Bugaboo got more than it bargained for when Dutch model Ymre Stiekema took part in a photoshoot for the iconic pram brand. The Amsterdam-based stroller company posted a picture to its Instagram and Facebook pages of Stiekema, 23, jogging while pushing her two-year-old daughter in a Bugaboo Runner.
That might not seem anything unusual, but it was Stiekama’s outfit for the Vogue Netherlands shoot that raised eyebrows.
While models and bikinis usually go hand in hand, in this context it divided opinion. Bugaboo’s post attracted a flood of comments, with some saying it was an inaccurate portrayal of new mums. “Who runs like this? Seriously? Totally unrealistic,” says one comment on the Instagram post. “I’ve been running all wrong this whole time. Need a baby, stroller and bikini ASAP,” says another. The debate spilled into mainstream media too. “Nobody actually runs in a bikini while pushing a pram – stop selling this is as a normal aspiration,” writes Olivia Marks in The Guardian.
But there were also plenty who loved the picture. “We should be celebrating healthy living and being positive to all women! Love that she’s doing this … would I? Probably not, but she looks fab and I say more power to her!” says one comment on the Instagram post. And another: “I think seeing fit people in ads is inspirational, especially mums. There are some people who look fit after having babies, so why is it such a crime to be inspired by them?”
And in Fortune, Jennifer Siebel Newsom writes: “Good for her. She looks fit to me, not overly thin or sexualised. And while I agree, the media too often portrays women as valuable merely for their youth, beauty, and sexuality, here I find an active mom who’s trying to be healthy. There’s no ‘right’ way to portray a strong woman, after all, and there’s no single woman who can represent all of us.”
In a statement released to Today, Bugaboo says it designed the Runner jogging extension “with active parents in mind”. “We want to inspire mums and dads everywhere to explore the world with their families, while keeping up with an active and healthy lifestyle. In addition to Ymre Stiekema — a mum who enjoys running and happens to be a model — our marketing initiatives feature parents who love running, including our own staff at Bugaboo, providing their experiences with their children and the Bugaboo Runner. We believe that all parents should run free no matter where they are on their fitness journeys and what they choose to wear on their runs.”