for her, and the Kardashian/Jenner clan as a whole. The "creative minds" at Interview and Jenner herself felt it appropriate to use a wheelchair as a prop in the name of fashion. She is appropriating everything about me and countless others and as I have mentioned before, disabled women of colour are already invisible. This is completely, and utterly disgusting.
A wheelchair is not a prop, disabled people all over the world need them to get around and live their lives with some semblance of normality. Wheelchairs are never seen as cool, trendy or anything to be admired or jazzed up. They are the obvious indicators that someone is disabled, it has been used as a universal sign that the person in it is not "as able". But put Kylie into a golden wheelchair and it becomes fashion, it is both glamorous and sexy.
What about the everyday people that are in wheelchairs, and have to be in them all the time? They are met with awkwardness, people not looking directly at them, or maybe not even talking to them at all. They're invisible and pushed to the back, they can't do anything for themselves. While they have to spend their days bound in a chair for the majority of the day, after the shoot, Kylie literally gets to walk off the set and go about her day.
The youngest of the Kardashian/Jenner group is certainly not the first famous person to use a wheelchair for the sake of fashion and/or art. Lady Gaga's music video for Paparazzi had her using a wheelchair, and she also performed in a wheelchair in Sydney, Australia. She was rightfully called out on both, not that I'm sure that will actually stop her from doing it again.