Since 2010, the British fashion magazine Love has offered up a parade of naked or semi-naked women as Christmas treats in its annual video advent calendar.
But this year, along with the usual eye candy and tabloid fodder (think clickbait headlines like “Emily Ratajkowski writhes around in spaghetti for LOVE”), Love Advent has generated a modest storm of debate by showing models working out in lingerie in the name of women’s empowerment.
Directed by Phil Poynter, the 2017 calendar features Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Kendall Jenner, and other top models and It girls lifting weights, shadowboxing, and doing karate kicks in various states of undress.
We’ve watched Ashley Graham slap her ass with talcum-powdered hands while pulling a sled in spandex and a sports bra. We’ve ogled Kate Upton’s pendulous breasts as she reached for a drop shot during tennis practice. We’ve seen Doutzen Kroes’ bare bum jiggle in slow-moduring a round of jump rope, and we’ve zoomed in on Hailey Baldwin’s crotch as she did leg lifts in a lace thong.
Every video shows fierce female faces and greased up flesh (taut abs, swaying cleavage, bouncing bums), and each one ends with its model-of-the-day looking into the camera and reciting the words “stay strong.”
This is certainly an admirable concept, but its execution is slightly confused, like a series of porny Nike Ads. Is the calendar showing female empowerment? Or is it female objectification prettily packaged in the language of empowerment?
“I feel like it is empowering women to be sexy and be who they are, for just themselves, no one else,” says Taylor Hill on the 10th day of Christmas, doing mid-air splits in a thong and corset. “I love exercising in lingerie,” says Hailey Baldwin on Day 13. “I mean, who doesnt?