'Here for it': Gymshark's 'inclusive' post sparks huge response

Kristine Tarbert
·Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

Popular fitness brand Gymshark has sparked a major response online after sharing what most people have described as a “beautiful” and “inclusive” post.

The image, posted on the brand’s Gymshark Women Instagram account, features UK model Aaliyah proudly flaunting her armpit hair, while modelling yellow and green crop tops.

Model Aaliyah posing in an orange crop top with underarm armpit hair
UK model Aaliyah proudly flaunting her armpit hair. Photo: Instagram/gymsharkwomen

The brand has been using 2020 to rethink its image, focusing on more diverse models and ambassadors, and followers are clearly loving the shift.

“Yes I am here for this representation Gymshark,” one fan gushed.

“Normalise normal bodies!” another praised, adding, “Living for this energy. Thank you for making a safe space.”

“I love this honestly, this is the last thing I expected to see a gym clothing company post, but it’s so beautiful,” was another positive response.

While a man said his girlfriend doesn’t shave and he was so glad the brand was being so “encouraging”. He said: “Here is to inclusivity!!!”

Gymshark model putting her arms up showing armpit hair
She was modelling a yellow and green crop top. Photo: Instagram/gymsharkwomen

Sadly, the post also got plenty of negative reactions from people not keen on the brand’s shift in direction.

“This isn’t fitness,” one follower wrote.

“What happened to you Gymshark?” another asked.

While others didn’t seem to understand what armpit hair had to do with ‘body positivity’.

“I’m all for body positivity however underarm hair is not a great look even from a women’s perspective so I dread to think what a man’s view is. This is body positivity a bit too far... yuk!!” was one angered response.

While another said: “But like, shaving your armpit hair is just bout being clean, it doesn’t really have anything to do with ‘body positivity’.”

Insert eye roll here.

The brand was quick to reply to the backlash, telling followers they were “extremely happy to be able to use our platform in a positive way”.

“We will be featuring a lot more body positivity from now on,” the brand wrote, adding “Fitness comes in all forms and we’re pleased to be able to feature diverse models on our feed” in another response.

And plenty of Gymshark’s other followers also defended the image.

“Why are so many people getting mad about a girl having normal body hair?” one person asked.

In response to the comment “I mean it’s pretty gross but hey”, another asked “if a man was doing the same pose would you think his body hair was gross?”

She said: “My point is, if a man was to be in the same position, with all his body hair showing, that would be considered normal and not gross and all, buuut when a woman is in this position it is automatically gross? Why is there a double standard and a stigma against woman having body hair even though it’s natural and normal and we have just all been conditioned to think otherwise?”

People arguing about women's armpit hair in Instagram messages
Fans were divided over the photo. Photo: Instagram/aaliyah

Aaliyah also took to her own Instagram stories to share some of the responses she had gotten for the photo - with plenty of her followers also speaking out.

“I love y’all, thanks for being you, We shine together,” she wrote.

Aaliyah has been open about her mixed race background online, also taking part in the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK earlier this year.

“I’m so proud to be mixed,” she wrote. “I’m so proud to be from Manchester. And I’m so proud for letting go of my fear. We NEED change. I pray everything everyone is doing right now makes a HUGE difference.”

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