Dramatic. Delusional. Hysterical. Crazy.
These are just a few sexist adjectives used to describe female athletes who have ever dared to compete, display emotion or achieve the same things as their male counterparts. However, in Nike’s newest inspiring ad, tennis icon Serena Williams redefines what it means to be “crazy” — challenging female athletes to “show them what crazy can do.”
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) February 24, 2019
The new Nike spot titled “Dream Crazier” starts out by criticizing all the sexist ways female athletes are unfairly judged.
“If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic. And if we dream of equal opportunity, delusional. When we’re too good, there’s something wrong with us… And if we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational or just being crazy,” booms Williams’ voice over a video montage of real female athletes in basketball, soccer, football, track and more.
Then in a dramatic turn, Williams goes on to point out all the incredible things female athletes have dared to achieve that were once believed to be “crazy.”
“But a woman running a marathon was crazy. A woman boxing was crazy. A woman dunking, crazy…Winning 23 grand slams, having a baby, then coming back for more? Crazy,” Williams narrates as images of Simon Biles, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Chloe Kim, and the U.S. Women’s Soccer team appear.
“So if they want to call you crazy? Fine, show them what crazy can do,” Serena Williams challenges at the end of the spot. The “Dream Crazier” ad premiered during the broadcast of the 2019 Academy Award. It is the latest in a series of Nike campaigns that confronts divisive issues in sports today.
Earlier this year, the sports brand kicked off the 30 year anniversary of its iconic “Just Do It” slogan with a commercial featuring NFL player Colin Kaepernick sparking conversations about race relations today and professional athlete’s freedom of speech. Now, the company is tackling sexism in sports with director Kim Gehrig, the female visionary behind Gillette’s recent ad on toxic masculinity.
“The ‘Dream Crazier’ spot is the start of a journey celebrating women in sport ahead of soccer’s biggest moment in France this summer. It is about helping athletes realize their full potential even in the face of adversity,” a Nike representative told Adweek.
“The use of Serena Williams as the narrator amongst a number of athletes reflects her standing as one of the most inspirational athletes of her generation who empowers girls to continue to believe in their own crazy dream.”
And the ad is doing just that. The spot has received an overwhelming response online with women sharing their own experiences along with pictures of daughters, sisters and themselves defying expectations in sports. “I played basketball against men for many years, I was better than some & some were better than me” British Paralympian Louise Sugden shared on Twitter. “Now I bench 115kg… the message of the ad is to challenge perceptions & I love it!”
While the ad has primarily received a positive response, it has also drawn biting criticism for virtue signaling and conveying the message that all women can achieve these feats. “They’re trying to make women believe they can beat any men in any events,” wrote one Twitter user. “That’s just delusional, everything else in the ad was fine, but that part is just really rich.”
However, most women have remained unfazed by the negative response, instead striking back with comments of their own. “The comments on this ad on Twitter and Instagram really show you how angry men get when women are empowered,” wrote one Twitter user.
See all the top responses to Nike’s inspiring ‘Dream Crazier’ ad — good and bad — below.
I played basketball against men for many years, I was better than some & some were better than me. Now I bench 115kg, I'm stronger than some men, not as strong as others. I do what I do to be the best version of me! The message of the ad is to challenge perceptions & I love it!
— Louise Sugden (@louisesugden13) February 24, 2019
For sure, let’s let women play against men in the NFL, nothing bad will happen, let’s do the same for the NBA while we’re at it, this as has smart and dumb points, these were the dumb ones, the only good ones were instances of women like Serena Williams
— MattMcNerls (@MNerls) February 24, 2019
— Elaine Weeks (@selaineweeks) February 25, 2019
they're trying to make women believe they can beat any men in any events, Lol thats just delusional, everything else in the ad was fine, but that part is just really rich
— Oregonfan (@FlashR92) February 24, 2019
As an athlete, I was told that I spend too much time focusing on sports. My body was too muscular for a girl. As a coach, I’ve been told I’m too intense and vocal..if I was a boy, they would’ve said I was dedicated to my sport…as a man, I would be told I’m a passionate coach.
— Coach Lukas (@CoachLukasTFN) February 24, 2019
This, coming from a very talented, but arrogant multi-millionaire, who uses her occasional "women card" and "mom card" to gain sympathy while constantly insulting others. #boycottNike #Nike #SerenaWilliams pic.twitter.com/uztwoqkFzf
— NFL (@NFL64326391) February 25, 2019
They call my daughter crazy because she plays baseball not softball. Then they whine when she strikes their sons out. Can’t wait to show her this! pic.twitter.com/ck3MHqzj6t
— CornyRye44 (@vsuph6) February 24, 2019
— Nathan Camp (@nrcamp) February 24, 2019
Nike has to stop making me cry with these commercials 😭😭😭another masterpiece for the GOAT @serenawilliams
— Kimberly Weeks (@Qymbirlie) February 24, 2019
— 702 Yankee Babe (@702YankeeBabe) February 24, 2019
I’m over sixty & only wish I had been told I wasn't crazy when I talked about my dreams. This brings tears. But it's not to late to just do it.
— AMBAS (@MzJanekenz) February 24, 2019
The comments on this ad on Twitter and Instagram really show you how angry men get when women are empowered.
— Grace Harris (@grraceharris) February 24, 2019
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