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Aussie Brand “Bonds” Features Non-Binary Model In New Bikini Campaign, Is Rocked By Criticism
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Aussie Brand “Bonds” Features Non-Binary Model In New Bikini Campaign, Is Rocked By Criticism

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After an attempt at providing more visibility to marginalized communities, Aussie backlash ensued as a brand featured a bearded, non-binary model in a bikini, sparking boycott calls and a heated debate over inclusion and representation. The targeted model has since responded.                                      Bonds, recognized as an iconic Australian underwear brand, used non-binary model Mikey Sakinofsky to promote their new Pride 2024 collection.

Highlights
  • Australian brand Bonds faced backlash for featuring a non-binary model in its Pride 2024 collection.
  • The UnGENderwear Project by Bonds aims to strip back gender stereotypes.
  • Model Mikey Sakinofsky responded to the negative reactions, emphasizing gender diversity.

LGBTQIA2S (abbreviated LGBTQ+) Pride Month is a month, typically June, dedicated to the celebration and commemoration of people who identify in the community. Brands often do launches themed for the commemoration, often with rainbow products to represent the LGBTQ+ flag.

As a result, Bonds launched its UnGENderwear Project, dedicated to “stripping back the gender stereotypes.” The company’s official website states: “[We] left only the freedom for you to wear our pieces however feels right.”

“We’ve consulted with the community, our partners at Minus18, and our UnGENderwear advocates to carefully curate an assortment of products to inspire the way you shop & think about clothes.”

Aussie backlash ensued as Bonds featured a non-binary model in a bikini, sparking backlash, and the targeted model has since responded

Image credits: Bonds

“There’s room for everyone here, so go on and make yourself comfy.”

Amongst other products, Mikey was photographed advertising Bonds’ “Retro Rib™ Seamless Tonal Hi” bikini set in a lovely fuchsia pink color. 

Nevertheless, the collection featuring the non-binary model wasn’t up to everybody’s taste, as discriminatory remarks started to emerge on X (formerly known as Twitter).

A person wrote: “Just another company to never buy from again.”

Another X user commented: “Go woke, go broke, come on people!” According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, woke is a US slang word for a person who is aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).

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“I used to buy Bonds, [but] I will no longer do so, seeing a man wearing women’s garments is seriously off-putting,” another angered individual penned.

Bonds used non-binary model Mikey Sakinofsky to promote their new Pride 2024 collection

Image credits: Bonds

Bonds also took to its Instagram page last month to launch its new Pride campaign with a multitude of posts dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community, even encouraging customers to donate to charities helping the community.

Unfortunately, negative comments started to once again flood the social media page, as a person wrote: “I will never buy ‘bonds’ again! Bye bye!”

“Just another step in the wrong direction. Will never support again,” a separate individual chimed in.

But other people saw Bonds’ initiative as a great move, as someone commented: “Thank you Bonds for showing your support and the diversity of those of us who wear Bonds.”

Another commentator penned: “Thanks for celebrating diversity, Bonds.”

Bonds launched its UnGENderwear Project, dedicated to “stripping back the gender stereotypes”

Image credits: Bonds

Model Mikey, who has identified as a proud non-binary Jew on their Instagram page, has since responded to the adverse reactions in a video.

“Gender diversity doesn’t look the same. I like to say we [are] like shades of green […], they are infinite,” the model explained, arguing that previous media coverage of their bonds campaign “championed voices of ignorance and hate” instead of celebrating “love, kindness, and acceptance.”

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In an analogy, Mikey referred to gender diversity as shades of green because they are “infinite.” “I’m a shade often left out of mainstream media,” they explained. “And I’m a shade definitely not tolerated by the conservative lens,” they added.

A study suggests that people who identify within the LGBTQ+ community are still overwhelmingly underrepresented in mainstream media.

According to Nielsen’s “Being Seen on Screen: Diverse Representation & Inclusion on TV” report, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people make up an estimated 4.5 percent of the U.S. population, yet they were 6.7 percent of the top 10 recurring cast members in the top 300 programs on broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms in 2019.

The report also found that 26 percent of the top 300 programs included at least one cast member who identifies as LGBTQ+.

“Our UnGENderwear advocates to carefully curate an assortment of products to inspire the way you shop & think about clothes,” Bonds wrote

Image credits: Bonds

“I’m valid,” Mikey went on to exclaim in their video before explaining that they weren’t wearing “women’s clothes” but simply their clothes. As a non-binary person, the model uses they/them pronouns.

