Intro to Fashion Studies: Gender in Advertising

This Adidas campaign (2017) features Swedish model, Arvida Byström, advertising Adidas shoes with hairy legs. She received many hate comments, and even rape threats, about her idea to challenge the traditional beauty standards a woman has to have. I believe that in this advert, there are only very small gender barriers present. For example, the fact that she is wearing a floral dress, the pink t-shirt underneath that, and perhaps her blonde bob-cut hairstyle. However, it is evident that this photograph is emphasising how there are very few to no barriers at all between male and female. Firstly, and most importantly, we are able to see that her legs have hair on them. In the world we live in, it is expected that women remove their hair, and therefore this goes against the traditional expectations of a woman. It is clear that those behind this ad, including the model, choose to reinforce their beliefs on gender norms. And they have been loud in showing that based on the way the model is styled, and dressed. Secondly, the way she is posed is significant in subverting gender norms. Additionally, the photograph was taken directly in front of her open legs, with a small piece of her dress covering.  It is often looked down upon when a woman has her legs wide open. It could be seen as provocative or promiscuous, because of the way that society views women. Perhaps it is because these traditional opinions have been present for so long, that some begin to notice its flaws? Kaiser states that “the concept of habitus reminds us that it is not just one wears that matters, but also how one styles, fashions, or dresses the body.” (page 31, paragraph 3) and I believe there is no statement good enough to describe this advertisement, and its views on traditional gender norms.

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