Esquire Magazine was called out on Twitter on Tuesday after revealing its March cover story, which featured a profile of a “white, middle class male” growing up “in the era of social media, school shootings, toxic masculinity, #MeToo, and a divided country.”
“As adults, it’s actually pretty easy to cop out: We don’t have to go to school, that bossy institution that pokes and prods you while people you don’t particularly like get to watch,” Esquire editor Jay Fielden said in a piece explaining the origins of the story on Tuesday
“Add to this the passions and change this moment has unleashed–#MeToo, gender fluidity, Black Lives Matter, “check your privilege,” and “#TheFutureIsFemale–and the task of grappling with the world has to be more complicated for kids than it’s ever been,” Fielden continued.
Fielden also added that the impetus for the piece had come from the experience of his own son and the children of other Esquire staffers. The profile itself — which you can read here — is focused on Ryan Morgan, a 17-year-old growing up in West Bend, Wisconsin.
Some, however, disagreed, taking umbrage with a white teenager on the cover of the iconic magazine.
“Happy Black History Month, everybody,” Soledad O’Brien wrote on Twitter.
“Isn’t every issue of Esquire about what it’s like to be white, male, and middle class? Emphasizing it on the cover seems redundant,” Gawker founding editor Elizabeth Spiers wrote in a Twitter post.
“Esquire’s new cover story is on what it’s like to be a white, middle class “American” boy. Just in time for White Middle Class American Boy History Month,” the official account of Comedy Central wrote of the cover.
In a tweet which appeared to have been meant as a direct message, Fielden thanked someone for defending him, and called his critics “digital Jacobins.”
Happy Black History Month, everybody. On this day of Our Lord Feb 12, 2019: pic.twitter.com/dR70iTvvoh
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) February 12, 2019
Reps for Esquire didn’t respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
Isn't every issue of Esquire about what it's like to be white, male, and middle class? Emphasizing it on the cover seems redundant. https://t.co/aLtZGrIpzK
— Elizabeth Spiers (@espiers) February 12, 2019
Esquire's new cover story is on what it's like to be a white, middle class "American" boy. Just in time for White Middle Class American Boy History Month.
— Comedy Central (@ComedyCentral) February 12, 2019
oh god. one thing that jumped out at me in that Esquire piece is the teacher using the subject of "gay people" to teach debate. this happened in my high school too and as a closeted gay person all it did was show me how many people hated me
— JuanPa (@jpbrammer) February 12, 2019
I have to admit it’d be really funny if Esquire gave this kid a cover story every single month just to check in and see how he’s been feeling about stuff pic.twitter.com/qT9ZozQa1Z
— Chris Scott (@iamchrisscott) February 12, 2019
Esquire really making choices, during Black History Month, no less pic.twitter.com/QbSdw70rCv
— Rachel Vorona Cote (@RVoronaCote) February 12, 2019
Trayvon Martin was also 17.
He also grew up in the age of social media
He also liked video games and sports and had the right to make some mistakes.
Instead of a magazine cover, he got a funeral.
We know about Ryan's experience. We need to understand Trayvon's. pic.twitter.com/Qh5NNlBQf3
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) February 12, 2019
Esquire is trending which was probably their goal with publishing this asinine cover story anyway.
— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) February 12, 2019