Moana Bikini is facing a backlash after using a man to model and promote a racy women’s swimsuit.
The company, owned by Australian “body positive influencer” Karina Irby, posted on its Instagram account a video of male model Jake Young wearing a very revealing “SUGAR SLINKY” one-piece, the New York Post reported. The brand markets itself as “swimwear designed for every BODY!”
Social media users commented on the post and said they were done being customers after seeing the ad.
“Is that a man? I thought you were about empowering women?” one account posted. “Men seem to be trying to take over everything women hold sacred. Our safe spaces, our identity and now our fashion.”
“I’m sorry you support whatever you like but I don’t agree with men in women’s swimsuits and trying to market it towards women,” the account added. “I’ve been a loyal customer for ten years but I’m done.”
Another said, “Sorry but Moana, this is not how you empower women. This is once again giving men the power over us and saying they do it better.”
While a third wrote, “Real women will soon be irrelevant and real women will have to compete with trans in sports, modeling, careers against trans just because businesses need to tick the box to stay ‘relevant’ these ladies on here are too blind to see what damage it will be for them and the future. It’s already started.”
A spokesperson for the company hit back at what they called the “absurd” criticism and told the Daily Mail: “Moana Bikini are — and have always been — one of the most inclusive and empowering brands in existence.”
“This is not only in terms of our size and style range for women, but — most importantly — in our love and acceptance of all races, ethnicities, body shapes and sizes, genders and sexual orientations,” the spokesperson said. “This hasn’t changed and never will change.”
“Many commenters are using the excuse that they believe it is ‘insulting to women’ when in reality, it’s quite clear they are homophobic and have an issue with someone expressing their sexuality proudly and confidently,” the spokesperson added.
“Imagine living a life where you choose to be offended by something and stick around, comment and engage only to make yourself more and more angry,” the spokesperson continued. “This sounds like a ‘them’ problem, not an ‘us’ problem to be honest.”