Nike released their new ad campaign on Sunday, showing what ‘crazy’ sportswomen can achieve. As women, we’re often labelled ‘psychotic, emotional and over-dramatic,’ but are they just stereotypes? And can’t boys be all of those things but not given the same reputation? Instead, they are ‘passionate, driven and making a point’.
We’ve all seen Rory McIlroy throw a golf club, Andy Murray have a strop and just at the weekend, we saw Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga have a tantrum on the pitch and refuse to be substituted. But do they get the same ridicule as women? Of course not.
The new Nike advert highlights great women of sport and the things that they have achieved even when people said they wouldn’t. The new ad follows the first with controversial sportsman Colin Kaepernick, which also showcased what can happen when people go against the tide and make a stand (or kneel in his case) for what they believe in.
The advert features sexual assault victim and Olympic champion gymnast, Simone Biles, Ibtihaj Muhammad, an Olympic fencer who competed in a hijab, Katherine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon and is narrated by Serena Williams.
I’m going to look at one woman that appeared in the advert as well as some of my own heroes that went against the grain to achieve the unimaginable.
Serena Williams is one of, if not the most talented sportswoman in the world. With 23 grand slams, almost dying during labour then to come back after giving birth and win another title?! There’s not many people that can say they’ve done that.
The tennis star recently received some bad press when she kicked off at a referee for a game deduction due to violating the rules of conferring with coaches and speaking out of turn to the referee.
However, many rushed to Serena’s defence and said that had a man spoken to the referee as she had, they wouldn’t have been penalised as it’s been seen to happen many a time in the past. The game may have ended very differently that day had the referee not taken a game from Serena.
After giving birth, Serena was also told off for breaking the rules when wearing a black body suit during play. The suit was made to help with her blood clots that she had experienced during labour and kept her blood circulating. Serena swiftly made sure that the rule was changed the very next day as it wasn’t fair for new mothers or anyone at all.
I think we’ve all heard and read a lot of quotes from Gaga herself saying that not many people believed in her. Either her nose was too big, she wasn’t pretty enough or she just wasn’t ‘enough’. People Lady Gaga went to college with even created a Facebook page called ‘Stefani Germanotta, you will never be famous’. Now look at her.
I always say that if talent is there, it will be recognised. No matter how you look, where you come from or have little belief in yourself. Someone will recognise that talent and if it isn’t yourself, all it takes is that one person to help showcase it to the world and get you the recognition you deserve. Talent matters a lot more than what’s on the outside of you.
“I had a boyfriend who told me I’d never succeed, never be nominated for a Grammy, never have a hit song, and that he hoped I’d fail. I said to him, ‘Someday, when we’re not together, you won’t be able to order a cup of coffee at the f***ing deli without hearing or seeing me.'”
Now Lady Gaga is the first ever woman in history to win a Grammy, Oscar, Bafta and Golden Globe all in the same year.
More locally, a woman who fought for what she believed in and made it her mission to make ‘upskirting’ illegal has done just that. I’ve followed Gina on Twitter for quite a while now, and have watched as articles and bills have been rejected, but finally she won her case.
Following an incident at a festival where a stranger took a photo underneath Gina’s skirt, when reporting it to the police, they informed her that there was nothing they could technically do as it wasn’t a criminal offence.
Gina then took to social media and her story went viral. A petition was started and reached 50,000 signatures within days meaning it had to be discussed in Parliament.
Gina’s upskirting campaign received a lot of traction and support from celebrities such as Laura Whitmore and Dermot O’Leary. Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse backed the campaign and brought it forward to the government to make it a criminal offence.
However, three months later in June 2018, Conservative MP Sir Christopher Chope single-handedly blocked the bill in the House of Commons. Theresa May then overruled this decision and pushed that the law would be changed through Parliament.
The bill was then passed in July 2018 and upskirting is now a criminal offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. This just shows what we can do when we fight for what we believe in and it doesn’t matter where you come from, what age you are or if you receive one ‘no’. Show them what crazy can do.
IT’S ONLY CRAZY UNTIL YOU JUST DO IT
“If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we’re nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, delusional. When we stand for something, we’re unhinged. When we’re too good there’s something wrong with us. And if we get angry, we’re hysterical or irrational or just being crazy… So if they want to call you crazy? Fine. Show them what crazy can do.”
The above quote is taken from the advert itself which you can find here.
Why do we have to be crazy to have big dreams? Why can’t we believe that the impossible is possible? It’s only impossible until someone proves it isn’t, and why can’t that be you?
Dream big, think crazy and show them what us ‘crazy’ women can achieve.
If you would like to read some interviews with women CEOs and those at the top table, you can find them in my #GirlBoss series. Or, if you would like to read about the women leaders successfully leading us out of a worldwide pandemic, you can read about them here.