Esquire magazine drew Twitter's wrath in February for its March 2019 cover story. "An American Boy" focused on a white 17-year-old from Wisconsin. People criticized the magazine for announcing the cover during Black History Month. Others disagreed with the fundamental premise of the article.

Twitter overwhelmingly abhors Esquire cover story focusing on white, middle-class ‘American boy’

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.”

The reaction from Twitter was, to put it lightly, negative.


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.


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