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.
❤2015-Watching my brave babies suffer in silence in order to support me in my journey has struck the deepest core of hopelessness inside of me, it is because of them that I continue to fight relentlessly……. I will not allow them to live a life of pain and suffering……. I will prevail and walk to the end of the earth to find a cure for them and millions of others debilitated by this invisible disease!!!! We all deserve to live a healthy life, don't you think? #LymeDiseaseAwareness #FightingTheInvisible #RealLifeProblems #SoulPower #WeMustFindACureAffordableForAll #RHOBH @bravotv @bravoandy @evolutionusa Link to MY BLOG on tonight's episode is in my bio-please check it out ?
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.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.