Arvida Byström is a Swedish model and photographer who, after being featured in an Adidas Originals campaign, has garnered some horrible responses about femininity and leg hair. Arvida doesn’t shave her legs, big freakin’ deal, but when the photo above was posted to the brand’s official Instagram account, the hateful, misogynistic comments calling her “disgusting” and more started pouring in.
The model has now spoken out on the shocking comments she’s received from the photo shoot, and it’s an uplifting message that will encourage anyone to keep doing them and silence the haters.
“My photo from the @adidasoriginals superstar campaign got a lot of nasty comments last week,” Arvida captioned the photo on her feed. “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.”
She added, “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.”
While Arvida acknowledged the importance of individuality, she said that we need to lift people up for their differences, not bring them down. Behind all the hate, there was a rainbow of support, with over 4,000 comments on her photo, praising her natural, unshaven body hair.
One person wrote, “I saw the hair and I thought, you mean I don’t have to wear pants or leggings to cover mine up!? Love this so much. As a mother I think I’ve had time to shave 2x this summer. You go girl. Make it normal – because it IS normal.” With another adding, “I am so grateful you have posted this. Thank you. Leg hair is warm and winter is coming.”
Adidas introduced us to Arvida as being “known for her photography, which questions femininity and gender standards using so-called ‘girly’ aesthetics,” and she’s doing exactly that by opening up the conversation about women and body hair.