Esquire magazine just debuted its March 2019 issue, and the cover shines a spotlight on what it’s like for “an American boy” to grow up “white, middle class, and male in the era of social media, school shootings, toxic masculinity, #MeToo, and a divided country.”
But many people on Twitter are having none of it. Some could hardly believe the magazine seemed to be sympathizing with white male privilege in such a fraught cultural and political climate.
how ! is!! this!!!! real!!!!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/r3BljOWJEQ
— Fran Tirado (@fransquishco) February 12, 2019
It is legitimate to look into a "white boy"'s perspective & struggles, but THIS?! I am feeling really (#PoC) aggressive… like the violent savage queer Arab I am. Are you f-ing kidding me, @esquire?! This is a disgusting – let alone stupid – attack on so many crucial issues. pic.twitter.com/IDTUtVhMWT
— Leil-Zahra Mortada (@LeilZahra) February 12, 2019
A few immediately picked up on the insensitive timing of the issue’s release — the second week of February, which is Black History Month.
Esquire dropping this ode to white male privilege that no one asked for… during Black History month is just… ugh. pic.twitter.com/v9Re5dsKt3
— Jenna Amatulli (@ohheyjenna) February 12, 2019
— Hanna Ines Flint (@HannaFlint) February 12, 2019
I do not mind that there exists an article somewhere in the world about young white boys of privilege needing to relearn about masculinity. I do mind that it’s on the cover of @esquire during Black History Month. pic.twitter.com/QK3yVdKbN8
— Abigail Collazo (@LeftStandingUp) February 12, 2019
The cover accompanies a feature story that’s the first installment in a “new series about a boy,” according to Esquire. It profiles 17-year-old Ryan Morgan, from West Bend, Wis. Some feel one feature on the “plight” of white males is bad enough, and an entire series just adds insult to injury. Others are baffled by the subject matter.
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) February 11, 2019
It is extremely telling that, while the esquire editor’s note mentions that non-white, non-male children will be profiled eventually, it’s the white boy who gets the cover and the first story https://t.co/7SXxpZFGUa pic.twitter.com/It5WH9jd43
— Jack Mirkinson (@jackmirkinson) February 12, 2019
Because you know what we don’t discuss nearly enough? The white male experience. 🤦🏾♀️ pic.twitter.com/HTbq4wK1TJ
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) February 12, 2019
Some are flat-out angry about the feature, and no one is being shy about why.
— Anjali Enjeti (@anjalienjeti) February 12, 2019
Imagine the influence Esquire could've had by covering the experience of a 17 year old Black youth, preferably queer or trans. There is no justifying covering the plight of the white cishet male of any age. We're overexposed to it and often fall victim or prey. https://t.co/lpx2M2rZAG
— Dana (@DanaVivianWhite) February 12, 2019
Imagine this same ‘American Boy’ headline with someone who looked like Trayvon talking about what it’s like to have your mother sit you down to tell you how to stay alive in your own city during Black History Month.
Shame on you, @esquire. pic.twitter.com/aIlhGzmGph
— Zara Rahim (@zara915) February 12, 2019
Others are resorting to sarcasm and humor to lighten the blow.
*inside Esquire conference room*
Esquire CEO: “we should probably do a cover story for black history month, any suggestions?”
Editor: “there’s a white boy in Wisconsin who’s sad”
Esquire CEO: “run it” pic.twitter.com/g4XN5AB6TP
— Father Sean Misty (@seanieviola) February 12, 2019
Can't wait for Esquire's cover story on what it's like to be a youth pastor at Chris Pratt's church during Pride month.
— Rob, or Robert. (@rshuffandstuff) February 12, 2019
Some, however, raised a point about who is criticizing whom.
Willing to bet a lot of decision makers criticizing Esquire's cover do not have a black person on staff.
— George P. Slefo (@GeorgeSlefo) February 12, 2019
And today thousands of strangers will participate in the sort of public shaming that will help calcify his nascent beliefs. https://t.co/HFPBu7wnch
— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) February 12, 2019
I can’t believe people have become so racist and prejudiced that it is a problem that Esquire cover a white male teenager. Worst part is that, in 2019, IT’S POLITICALLY CORRECT. https://t.co/MfpgHWT0BW
— Rachael Tally (@SaltyShakr) February 12, 2019
Yeah, who cares about white boys? Just continue to completely ignore any issues they may have. Ever wonder why Trump won? Maybe because of racist, sexists tweets like this in their issues don't matter.
— pjc1978 (@coolp100) February 12, 2019
Esquire‘s editor-in-chief, Jay Fielden, explained in an essay the reason he chose to run the “American Boy” cover story, saying that an “ideological echo chamber” is bad for everyone — kids included. But critics on Twitter weren’t buying it.
Esquire Editor in Chief @jaydfielden tries to explain why they went with the whitest of white stories about how it’s so hard to be a white right now 😢 😭 😭. During Black History Month, of all things. https://t.co/ZJsg2jIjNq
— Perma-Bitchfaced Nemesis (@OverlySarcasmic) February 12, 2019
It’s quite rich for the editor-in-chief of a legacy print magazine to lecture people about echo chambers. I mean, this photo of Jay Fielden just SCREAMS “I don’t live in an echo chamber, and neither should you.” Before Esquire, he was the EIC of Town & Country Mag. pic.twitter.com/edyattBcxH
— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) February 12, 2019
Only time will tell what the reaction will be when Esquire publishes part two.
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