The latest campaign for Birkenstock—in collaboration with The New York Times’ T Brand Studios—is taking cues it appears from Adidas’ recent campaign when it comes to baring skin and highlighting body diversity.
Only, of course, instead of an array of bare breasts to sell sports bras, Birkenstock is showing us feet. Called “Ugly For A Reason,” Birkenstock’s campaign includes a three-part documentary, How Feet Made Us Human, on the NY Times site as well as their own which explores the evolution of our feet and how they are frequently put to the test through dancing, running and more.
With the goal to highlight the importance of foot care and how the over two-centuries-old footwear brand has made it the heart of its mission to do that, the campaign seems to be part of a larger trend of shedding light on body parts that are frequently hidden and have, for some reason, carried the weight of a culture of shame.
The response for Adidas’ “Support Is Everything” campaign has been especially polarizing, with many users taking offense to the images of breasts and causing quite a stir in the comment section.
“So what’s next? Butts need support too! Men’s testicles don’t all hang the same way as well! Adidas bares all!” reads one reaction to the campaign, while a majority of the comments centered around the double standard of why its taboo to see breasts of one gender but not the other, or why Adidas still had to blur out nipples to meet Instagram’s community guidelines.
Are feet just as taboo? They are certainly not used to being in the limelight but (so far) not subject to the whims of Instagram censorship. But unpacking the so-called “ugliness” of the nature of our bodies is certainly a step forward.