A popular bikini brand based in Australia is facing backlash on social media after it used a male model to show off one of its latest swimwear designs. According to the New York Post, Moana Bikini, owned by Australian body-positivity influencer Karina Irby, shared a video on its official Instagram page on January 20 of a male model posing in a white one-piece swimsuit worth $130. “OBSESSED WITH THIS LOOK,” the company captioned the video, featuring Jake Young modeling a size small bathing suit.
As soon as the video was shared, people flocked to the comment section to criticise the portrayal, with many saying that would no longer be supporting the brand. Many questioned the brand’s commitment to women and said they would be unfollowing the page. Outraged users also accused the brand of ”allowing men to encroach on women’s spaces” and called it ”insulting to women.”
Bikini Brand Under Fire
”Men seem to be trying to take over everything women hold sacred. Our safe spaces, our identity, and now our fashion,” one user wrote. Another commented, ”Horrible marketing. Why is it [that] everyone is trying so hard to be ‘woke’? The model is gorgeous, but this is not it.”
A third added, ”Sorry but Moana, this is not how you empower women. This is once again giving men the power over us and saying they do it better.”
Responding to the outrage, brand owner Karina Irby hit back with a strong-worded response. ”Moana has been empowering ALL bodies since 2011. This video really should [sic] shock you at all. If you have to announce your ‘anger’ I strongly urge you to listen too – “YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN” by Taylor Swift, as I believe it was written for you,” she wrote in the comment section.
The model who featured in the video also defended the promotional video and said, ”There are many different types of women. Women with different anatomy to what you consider ‘normal.’ I am not a woman nor have I ever claimed to be. This post is simply empowering a minority and I’m forever grateful for that. Your hate is a reflection of your own insecurities, not mine.”
The company touts its brand as being “at the forefront of a positive movement of female empowerment and inclusivity, centred around the utilisation of Social Media as a positive force for change.”