The mixed reaction to model Annahstasia Enuke’s armpit hair proves just how important a decision it was for Nike to use her in their newest campaign.
Earlier this year, Serena Williams turned Nike’s marketing into a mission statement against the sexism and racism she’s faced as a female sports champion. Now, it looks like the sports brand is taking another powerful stance with its advertising - this time, it’s all about body hair.
Music artist and model Annahstasia Enuke cuts a striking pose in the latest ad, which was aptly captioned “Big mood” on the Nike Instagram post on Thursday (26 April). In fact, the shot is so strong that it caused a huge stir on social media within hours of being uploaded.
But it’s not because Nigerian-American Enuke looks so damn cool and confident while rocking a sports bra. Instead, people are focusing on her armpit hair in the photo - and, sadly, it’s not all positive. Many described the photo as “disgusting” soon after the post went live, while others hailed it as “beautiful”.
“It’s an active human body,” one person wrote. “Let her be. It’s nature, what’s the problem? Your hair opinions. Having body hair isn’t a problem, it’s sad your standards are that high for people who don’t even know you exist.”
“It’s not about if you personally shave or not. It’s about accepting everyone whether they do something cosmetic or not,” added another Instagram user. “It’s a deeper picture than ‘she should shave’. It’s the exact point Nike made by putting it up. I’m sure their PR people are looking at all of these comments and proving the very point they wanted to make… that society is unaccepting of differences/preferences/lifestyles.”
And one person quite rightly pointed out: “Some of y’all armpits aren’t even shaved right now, so hush.”
Although Nike’s decision to join the pro-body hair movement can only be a very good thing, this mixed response that the ad has already received highlights how far society still has to go when it comes to accepting natural body hair.
It sounds so simple, right?! And yet here we are. But along with fellow female figures such as Rihanna and Janelle Monáe, Enuke is helping to break the taboo around body hair. She has since spoken out about the advertisement, writing in an Instagram comment: “Props to the amazing @nikewomen team for not editing out my body hair.”