Commenting on Comments

Sometimes I can't help myself.  I don't want to seem like a troll, because I wasn't specificially looking for this photo, but looked at it when someone else posted about it. I read through the comments.  Why?  Because I truly want to believe that everyone is not as ignorant as the editors at that magazine.  If you look at the image, I added some emojis, so as to not give any further publicity to the magazine or  model. 

Below is the comment that made me think.  It's one thing for someone in the west to post "ooooh, I love this image" because there is a constant reminder online on how messed up that is.  But upon further investigation, the commenter is European.  Which by no means excuses the comments, but my goal (as it always is when I engage) is promote discussion and not try and shame the person.  I just want to know their thought process.

So this is how the exchange went...

arunas.jonas.kastenas Some people cannot appreciate modern interpretation and inspiration. The model and the paint job is amazing. Warmest regards from Norway and Lithuania

arunas.jonas.kastenas I am surprised about all the haters here spreading their poison. It's a nice hairdress and a gorgeous stunning woman. Just appreciate the art as it is and be grateful to the fact that native American culture has an infinite capacity for interpretation. I am following the magazine just because of this culture.

bobiwash@arunas.jonas.kastenas There in lies the problem. Your interpretation and understanding. Native Americans are actual people and you are viewing them simply as art. Being a foreigner to Native American people you are really just part of the problem, you see them as story and part of history, as if they don't exist today. But we do. And images like this, hide behind the label of art and are cowardly and unimaginative. Art is a form of communication, so please tell me what this is supposed to be communicating? There is no hate, most people are merely trying to spread understanding.

arunas.jonas.kastenas@bobiwash greetings thanks for a comment. I am well aware about the problematic history of native Americans. There was indeed a time when colonists came and took their land. Even now native Americans make up just a fraction of population. I see your point however you also have a problem here. You view this picture with a sense of guilt, a sense of shame with your frame of references. I don't understand why all people should adapt your way of thinking? Why cannot there be a few ways of looking at this? I like seeing beautiful women. I like native American elements. And like I mentioned before - art is always remained history and culture. So my advice to you is to perhaps adopt a different view, stop trying to push your understanding of situation and understand that some fans of the magazine are actually taking pictures as a form of art not more not less with their own interpretation. Also just to calm you down, a chill pill if you will. After viewing this picture for the firtst time I got the spark to read more about native Americans. Please remember that the art can and will shock people sometimes. However even if you don't see it this way it actually facilitating authentic native American culture abroad. However to putt all the intellectual stuff. I just love the curves of miss Flowerbomb also. She's an amazing model regardless what she is wearing (or not) haha. Greetings from the North of Europe, AJ

bobiwash@arunas.jonas.kasatenas That's great that you know your history of colonization, but you do realize Native American's still exist as a people and have to deal with the repercussions of that historic treatment. I hardly see this photo as guilt or shame, and would love to know how I see it that way. I see this image as a sexualization of native american women and a photographer and stylist that are hiding behind the concept of art to show nipple. And if you want to say it's art, then a pretentious interpretation of it would be a non-native woman with too much bronzer, that is supposed to be depicting the struggle of being oppressed in their own land, being bound by the white colonizers. Instead of what it truly is; unimaginative pervs seeing how they can use a headdress in a photo in a way to get views. Here we are in 2018; have you been living under a rock to know that you're about to upset people. Yeah, lot's of respect there. There can be a few ways at looking at this photo, but don't kid yourself that you are respecting Native Americans by liking and posting it. It's more of a perverse fetish of oppression more than anything. And maybe you should step back from telling anyone to take a chill pill. There was nothing aggressive in my last post to warrant that comment. Maybe you're sensing your own ignorant guilt there. And No. Please No. The fact that you say this is facilitating "authentic" Native American culture abroad make me more afraid of anything now. That is why people are commenting on it. The fact that you think that should affect how @volomagazine and any other stylist or photographer that insists on depicting my people like this is an injustice and filled with white guilt. Please tell me from all your "research" how does this image stack up to history? It is an outdated, romaticized and kinda racist view of Native American women. Thanks for being enlightened!

This was the end of our conversation.  I'm still waiting for a reply.  Once you engage with people their opinions only go so far.  But I hoped it helped a little. 

Keep fighting the good fight!