After flaunting her unshaven legs in a new Adidas ad, you’d expect Swedish model Arvida Byström to get a few mixed reactions. But definitely not rape threats.
The 26-year-old recently did a campaign for the shoe brand’s new pair of trainers. Known for promoting body positivity by showing off her ‘imperfections’, Byström featured her hairy legs in the advert.
Shortly after the image was published, she got rape threats in her Instagram DMs. She responded by posting a new photo, along with a caption talking about privilege and love.
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 🌎 Also thanks for all the love 🌹got a lot of that too ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Thankfully, not everyone hated the ad. A lot even expressed their support for Byström.
“You should decide for yourself if you shave or not. Or what else to do with your body,” said one commenter, while another added: “As a human being, I’m male in case u can’t tell, I don’t see the problem w hairy legs. It’s there for a reason.”
Adidas also backed up Byström in a statement, saying that it’s “honoured to work with creators like Arvida for their creativity, diversity and unique ideas.”
Byström continually challenges the accepted conventions of body image. In the past, she and artist Molly Soda released a book – called Pics or It Didn’t Happen – which featured 270 photos of women’s bodies. It was taken down on Instagram for violating community rules.
She was also part of Vice’s 2012 series called There Will Be Blood, which photographed women during their periods.