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Nike raises eyebrows with model's unshaven armpit

models arm pit hair in advert Image copyright Nikewomen/Instagram

One of Nike's social media posts has attracted attention not for the sportswear on display - but for the model's body hair.

The latest picture on its Nike Women Instagram page shows model and singer Annahstasia Enuke posing with her arm behind her head, revealing a small amount of underarm hair.

Nike captioned the post 'Big Mood', but the comments reveal that some people were left in a bad mood after seeing the post.

''That's disgusting. Like please don't get me wrong I'm delighted that this woman is brave enough to go around like that..... but that's horrible. It's not cute,'' read one Instagram comment.

Another posted: ''Why? Need to shave that armpit..eeew.''

''Women who are empowering armpit hair, good luck finding a man accepting you with it,'' posted another Instagram user.

The comments provoked a furious counter response.

'It's about time we stop pretending women are born hairless and smooth and remain that way.''

''Why is it acceptable for men to have body hair but not women? Stay strong girls! Love yourself just the way you are,'' commented another Instagram user.

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Some pointed out that Nike were well aware the post would attract attention.

Last year the brand's Just Do It campaign starring NFL player Colin Kaepernick attracted controversy amid the "take the knee" movement.

But the company's chief executive admitted the campaign had sparked "record" engagement and was driving sales.

Image copyright Kaepernick7/Instagram

''Whoever is the creative and marketing team at Nike you just out did yourself,'' posted one Instagram user.

Annahstasia herself does not seem to be fazed by the comments.

On Thursday she posted an image of a newspaper article about the photo to her Instagram story and remarked, ''wow, still cackling".

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Media captionCan attitudes towards body hair be sexist for both men and women?

Discussions about what it is to be a woman continues to provoke debate, as more and more big companies attempt to challenge gender norms.

Last year an Instagram post showing a model's hairy lip in an advert for Mac lipstick prompted a similar discussion.

''Those hairs on her upper lip, demand to be plucked,'' commented one Instagram user.

US brand Billie razors won online support last year for an advert it claimed was the first to feature hairy women for 100 years.

On social media, many women applauded its close-ups of hairy female toes, armpits, monobrows and stomachs.

Image copyright Billie on Unsplash
Image caption Billie says the project aims to "make the internet a little fuzzier"

More recently a month long campaign took place to encourage woman all over the world to grow their armpit hair.

'Januhairy' founder Laura Jackson, 21, said she came up with the idea after growing out her own hair for a performance.

"Though I felt liberated and more confident in myself, some people around me didn't understand or agree with why I didn't shave," she said.