The National Center for Transgender Equality explains that some societies, like ours, tend to recognize just two genders, male and female. The idea that there are only two genders is sometimes called a “gender binary” because binary means “having two parts” (male and female). 

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Therefore, “nonbinary” is one term people use to describe genders that don’t fall into one of these two categories, male or female.

The center further explains that nonbinary people are nothing new and that non-binary people aren’t confused about their gender identity or following a new fad – nonbinary identities have been recognized for millennia by cultures and societies around the world.

The rise of discriminatory critics against Bonds’ new Pride campaign follows the backlash Australian bikini brand Moana Bikini faced after featuring a gay man as their model.

“Gender diversity doesn’t look the same,” Mickey said in a video replying to the backlash

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by mikey (@mikeysakinofsky)

The brand shared a video on its official Instagram page of model Jake Young posing in a white one-piece swimsuit worth $130.

Moana Bikini, which is owned by body-positive influencer Karina Irby, captioned the video: “Obsessed with this look,” adding that “Moana babe” Jake was modeling a size small.  

Despite looking fabulous, some people have taken offense to Jake posing in the swimsuit, with some accusing the brand of “allowing men to encroach on women’s spaces.”

Moreover, last week, Rip Curl featured transgender woman Sasha Lowerson on its Rip Curl Women Instagram page as part of the company’s Meet The Local Heroes of Western Australia campaign.

“I’m valid,” Mikey exclaimed in their video

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by mikey (@mikeysakinofsky)

According to WebMD, transgender is a general term that describes people whose gender identity, or their internal sense of being male, female, or something else, does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. By contrast, the term cisgender describes people whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.

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As a result of too many adverse reactions, Rip Curl took a different route than its inclusive competitors and deleted the post before apologizing.

It noted: “Our recent post has landed us in the divisive space around transgender participation in competitive sport 

“We want to promote surfing for everyone in a respectful way but recognize we upset a lot of people with our post and, for that, we are sorry.”

A new study conducted by the Center for American Progress found that many LGBTQ+ people continue to face discrimination in their personal lives, employment, housing, and health care, as well as in the public sphere.

More than 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ adults reported facing some kind of discrimination. Half of LGBTQ+ adults reported experiencing some form of workplace discrimination or harassment in the past year because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status, including being fired, being denied a promotion, having their work hours cut, or experiencing verbal, physical, or sexual harassment.

Despite all the negative comments, many people also praised Bonds for its new campaign

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What do you think ?
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rayneofsalt avatar
Rayne OfSalt
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The only thing that Bonds should be harassed for is shutting down their Australian manufacturing business, putting hundreds of people out of work, then getting all their stuff made in a chinese sweatshop from low-quality materials.

perdyr2167 avatar
Somebodys grandmother
Community Member
2 weeks ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

See... thats a subject worth discussing. The impression their products make on the earth... from the labour, to the fabric... From "birth to grave" effect!!

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aragornjauncey avatar
cerinamroth
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

All I see is happy people, which makes me interested in the product. That's it.

zora24_1 avatar
Trillian
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If it was a woman modeling swimshorts I bet no one would object. So why here?

inglourioustmnt avatar
Inglourioustmnt
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

To be fair, him modelling the shorts makes sense. Whats the point of the top? That’s literally there just to cover breasts. Doesnt bother me, just doesnt make much sense

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rayneofsalt avatar
Rayne OfSalt
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The only thing that Bonds should be harassed for is shutting down their Australian manufacturing business, putting hundreds of people out of work, then getting all their stuff made in a chinese sweatshop from low-quality materials.

perdyr2167 avatar
Somebodys grandmother
Community Member
2 weeks ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

See... thats a subject worth discussing. The impression their products make on the earth... from the labour, to the fabric... From "birth to grave" effect!!

Load More Replies...
aragornjauncey avatar
cerinamroth
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

All I see is happy people, which makes me interested in the product. That's it.

zora24_1 avatar
Trillian
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If it was a woman modeling swimshorts I bet no one would object. So why here?

inglourioustmnt avatar
Inglourioustmnt
Community Member
2 weeks ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

To be fair, him modelling the shorts makes sense. Whats the point of the top? That’s literally there just to cover breasts. Doesnt bother me, just doesnt make much sense

Load More Replies...
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