Ophelia Brown's tweet about Kylie Jenner posing in wheelchair goes viral
'It's not something to be trivialized,' Ottawa teen says about photos of American reality star
A Grade 12 student at Ottawa's Merivale High School says she's shocked but pleased about the online reaction to her tweet in response to a photograph of able-bodied TV star and model Kylie Jenner posing in a wheelchair.
Ophelia Brown, 17, uses a wheelchair due to the complex regional pain syndrome that she was diagnosed with at nine years old.
When she saw the Interview magazine image of Jenner, Brown was upset and wrote a message on Twitter that was directed to the American teen.
<a href="https://twitter.com/KylieJenner">@KylieJenner</a> wow being in a wheelchair is so fun and fashionable! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ableism?src=hash">#Ableism</a> is the ultimate fashion statement! <a href="https://t.co/lOScQnODhy">pic.twitter.com/lOScQnODhy</a>—@bandaidknees
The post has been retweeted 25,000 times and liked 26,500 times. MTV, BBC News, Daily News, Huffington Post, the New York Daily News, Today and other media have covered it.
A wheelchair is not a fashion accessory ... It's not something to be trivialized.- Ophelia Brown, Ottawa high school student
"Having an able-bodied person pose in a wheelchair like it's a fashion accessory, it trivializes the concept of a wheelchair," Brown told CBC News in an interview at her school Thursday.
"A wheelchair is not a fashion accessory, it's not a prop, it's not something that I can easily get in and out of. It's not something that I want. It's something that I need to get to school, to go out with friends, to live a normal life.
"It's not something to be trivialized."
I had a feeling that tweet would get big but I didn't think THIS big. I'm still stunned by the support I'm getting.—@bandaidknees
Brown hasn't heard directly from Jenner, youngest daughter in the Kardashian reality TV family, the magazine or the photographer, but hopes she'll hear something soon.
"My only goal for the tweet was to get as many people to see it as possible and to educate people, as well as Kylie, and the photographer and the magazine that published it," she said.
"Standing up to ableism is one of the most important things to me now because I know that this fight for me and for more disabled people, it's going to be for my entire life. So I might as well get started fighting now and fighting for my rights because this is going to be a lifelong battle for me."