Sometimes you don’t need to have had any particular experience to be a role model, you just have to be yourself to inspire other people. This is the case for our WCW this week, Arvida Byström, a 26-year-old Swedish girl who made the news — and made the whole internet talk — by posing for the Adidas campaign without shaving her legs. Here are 5 things you should know about her.
1. She is an all around artist
Arvida is a model, a writer, a photography lover and a musician. Some of her photos were published in editorials in the international press, and she also worked on books that are iconic for all non-conformist fashion lovers. The most remarkable include Babe, a photography collection Arvida curated with Petra Collins, and most of all Pics or It Didn’t Happen: Images Banned From Instagram, a book which collects Arvida’s selection of provocative images that were censored by Instagram.
2. She is obsessed by fruit — and not just as food…
We all realized Arvida is less than ordinary, that was clear enough, but her obsession for fruit sounds funny to us and makes us admire her at the same time. Byström uses fruit, especially peaches and cherries, for her art… For instance, she loves dressing fruit in lingerie; she even was in a live video once in which she braided cherry stalks together just by using her tongue. Some might think she’s just crazy, we think she’s an artist!
3. Activist 2.0
It’s pretty important to remember one thing when it comes to Arvida: never, ever doubt her feminism! Her extremist ideological position sometimes earned her lots of criticism. Arvida participated in multiple peculiar, unusual projects and initiatives before, but perhaps the most relevant in this regard is a piece of performance art about monogamy, in which she videoed herself having sex on video with one of her colleagues… Byström definitely walks her talk!
4. Anyone can be feminine
Arvida really, really likes being clear, so much so that she took her attitude into the Adidas campaign that featured her, and that literally inflamed the web. So, what was everyone talking about, then? About how Arvida had her photos taken without waxing her legs or her armpits. The young artist did that in order to reaffirm her freedom not to follow the beauty standards society imposes on women: as Arvida pointed out, “anyone can be feminine”, an idea that also takes in gender politics. And let’s all give Adidas a hand, for enthusiastically supporting Arvida in all this!
5. Cyber bullying is a true evil
It’s quite clear that the aim of a video like the one shot by Adidas was to start a discussion, but the hate speech it triggered reached truly worrying levels. Arvida even received death threats, which is obviously unacceptable. While some people were fascinated by this new way of communicating, other people online reacted quite violently and offensively. Luckily, Arvida is a very strong woman as well as an artist, and she didn’t let any of this get to her. We are against all kinds of bullying, and we picked her as our WCW to show her that we are with her!