Esquire magazine’s reveal of its March issue did not go over as planned with many on Twitter.
The cover shows a white teenage boy, along with the title and coverline “An American Boy: What it’s like to grow up white, middle class and male in the era of social media, school shootings, toxic masculinity, #MeToo, and a divided country.”
The article profiles Ryan Morgan, 17, from West Bend, Wisconsin. It discusses his school experiences, girlfriend and political views. The article details Ryan's love for sneakers, video games and hunting. He also delves into an altercation with a female classmate that led to the teenager receiving a ticket.
“(Kids in school) they called me a woman beater. I don’t think anyone actually thought I was. They were just giving me crap. It was just a stressful time,” the 17-year-old said.
The profile about the past year of Ryan’s life was described by many, including Atlantic writer Vann R. Newkirk II, as “really boring.”
It’s clearly trying to map a larger take onto what appear to be a rather unremarkable and drama free set of interviews with the kid. Even the central drama of the fight between he and the girl is just like…regular weird teenage emotions?— Dad (@fivefifths) February 12, 2019
The reaction from Twitter was, to put it lightly, negative.
how ! is!! this!!!! real!!!!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/r3BljOWJEQ— Fran Tirado (@fransquishco) February 12, 2019
magazine covers are very important and powerful real estate and like it matters!!!?? who gets those platforms !?? because they empower those that feel reflected !!! and the people who see this don’t super need to feel empowered right now! especially the ones with guns!!!!!— Fran Tirado (@fransquishco) February 12, 2019
White men are being stereotyped! Oh noes! It's not like they've done it to women or people of color for centuries!— Jen Corley (@jlhcorley) February 12, 2019
I cannot think of a topic less worthy of exploration than this,— James Miyazawa (@jmiyazawa) February 12, 2019
We needed an article to let us know the life of an "AMERICAN BOY"... Let me save you some time, PAGE 1 "PRIVILEGED " END OF ARTICLE.— Shanda (@ShaDoug) February 12, 2019
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
Esquire US < Esquire UK #BlackHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/VRCfpkuVyP— Hanna Ines Flint (@HannaFlint) February 12, 2019
Re Esquire: "What is it like to grow up in an era when some of the privileges that white straight men had 25 years ago are being challenged?" is not a 16-year-old's thought. Kids only know their own era. This is a 45-year-old's thought grafted onto, or worse, taught to, a kid.— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) February 12, 2019
As a white, middle-class male I think it’s safe for me to say we’re not going through much. #Esquire #BlackHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/8RB65Z8xtM— Sam Craig (@samuel_craig1) February 12, 2019
The editor-in-chief of Esquire, Jay Fielden, defended the cover in a follow-up post, saying future articles will be part of a series covering black, white, LGBTQ and female teens.
“What we asked [author Jennifer Percy] to do—and she did brilliantly—was to look at our divided country through the eyes of one kid,” Fielden wrote.
Some on Twitter agreed with the author of the article, expressing that it took courage to write a profile that Fielden knew would receive backlash.
"Why your ideological echo chamber isn't just bad for you, it's also bad for your kids." Kudos to @esquire EIC @JayFielden for having the courage to stand up to the social media/identity politics mob. Hard to believe it's come to this -- profile of white boy = profile in courage.— Steve Tobak (@SteveTobak) February 12, 2019
I hope people see the hatred and inner anger motivating the negative responses to this article.— Kony20124ever (@kony20124ever) February 12, 2019
The Esquire article is good and it took a lot of guts from @JayFielden to publish knowing the kind of backlash it would get. I remember reading the article that inspired this one when I was in middle school. @JenPercy wrote a worthy reboot— Alec Sears (@SearsAl) February 12, 2019
The reactions to this article are exactly what you’d expect in 2019. Esquire writes a plain vanilla bio on an incredibly average white kid from middle America and there’s still outrage and a sense of disdain for him and anyone like him.— ERiC (@_EsW_) February 12, 2019
Liberals losing their minds because Esquire Magazine dare feature a middle class Caucasian boy is giving me a laugh. Surely, there are real, actual tragedies in the world for you to be outraged about.— Britt McHenry (@BrittMcHenry) February 12, 2019
The racism and hatred of the left is on full display this morning as they are outraged that #Esquire featured a straight white male on their new cover. I thought everyone should be treated equally and given respect despite their race and sex?— derek schwartz (@derek_mafs) February 12, 2019
About the Author