Bugaboo, the upscale stroller brand, recently posted a picture on Facebook and Instagram as part of its latest promotional campaign for new strollers designed for parents who want to run with their tots. The image has generated a lot of buzz online—and it’s not about the merits of spending nearly $1,000 to cart your baby around. The photo features 23-year-old Dutch supermodel Ymre Stiekema running through the streets while pushing her two-year-old daughter in Bugaboo’s jogging stroller. The image was taken for Vogue Netherlands and later shared on social media, with an accompanying caption that reads: “See how model and mum Ymre Stiekema stays fit and healthy with the Bugaboo Runner.”
Well, cue the online comments—both positive and negative. Some women expressed outrage over the ad, while others thought the image was so faux aspirational that it was just plain hilarious. One mom commented on Facebook: “I’m not gonna cuss her out for what she’s wearing, but I have two children and if I was running in this…it would be because I’d forgotten to put my clothes on because we’re late for school, my five-year-old had fallen off his scooter, my two-year-old had refused to put his shoes on, and there’s a good chance I hadn’t any time to do my bikini line. There’s an image to leave you with.”
It’s easy to see why the photo is garnering so much international attention. The societal pressure on women to “get their pre-baby bodies back” is tremendous. You can’t walk past a magazine rack without seeing a fit and fabulous starlet pushing her newborn around while wearing a crop top and heels. But it appears that the main reaction women have had to this ad is the admittance that what Stiekema looks like isn’t an attainable goal—or even a particularly desired one.
Let’s be honest: The majority of us are not 23-year-old models whose job it is to appear publicly in form-fitting sportswear. Most new moms are just trying to get through another day of wiping spit-up from their shirts while enviously eyeing the jogging stroller collecting dust in the hallway.
Bugaboo released a statement on Today about the reaction: “We designed our Bugaboo Runner jogging extension with active parents in mind. We want to inspire moms and dads everywhere to explore the world with their families while keeping up with an active and healthy lifestyle. 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.”
Some parents have already taken that message to heart, posting their own tongue-in-cheek recreations.
Bugaboo is right: Running is for everyone—even lumpy new moms who jiggle when they move and will probably never wear a bikini that shows off their C-section scars. Women’s Running recently featured plus-sized model Erica Schenk on its cover. Schenk is a model and an avid runner, though she’s covered by more than a handkerchief for her cover photo. As Schenk told the magazine, “Some women believe that, since they have curves, they can’t run or shouldn’t run. Running is for everybody, anytime.” I find her photo shoot far more aspirational—and relatable—than Stiekema’s Bugaboo ad.
It’s interesting to note that Bugaboo’s next couple of Facebook updates featured men talking about running. I guess they got a little nervous about what to post next. Of course, some dads got in on the fun with one posting: “I am appalled that you would show a fit dad running with his child in this jogging stroller. Us guys with dad bods can’t handle the pressure of being compared to a fit dad. Genetically, he is taller and fit and able to run faster.”
Meanwhile, I just lost my breath reaching for the remote. Just kidding!