Nike’s “Dream Crazier” ad is winning the internet with its powerful message on empowerment and calling out the sexist stereotypes women in sports face. Tennis star Serena Williams has given voice-over for it, calling out all the sexist commentary, which comes in the way of sportswomen, who dare to compete in a field reigned by men so far. “If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we are nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, delusional. When we stand for something we are unhinged. When we’re too good, there’s something wrong with us… And if we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational or just being crazy,” she tells the viewers, as a montage of female athletes from various sports plays on.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Nike’s new “Dream Crazier” Ad calls out the sexist stereotypes women in sports face.
  • Many use sexist adjectives like dramatic, delusional, hysterical, etc to dismiss competitive female athletes.
  • In reality, these are all just excuses used to keep women from achieving equality in sports.
  • People need to stop seeing women’s call for empowerment as the battle of the sexes.

For long people with orthodox values have used sexist adjectives like dramatic, delusional, hysterical, and so on to dismiss competitive female athletes.

While it is acceptable for sportsmen to have a temper, cry after a defeat or be unreasonable, for women, such emotions come at the cost of a judgemental tag. Telling them that they are somehow unfit to be put on the same pedestal as male athletes. They are inferior to their male counterparts because being unhinged, dramatic, sensitive or displaying emotions makes them raw. When in reality, these are all just excuses used to keep women from achieving equality.

There is a reason why female athletes earn less than their male counterparts or why cricket match between male teams incurs more viewers and followers. Most people still think that any sport played by women is inferior in quality than the one played by men. It has nothing to do with quality or talent mind you, just an age-old belief that women are less talented than men. To justify this, people burden women athletes with stereotypical sexism. How could a woman be better at football than a man? Clearly, there is something wrong. How could a woman dare to compete against men in a marathon race? Clearly she thinks too highly of herself.

Women do not even have equal opportunities to showcase their talent, let alone equal training or pay.

If a woman takes a break from her sporting career to get married or for maternity, her critics spare no time in writing her off. She isn’t going to be serious about her sport because she has different priorities now. They just assume that women are bound to fail against men because they are, well, women. The result is that women do not even have equal opportunities to showcase their talent, let alone equal training or pay. But such things are irrelevant to critics of this ad, who are calling it delusional.

According to them no way can female athletes stand their ground if they take on their male counterparts. This ad gives women a false belief that they can take on any male athlete they like and emerge victorious. What they need to understand is that this isn’t about men versus women. People often pitch women’s call for empowerment as the battle of the sexes. When in reality it’s more about changing the perception among people. To give them a fighting chance, so that they can be the best versions of themselves, without any sexist hurdles.

People often pitch women’s call for empowerment as the battle of the sexes. When in reality it’s more about changing the perception among people.

Does it mean that women can outperform men? Or that women can never outperform men? No, and that is even not the question here. So stop taking this ad out of its context. Even if you don’t, women are no longer afraid of being delusional or crazy. If anything, they’ll only fight back harder.

Picture Credit: ew.com

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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