Bella Hadid must be on cloud nine right now.
The model and social media influencer has just been contracted to walk Victoria’s Secret prestigious and eagerly-anticipated fashion runway of the year, earning her wings and title of VS Angel.
The 20-year-old has also been dubbed one of the most exciting models of the moment, admired and championed by couture brands like Dior, Chanel, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs.
So, when she landed a new campaign with Nike, a classic 2016 shit-storm kicked in and internet bullies decided to take her down a peg or two.
Bella proudly shared a photo of the campaign emblazoned on a New York billboard, announcing her induction into the Nike family.
Commentators immediately reacted to the photograph, in which Bella posed on the street below, claiming her physique was not appropriate for the global sportswear brand’s image.
One woman wrote:
…how is she modelling Nike. She looks malnourished and unhealthy, skinny. Nike is about muscle and fitness, I just don’t see the correlation.
Another added, ‘Sport brands need to use an athletic bodied person to model. I’m not wearing Nike gear to get skinny, I’m wearing it to get in shape!’
One Instagram keyboard warrior even called Bella a skeleton, saying ‘This is just sad day for sport and sport companies.. skeleton representing sport… :(‘
One alleged fan of Bella said, ‘You lost so much weight, it’s crazy’, while another ordered Bella to eat, writing, ‘Go order something from McDonalds you seem starving badly’.
Actually, Bella suffers from chronic Lyme disease, a debilitating illness that causes patients’ weight to fluctuate.
For Bella, Lyme disease poses a lifelong battle that has stopped her completing her dream of becoming an Olympic show-jumper.
Arguably, she has shown great resilience to bounce back from that knock to become a highly successful model at just 20.
Although these comments are veiled in sanctimony, they undeniably boy shame Bella; a woman who is already under constant scrutiny for her body and physique from the vain industry in which she works, and doesn’t need it from nobodies swiping through reams of snaps on their iPhones, thank you very much.
Much of this hate is surely misdirected at Bella, who’s taking the hit for the fashion industry’s nepotistic tendency.
I’m sure many commentators are just sick of seeing the same – predominantly white, UK size 6 – bodies over and over. After all, Bella is the daughter of supermodel Yolanda Foster and sister of Gigi Hadid.
However, these gripes and body-shaming comments – wherever they come from – have to be taken up with the industry itself. Not the women doing their job.
Even then, if these protesters were to hop over to the Nike Women Instagram account, they would see a wealth of female athletic prowess on display, from the like of Serena Williams to Simone Biles by way of Elena Donne.
Frankly, the treatment of Bella Hadid – no matter how wealthy or beautiful or successful she may be – is tantamount to bullying.
Many women know how hurtful comments about appearance can be, so why female (or male, for that matter) Instagram body-shamers continue to perpetrate the objectification of women is beyond me.