Adidas face backlash for lack of diversity in 'body positive' campaign

Four women headed up the campaign (Picture: Adidas)

This week, Adidas released a series of photographs as part of their SH3-ro swimsuit range launch, with the campaign titled My Body My Swim.

The shoot included presenter Maya Jama, activist Nadya Okamato, influencer Chessie King, and model Jada Sezer, with each woman sharing their stories of learning to love swimming and their bodies.

The tagline ’embrace and befriend your body’ was used as part of the campaign, as well as ‘How a shift for brands and social media helps accepting every body’.

And it appears that this body positive messaging has caused a backlash, with many people questioning whether the right models were chosen for a campaign supposed to be about celebrating a variety of body types.

After Maya Jama tweeted a link to the shoot photos, comments began to pour in from people who disagreed with Adidas’ choice.

‘I love you for pushing this message,’ said one. ‘But for lots of us it would be more effective if models of all shapes & sizes, with visible & invisible disabilities & those with scarred bodies were used along with those who most would consider to be beautiful with a great body.’

Journalist Moya Lothian-McLean also wrote: ‘Maya Jama’s body type is literally held up as the ‘ideal’ of the late 2010s/early 2020s. I know she definitely means well but Adidas should have thought twice before making her front the campaign, rather than just being a part of it.’


Many others echoed the statement that, although the models themselves could not be held accountable for Adidas’ branding decisions, they felt it was somewhat tone-deaf not to include a much wider range of bodies.

The body positive movement began alongside the fat acceptance movement, to highlight discrimination against people with larger bodies and end fat shaming.

While body positivity refers to loving your body at any size and shape, erasing fat bodies from the movement that was designed specifically for them is a controversial move.

Some feel that using ‘conventionally attractive’ people to sell products under the guise of body positivity defeats the point of the cause.

Others also pointed out that there were limited styles of swimwear available over an XL on the Adidas site.

We have contacted Adidas and Maya Jama’s reps for comment and will update this piece with their response.

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