Kylie Jenner proved once again that photos are powerful conversation starters concerning taboo topics after Interview magazine published its latest photo shoot with the socialite December 1.
The controversy never ends for the 18-year-old, who was photographed in tight-fitting bodysuits and helmet-like hair while sitting in a gilded wheelchair.
Many took to Twitter to voice their support or displeasure, including Ophelia Brown, a high school student with complex regional pain syndrome. Her tweet to Jenner went viral, garnering over 29,000 retweets.
The photos sparked conversations about ableism, as many disabled people such as commentator Eric Tatum, mimicked Jenner’s shoot on social media. Tatum’s Tumblr post was reblogged thousands of times.
“Seeing you sitting in a wheelchair, modeling, made me sad, angry – even jealous – that you could so easily get in and out of the chair whenever you liked,” wrote Brown in an open letter to Jenner.
“Your photo suggests a wheelchair represents limitations,” she added. “You couldn’t be more wrong. My wheelchair is not a limitation – it is my wings. It lets me go to school, go out with friends and live life like a ‘normal person’.”
Jenner isn’t the only celebrity whose photo shoot has set the Internet ablaze.Her sister Kim Kardashian “broke the Internet” last year with her photo shoot for PAPER magazine, showing off her curvaceous body with a lot of champagne and a sparkly dress.
PAPER Magazine also featured model and actress Amber Rose this year, who dressed as different feminist icons, from Gloria Steinem to Rosie the Riveter, in its second “break the internet” issue.
According to PAPER Magazine, Rose began identifying as a feminist after her split from rapper Wiz Khalifa. While he would post pictures on Instagram with women all over him, she was the one getting slut-shamed when posting pictures of her and her son.
Rose’s shoot earned a lot of praise on Twitter, in contrast to Jenner’s shoot.
While words can move people, images especially evoke emotions in people. Whether in an ad or a news story, photos have a lot of power to send a message or start a dialogue, intentionally or not.