High-end stroller brand Bugaboo found itself in the midst of a heated controversy after its recent ad, starring model Ymre Stiekema, went viral on social media.
The advertisement promoting a new stroller designed for active lifestyles shows Stiekema jogging while pushing her child's carriage.
She's wearing a tiny black and white bikini, effectively drawing the focus to her impossibly toned, thin body.
The ad began to attract national attention after it was posted to Bugaboo's Facebook account on July 21.
Thousands of parents took to the social media platform to comment on the photo, with many arguing the image of a fit woman in a bikini promotes an unrealistic body standard for new mothers.
Twitter also exploded with commentary, most of it negative.
Following extensive social and news coverage, Bugaboo released a statement to TODAY addressing the controversy.
The statement reads,
We designed our Bugaboo Runner jogging extension with active parents in mind. We want to inspire moms and dads everywhere to explore the world with their families, while keeping up with an active and healthy lifestyle. In addition to Ymre Stiekema -- a mom who enjoys running and happens to be a model -- our marketing initiatives feature parents who love running, including our own staff at Bugaboo, providing their experiences with their children and the Bugaboo Runner. We believe that all parents should run free no matter where they are on their fitness journeys and what they choose to wear on their runs.
The brand's attempt to diffuse the outrage hasn't seemed particularly effective. Take a look at some of the reactions below.
A common sentiment seems to be the advertisement does not properly reflect what real mothers look like.
Im ashamed I have a @bugaboo after the photos of the running line . if the idea was to contribute to postpartum depression... you nailed — Marcia Juliá (@marciajupe) July 29, 2015
For others, the teeny bikini appears to be the most offensive aspect of the advertisement.
Dear @Bugaboo I was so inspired by your Runner ad I went for a jog in the wife's bikini. Can you spot the difference? pic.twitter.com/CF3IrHcVvD — Martin Daubney (@MartinDaubney) July 28, 2015
Are we offended by what she's (not) wearing or just jealous of what she can do or (not) wear? #mumontherun #bugaboo https://t.co/rSXmOfPGpz — Ineke Hoho (@inekehoho) July 30, 2015
A minority, however, actually defended the company.
@YahooStyleUK @Bugaboo She's dressed and she looks amazing as a fit mom why should she have to wear more clothes if she is comfortable. — Sam Gaulton (@SamanthaGaulton) July 28, 2015
For some, the double standard of praising curves but shaming thinness is the most problematic aspect.
So, the latest @Bugaboo ad - why does society come out in such support for curvier women used in ads & create backlash at a smaller lady? — Anya Wood PR (@WoodyWitters) July 28, 2015
It should be noted while Stiekema is a model, she is also a mother -- and to argue her body isn't representative of a real mother's body is to discount her as a mother.
Yes! Fit mom's do exist! Even @ 40 w/ a 2 yr old! Seriously, what's the big deal w/ the @Bugaboo Ad? It's inspiring! pic.twitter.com/RyySJJtFln — Lae Lae (@luv2run25) July 28, 2015
Sadly, the debate doesn't seem to be dying down -- yet.
meanwhile in advertising. Latest ad for #Bugaboo. My money is on it was a man who signed this off. pic.twitter.com/FirDDesdB8 — Nic Halley (@NicHalley) July 29, 2015
Which side are you on?
This #Bugaboo Ad is creating quite the commotion online - Personally I think it's amazing #fairplay pic.twitter.com/p7K4fXQvNc — Nessa Hurley (@NessaCotter) July 28, 2015