Photographer, digital artist and model Arvida Byström stars in the latest adidas Originals campaign.
In it, her legs, brushed with the faintest of brown hairs, are shown to the camera for a few seconds, while Byström says in a voiceover: “I think femininity is usually created from our culture. So I think everybody can do feminine things, can be feminine. And I think in today's society, we're very scared of that.”
It's just this 15 second clip, according to Byström, that has led to a barrage of rape threats.
In an Instagram post she wrote: “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 possess 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.”
Twenty-six-year-old Byström has never been afraid of ruffling feathers when it comes to women's body image.
Earlier this year she released a book with artist Molly Soda, Pics or It Didn't Happen: Images Banned From Instagram. The book was made up of 270 pictures that violated Instagram's platform’s Community Guidelines – including Rupi Kaur's famous period blood image, and photographs from Petra Collins and Harley Weir.
A range of the banned images, including @c.har.lee by Lee Phillips (below), also tackled body hair.
The pair wanted to show the hypocrisy surrounding how women's bodies are policed and sexualised, with Soda telling Dazed: “As women, we grow up learning to be critical of our own bodies, as well as other women’s bodies – there is a great sense of shame embedded into all of it.”