Kylie Jenner has hit a sensitive nerve on those individuals with serious physical disabilities that require the use of a wheelchair. Right now, I use a wheelchair full time as a result of dystonia and another undiagnosed neuromuscular condition. I can't move my feet or toes which makes walking (I mean dragging my feet) nearly impossible and unsafe). My wheelchair, although clunky and extremely heavy, allows me to push myself around the house, the stores, and maneuver my way around a large city campus.
Many people don't even like having other people sit in their wheelchair if even for a second. I don't mind having a friend or two sit in my wheelchair to allow me to enjoy the comfort of the couch. It is always with my permission though. We are college kids in tight dorms. Limited furniture sometimes calls for additional seating. Even then, they understand that wheelchairs are not a joke and only intended for those who need them most.
Jenner's combination of the immodest outfit, posing, and the use of the wheelchair were a bad combination. While the stars are used to posing and wearing insufficient, revealing clothing, the wheelchair shoved the issue over the cliff.
There is enough stigma about physical disabilities, both visible and invisible, in addition to mental illnesses. We do not need people like able-bodied people Kylie Jenner provoking conflict in a negative light. Media coverage like this is what made applying for my permanent handicap placard so psychologically challenging. When people mess around with chairs, the legitimacy of physical disabilities in the eyes of the general public is reduced. Physically disabled people everywhere have a very valid reason to be angered by Jenner’s poor portrayal of one with physical disabilities. I am certainly offended.
Being an able-bodied person herself, Jenner is likely to see wheelchairs as confining, restricting, and limiting even. For those of us that rely on these mobility aids to get around and lead fulfilling lives, these wheelchairs are the way out into the world. God forbid she should ever need a mobility aid herself, but she won’t fully understand the magnitude of this until she has experienced life in a wheelchair.
***NOTE: I do not own this picture***