Anthropologie uses dancer Harper Watters to show off dresses on their Instagram, backlash ensues.

In what seems to be an increasingly common occurrence, a brand hires a male to show off products targeted at women. This time it's Anthropologie who hired the soloist for the Houston Ballet, Harper Watters, to model their dresses. The video post is an upbeat edit where Harper twirls in the way only ballet dancers can, with some clever editing to swap from jeans to various dresses.

The Anthropologie post read: "To quote @theharperwatters, "Never anthro-pologize for being fabulous! Loving these #UnexpectedAndUnforgettable look." (Obviously, we couldn't agree more!) Twirl to the link in bio to shop bold, beautiful dresses for every solo.

While everyone can agree that Harper is a beautifully skilled dancer, it appears that many women who saw the video didn't like that he was modeling the women's dress line. So many offended comments rolled in, that Anthropologie had to close the comments on the post.

Conservative podcaster Allie Beth Stuckey commented on the ad, claiming that Harper couldn't even fit the dresses "because they were designed for women, and women's bodies are different". Harper directly addressed podcaster Allie's assertion on his personal Instagram and unequivocally proved his ability to fit into the dresses he modeled by sharing a video of himself in the zipped-up dress. He also said that he had hurt himself the day of the shoot, which is why the dress wasn't fully zipped. I found that rather interesting, this reveals that Harper did the Instagram ad film by himself, he didn't even have a stylist on set.

In other posts on his Instagram channel, Harper shows off his incredibly strong ankles and body control by running and dancing in high heels on treadmills, etc.

The overwhelmingly negative comments on Anthropologie's Instagram post didn't stop when they closed the specific Harper post for comments, they are now taking over the rest of Anthropologie's feed.

"Your previous post is stupid. Men are not your target market. This company is a failure and completely disrespectful to real women and the beauty that a real woman is!"

"I've stopped shopping at your stores and have unsubscribed to your email notification. Anthropologie needs to be wiped off the map for mocking women and your hate toward them. You're a disgrace to society. You just wrote your own death sentence. #boycottanthropologie"

"Seriously? I don’t want to see a man’s bulge as he’s twirling in a dress. This is not the way to go Anthropologie. Looks like my recent purchases are going back to the store"

"Of all the amazing women out there - and especially so close to Mother’s Day - why couldn’t you find a woman out there to showcase a dress? So done being erased. After thousands of years in the backseat, we are now fighting AGAIN for visibility. Women have NOT arrived."

Back in 2017 Dove faced backlash for having a trans-identified male as a #realMom, but more recently brands targeting women have hired gender-bending influencers as well as trans-identified men, to such an extent that women seem to have gotten quite fed up with it all. David Lopez and Dylan Mulvany for Ulta, Estée Lauder had a trans-identified male explain "my favorite part about being a woman", and "Blush", a lingerie company in Germany, had a man modeling ladies underwear.

The biggest backlash yet was when Dylan Mulvany partnered with Bud Light and Nike for women, which caused a huge drop in Bud Light sales and sent the Marketing Director responsible on leave of absence.

It appears that using trans-identified models in ads has become a popular tactic for gaining attention, whether positive or negative. However, there was a time when gender-bending in advertising wasn't as controversial. The response to Anthropologie's post suggests that those times are now behind us.

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Boycott Anthropologie 's picture

Context matters for videos. Anthropologie does not have a line of dresses for men, so why are they using a male model to advertise their products to women?

Women already face issues when buying clothes due to the lack of diversity in body types among models. Removing female models from clothing advertisements that target women only adds insult to injury.

Private Dancer's picture

He's quite handsome and obviously talented, but I really didn't need to see that bulge.

It is not a conservative viewpoint to highlight the fact that men are gradually taking over women's spaces and businesses are ignoring the physical differences between males and females. As some other commenters have mentioned on Anthropologie's Instagram, our concern is not with men wearing dresses but with corporations featuring men in advertisements, despite the product being targeted towards women. Men are encroaching on women's spaces everywhere and being celebrated for it. When was the last time you saw people applauding a pretty female dancer twirling in a dress as something stunning and brave?

Kissmekatey's picture

He didn't zip his dress, he positioned the camera low so that we'd get a shot of the bulge, this is just sloppy in a bad way and makes Anthropologie look cheap. Skimp on your creative work and that's what you get.