Model and gender norms trailblazer Arvida Bystrom doesn’t care how you feel about her unshaven legs.
Swedish model and photographer Arvida Bystrom is not here for your rigid views on femininity. In an ad for Adidas Originals Superstar Bold Platform sneakers, the 26-year-old appeared with unshaven legs—and the Internet had a lot to say about it.
In the ad, Bystrom wears a pink velvet tee and a white lacy dress with her sneakers. Her leg hair is clearly visible as she says, “I think femininity is usually created from our culture. I think everyone can do feminine things, can be feminine. And I feel like in today’s society we’re very scared of that.”
Adidas Originals posted a photo from the video ad on Instagram, noting that Bystrom, who has 228,000 Instagram followers of her own, is “known for her photography, which questions femininity and gender standards using so-called ‘girly’ aesthetics.”
The comments on both the YouTube video ad and the Instagram post ranged from body-positive hell-yeahs to hateful remarks about Bystrom and anyone who supported her. Here's a sample:
“Ya’ll can not shave but then don’t complain when you are single at 30.”
“Women have beauty standards and for me it’s f***ing gross. So get over it, everyone is entitled to their opinion. When you post your f***ing image in social media prepare for backlash from people who don’t like this kind of thing. Stop trying to be a f***ing hero."
“What’s wrong with you girl???”
“That’s literally just lazy. It’s not attractive. And the fact that she’s not grooming herself is gross.”
Bystrom addressed the hate in her own Instagram response, noting that she’s even received rape threats via direct message since the ad made its debut.
“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,” she said in the caption. “Literally I’ve been getting rape threats in my DM inbox. I can’t even being 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 experience being a person. Also thanks for all the love. Got a lot of that too.”
Bystrom’s reply post has received tons of support, with 32,948 likes and comments commending her for owning her body and her choice not to shave. Kudos to Bystrom for showing that there isn’t one version of femininity.
Whether you choose to shave or not has no reflection on your beauty or your femininity—nor is it unhygienic, as some of the negative comments suggest. In fact, choosing not to remove body hair can be a healthy move. Really, it’s just a personal choice—and Bystrom makes that loud and clear in her powerful campaign shoot.