Interview Mag's White Damsel In Distress: Art or Racism?

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    Interview Magazine recently published a photo spread-featuring model Daria Werbowy-that is stirring up controversy for what some perceive as a racist undertone.

    In the spread Werbowy appears intoxicated and helpless, while provocatively posed amongst a throng of black onlookers. The suggestive scene has sparked debates because of the racial dichotomy of the white impaired model among a slew of black models who appear amused at the situation. Some also feel that the atmosphere in the shoot is overtly sexual, in an advantageous way.

    The Huffington Post states:

    This Mikael Jansson-shot editorial titled “Let’s Get Lost” for Interview Magazine is provocative, without doubt, and really got us thinking about what exactly it means for Daria Werbowy to “lose” herself in a throng of black partygoers.

    From the differences in their dress (Daria’s in ethereal, angel-like gowns, the others are in knits and leathers) to their body language (A limp yet super-sexual Daria is the main focus, the others feel almost like props), the whole spread has a rather racist vibe that we can’t get down with despite the gorgeous art direction of the spread. Don’t you agree?

    After all, regardless of what some say, fashion is at its core a political and social product–how power relationships are set up in editorials can speak volumes. So while the super-sexy, ethno-traditional thing is very of the moment, it all seems to be setting up a 21st century colonial construct that makes us very uncomfortable. What do you think?

    We  agree that this shoot is amply fulfilling in terms of the face-value imagery and artistic direction. Once we dig into the racially charged motif, and realistically consider the dynamics of the scenario, the direction of the images goes askew in our heads. What exactly is this pictorial portraying?

    What are your thoughts? Art or racism?

    View the images in the gallery below:

    Also,check out these stories:

    Love Magazine’s Nude Spread: Porn Or Art?

    Blackface Fashion Exhibit: Art or Racism?

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