A Swedish model said she received rape threats after a photo of hers with unshaven legs appeared on social media for an ad.
Twenty-six-year-old Arvida Byström wrote in an Instagram post on September 25 that she became a target of “nasty comments” and rape threats after an Adidas advertisement which she had modeled for was released.
Pakistan’s first transgender model is back spreading awareness with ‘Rani’
“Literally I’ve been getting rape threats in my DM inbox. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to not possess all these privileges and try to exist in the world,” she captioned a post liked by over 21,000 Instagram users.
“I think femininity is created by our culture. I feel like everyone can do feminine things, be feminine,” says Byström says in the ad that has been watched more than 500k times on YouTube.
The Swedish model was abused by some users, who called the ad ‘disgusting’, and labeled Byström a “feminist scum” and “hairy woman”.
On the other hand, many users defended the model’s right to choose, saying that a woman has the sole right to decide how she wants to look. Some said body hair was natural to women who do not necessarily have to conform to societal standards of grooming.
“This is what a woman looks like in her natural state. Societal standards have warped what is conceived as normal for a while now,” said a user Andy D.
Adidas said in a statement that it is “honoured to work with creators like Arvida for their creativity, diversity and unique ideas”, adding that it wants to provide “a platform for positivity, discussion and change”, reported the BBC.
British model kidnapped for sex trade
Byström, who is also a photographer and an artist, often posts photos challenging the accepted ideas of body image. She and artist Molly Soda had worked together on a book ‘Pics or It Didn’t Happen’ which highlighted bodies of 270 women. The book was banned on Instagram for violating its community rules, said The Guardian. Byström was also a part of Vice series in 2012 – called ‘There will be Blood’ – that presented photographs women during their menstrual cycles.
This article originally appeared on the Hindustan Times.