Esquire cover featuring white, middle-class 'American boy' sparks backlash: 'How is this real?'

Kristine Solomon
Style and Beauty Writer

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.”

Esquire magazine’s latest issue sparked outcry on Twitter for focusing on white males during Black History Month. (Photo: Esquire)

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.

A few immediately picked up on the insensitive timing of the issue’s release — the second week of February, which is Black History Month.

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.

Some are flat-out angry about the feature, and no one is being shy about why.

Others are resorting to sarcasm and humor to lighten the blow.

Some, however, raised a point about who is criticizing whom.

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.

Only time will tell what the reaction will be when Esquire publishes part two.

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