Female body hair has sparked several heated debates on social media for several years. It may be 2019, but a Nike advert has proven that it will probably take a long time before people accept that hair is a natural part of women’s bodies.
Nike recently posted an ad which shows the model, Annahstasia Enuke, with her arm over her head, exposing her armpit hair. This campaign put the sportswear brand in the critics’ bullseye.
The Nigerian American singer has previously shown off her armpit hair on her Instagram page, encouraging girls to be proud of their natural look despite the negative comments that they might receive.
"Thank you Nike for your support of being natural," an Instagram user commented.
In the photo, Annahstasia poses wearing a sports bra and silver jewelry, with the caption reading "big mood."
The post has received more than 172,000 likes and a number of reposts by Nike’s Instagram followers. Even though the campaign has been labeled as phenomenal, the post has also provoked outrage, with some users labeling it as “disgusting.”
This isn’t the first time armpit hair has caused controversy on social media. A few weeks ago Gillette copped a wave of negative reactions from its Instagram followers for showing a woman shaving her arms.
Gillette’s advert was accused of indicating that women are supposed to remove hair from that part of their body. Now, with Nike’s post, the internet has been divided into two groups: those who support female body hair and those who don’t.
The photo was branded as beautiful and a good sign that Nike was heading in the right direction, with a follower commenting, "This photo is beautiful on so many levels, love the bra and the model's confidence."
However, it was also considered “horrible.” Nike’s photo was quickly criticized by users telling Enuke to “shave.” One user commented, "Horrible PR move. Less than one percent of your female target market doesn't shave. Wtf is going on?"
Another angry user remarked "This is not freedom, this is not a type of 'I love my body', this is bull****, shave that s***."
Nike has also been accused of using these types of images in their marketing campaigns to attract attention. According to users, the model and the sports brand should be praised for its brave and encouraging adverts. Another user added, "Stop degrading her just because she has body hair! You don't say the same about men with armpit hair. Her body, her choice."
Another user remarked, “I'm so embarrassed at the fact that most of the negative comments I see are from other women, if it's your personal choice to shave, that's okay. Stop f***ing shaming others, this doesn't make anyone disgusting or less of a woman because you are hairy.”
"I saw many people say to stop trying to make this a 'thing,' that's not the point. The point is having a choice and how it isn't a bad thing if you choose not to shave," another person wrote.