Arvida Byström on Beauty

With a penchant for pastels, the Swedish-born ‘bubblegum feminist’ may seem to endorse the female stereotype of all things pink and pretty.


However Byström juxtaposes this conventional idea of femininity with unkempt hair, natural bodies, awkward poses and a celebration of female masturbation.arvida2.png

Through this dichotomy of pink fluff and coarse armpit hair, Byström re-interprets a feminine beauty that is based on naturalness and empowerment.

The artist celebrates the fact that ‘nine times out of ten’ our bodies are awkward and do not look conventionally beautiful.

Unfortunately these pictures (including above) are frequently taken down, as they ‘offend’ other Instagram users by contradicting the female censorship policy.

Byström participates in the rare circulation of images of real women. She promotes self-love instead of impossible beauty ideals, which are so prevalent within Instagram culture.

Her ‘Lonely SS16’ campaign with Paloma Elsesser embodied this ethos, as they focused on lingerie that was both comfortable and attractive, and which was crafted for ‘women who wear lingerie as a love letter to themselves’.



As opposed to the ‘conventionally beautiful’ advertising campaigns that endorse the male gaze, the photographs for ‘Lonely’ were honest, natural and based on true friendship. The campaign helped to obliterate pre-conceived ideas concerning conventional beauty and was instead as Elsesser articulated: ‘Femininity captured in a way that is not only modern but also timeless’.


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