Adidas has started a new campaign that centers around authenticity. Their “Icons of Tomorrow” promote the brand, and these are the people who are “using their creativity to motivate a better tomorrow.” Among these icons who promote diversity is a Swedish photographer Arvida Byström, who caused a lot of stir because of, believe it or not – hairy legs.
After releasing her photo for the Adidas campaign, she received plenty of negative comments because of the unshaved legs. But it doesn’t end here, and she claims she even received rape threats.
Arvida Byström is a 25-year-old Swedish photographer, model and artist. In her work, she fights gender roles and tries to break the shackles of femininity. She plays with “girly” aesthetic, and her work takes part in reinventing body norms self-empowerment.
By her own choice, Arvida doesn’t shave her body hair. So, when she was selected to pose for the Adidas campaign, she posed with her hairy, all natural legs, which caused a flood of negative comments. French website MadmoiZelle gathered a collection of the insults Arvida received:
- Go and shave.
- Dégueulasse, cleanly disgusting.
- If she shaved her legs, yeah, I’d just kiss her.
- Well now, surely, I will never wear Adidas.
- Close your mouth, dirty feminist imbecile, it’s ugly sh*t.
On her Instagram profile, she shares that she even received rape threats in her inbox. That’s right, rape threats because of some leg hairs:
“My photo from the @adidasoriginals superstar campaign got a lot of nasty comments last week. Me being such an abled, white, cis body with its only nonconforming feature being a lil leg hair. Literally I’ve been getting rape threats in my DM inbox. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to not posses all these privileges and try to exist in the world. Sending love and try to remember that not everybody has the same experiences being a person.”
Of course, not everyone is that bitter over a bit of someone else’s leg hairs. She says she’s also received lots of positive feedback. But, getting a rape threat just because you don’t shave your legs, that’s just… disturbing.
It’s 2017, and I can’t believe we’re even still discussing things like this. I like the comment of a woman who writes: “I heard she received rape threats… for hairs!!? Men are free to choose, why not women?” I mean, really, if guys can choose to be hairy, why shouldn’t ladies choose, too? Shaving, waxing or letting your body hairs grow is a matter of everyone’s personal preference, no matter which gender you are. It shouldn’t even be a matter of discussion.
Anyway, while I’m on Arvida’s side, I wouldn’t call her “brave.” At least not for growing and showing off hairs. But, it is brave to stay true to your own choices in the world where you receive rape threats over them. And I hope people will come to their senses at some point in the future and stop being so bitter, creepy and even dangerous in their comments.