Since 2011, LOVE magazine has released 24 videos in December for its infamous advent calendar.
Each video features a well-known model or celebrity modelling fairly skimpy underwear, counting down the days until Christmas. 84 million people watched last year’s series inspired by iconic scenes from film history.
While many of the famous faces proclaim that it’s all in the name of feminism, plenty of critics have said that the calendar does nothing more then satisfy men across the world.
But this year looked set to be different.
With the theme of #StayStrong, editor-in-chief Katie Grand wanted to promote the strength of women in all its guises. So far, so good.
But as the videos have emerged, the series doesn’t seem all that different from years gone by.
The first video starred the aforementioned Graham pulling a sled in underwear.
The second day was just as dubious. Correct us if we’re wrong but Emily Ratajkowski writhing around on a table covered in spaghetti doesn’t spell ‘strength’.
It’s a similarly sexy story for former Victoria’s Secret Angel Doutzen Kroes, who is filmed working out in a swimsuit, and Barbara Palvin, dancing her way around a pole. Granted the sports element is there but do we really need to depict women in their underwear to make a feminist point?
A couple of the videos have their redeeming qualities. Kendall Jenner appears in a simple grey tracksuit that would be worn by any woman to the gym. Gigi Hadid also wears a gym-appropriate look and even sports armpit hair in a real middle finger to the patriarchy.
While there’s a point to be made about women having the rightful choice to pose in lingerie, Victoria’s Secret veteran Adriana Lima appears to agree with the outdated nature of the calendar.
On Sunday, she posted a cryptic message on Instagram, proclaiming: “I will not take off my clothes anymore for an empty cause.”
“I had received a call for the possibility of filming a sexy video of me to be posted and shared in social media,” the post began. “Even though I have done many of this type, something had changed in me, when a friend approached me to share that she was unhappy with her body, then it made me think… that everyday in my life, I wake up thinking, how do I look? Was I going to be accepted in my job?”
“And in that moment I realised that [the] majority of woman probably wake up every morning trying to fit in a stereotype that society/social media/fashion etc. imposed. I thought that’s not a way of living and beyond that… that’s not physically and mentally healthy, so I decided to make that change.”
We can’t be sure but it appears that Lima is seriously criticising LOVE’s message. The 36-year-old hasn’t appeared in the advent calendar since 2015. Although this year, she did agree to appear in the publication’s Easter equivalent, posing both in underwear and naked in the shower while eating an Easter egg.
Public opinion is firmly divided. While some think the calendar celebrates women in all their glory, (“Honestly, I’m loving them all so far. All women are beautiful and these shoots look like a lot of fun and I know how proud these women are,” tweeted one woman) others are a little unsure.
“Did I miss the memo on how spreading my butt cheeks at a camera empowers me though? Do explain,” said a Twitter user.
“Why do women need to be reminded to #StayStrong especially in today’s climate by being half naked, posing pornographically & suggestively eating food?” commented another.
So what do you think? Should LOVE overhaul its advent calendar image? Or is a display of the same thin, white bodies in lingerie a valid way to show womanhood in 2017?
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