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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 22 January, 2018
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This artist says she received death threats for having hairy legs in an Adidas ad

Are we really still having this conversation?

LAST MONTH, ADIDAS enlisted a diverse range of artists, activists and musicians to model the brand’s Superstar trainers.

arvida Source: Instagram/adidasoriginals

One of the models was Swedish photographer Arvida Bystrom. In her work, Bystrom questions and subverts the concept of femininity, regularly posing with her cellulite and body hair on show.

In this clip from the campaign she talks about what femininity means to her in 2017, displaying her hairy legs proudly:

I think femininity is usually created from our culture, so I think everyone can do feminine things, can be feminine. I feel like in today’s society we’re very scared of that.
Source: adidas Originals/YouTube

The whole point of casting Bystrom in the campaign was to “question femininity and gender standards” – Adidas said as much in the caption of the photo – and her photos immediately generated a heated debate on women’s body hair.

However, Bystrom revealed on Instagram that some people were going so far as to send her rape and death threats:

Mine being an abled, white, cis body with its only non-conforming feature being a little leg hair, I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to not possess all these privileges and try to exist in the world.

“I’ve been getting rape threats in my DM inbox,” she wrote. “Sending love and try to remember that not everybody has the same experiences being a person.”

Adidas told Refinery29 that they stand by casting Bystrom, saying they were “honoured” to work with her because of her “creativity, diversity, and unique ideas”.

And everyone else can get themselves a hefty dose of cop on. Whether a person wants to be completely bald or full Cousin It, it’s their own business. C’mon now.

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