During last week’s Oscar’s, the Serena Williams’ Dream Crazier Nike campaign debuted, making it one of the most profounding advertisements of the year. Once again, Nike attempts to break down walls of stigma and controversy in the sports world and shed light on the sexist stigmas women face when showing “too much” emotion or ambition in sports.
Following Colin Kaepernick’s Just Do It ad, Dream Crazier spotlight’s another contentious athlete, Serena Williams, who has struggled to receive the credit she deserves as a women athlete in comparison to her male counterparts.
In September 2018, Williams’ called an umpire for being sexist after he penalized her for calling him a thief during the U.S Open Final, which cost her the game. This furthered her claim that there is a pressing issue of gender inequality in the sport’s world.
“I’m here fighting for women’s rights and women’s equality. And for me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He’s never taken a game from a man, because he said thief. For me, it blew my mind,” said Williams during a US Open press conference. She further explains how the situation wouldn’t have resulted in the same way if she were a man.
Since then, she has been worldly criticized for supposedly throwing a ‘tantrum.’ An Australian comic for the Herald Sun was under attack after illustrating Williams’ throwing a fit in a comic shortly after the match. He depicted Williams’ with blackface features, such as enhancing her lips, nose and exaggerating her afro-like hair. Although the Australian Press Council denied any accusations of the comic being racist and claimed to have solemnly poke fun at her tantrum, the comic still portrayed how a passionate female athlete was degraded to being childish.
Nearly five months following the criticism, Nike released the ad starring William’s, but also highlighting a handful of other women athletes whose fierce, vigilant and ambitious performances have also battled sexist scrutiny. Some of the athletes recognized were Ibtihaj Muhammad; American sabre fencer, Simone Biles; American gymnast and Chloe Kim: American snowboarder.
The ad was no less than a marketing tactic for Nike to create a conversation of the transgression of double standards in society. Nike has optimized its powerful influence in the world to diligently deliver this pressing issue by having some of the strongest women athletes share their struggles and send an empowering message of overcoming sexist stigmas to the forefront. The commercial’s message not only applies to the athletic field, but extends into everyday life.
With over 7,736,025 views, it’s disappointing that in 2019 the pending issue of gender inequality remains. The issue isn’t going to just disappear, in light of women’s history month we can only hope to continue to spread awareness and no longer let women voices be silenced.