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Nike Promotes Healthy Competition: Men vs. Women

Date: June 3, 2009 | Posted By:

I have always been a fan of Nike commercials. There is something behind their unisex “just do it” slogan that is energizing and empowering. Curious to what Nike has been up to lately, I decided to Google their commercials. I came across this:

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I was skeptical at first. Is it going to be sexist? Will it dampen my perception of the company? Of course, most of all I wanted to know: Who are they going to place as the winner of the challenge?

The commercial pins some of the great female and male athletes, such as tennis ace Rodger Federer, Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and long-distance runner Paula Radcliffe; hip-hop dancer Sofia Boutella; Fernando Torres; and NBA player Tony Parker and his wife Eva Longoria Parker.

To my delight, the commercial did not disappoint. In fact, I think it just added to Nike’s vast commercial idea: healthy competition. While the dividing line is apparent in the “Men vs. Women” title, I find it more inspiring rather than divisive or degrading to either sex.

First of all, there is no favoritism among the sexes in the commercial — both groups compete to their best abilities. Most importantly, however, it places the usual gender bias on an even keel, stating: anything you can do, I can do, for we are one.

Of course, this can be argued. The commercial starts off and ends showing the “pink bar,” which represents the female sex, as behind. Even in the end the female is a mere 13 kilometers behind. Are they implying that women are good, yet not THAT good; or is there a deeper meaning: even late in the competition a woman is still very likely to come close to surpassing a man’s achievement?

Although competitions are often about who is better, one should keep in mind that competitions are almost always between equals. You do not pit a champion NFL team against a high school football team, you do not allow a 150-pound person get into a fighting ring with a <font style=”position: absolute;overflow: hidden;height: 0;width: 0″><a href=”http://www.videnov.com/” mce_href=”http://www.videnov.com/”>&#1076;&#1080;&#1074;&#1072;&#1085;&#1080;</a></font> heavyweight, you will not challenge an Olympian sprinter to a running match (unless you have a really good sense of humor), and so on. By creating this “challenge,” Nike is implying that both sexes are champions; thus, they can compete easily against each other.

The idea behind women being the “weaker” sex is seemingly subsiding, although not as quickly as it should. While I deem the commercial inspiring, I do have to consider that it did put men as the winning sex throughout the commercial; it is hard to detect, but the little pink bar is lagging by a few kilometers.

So how do you feel about the ad: are you inspired by Nike’s creative competition or do you still find it sexist?

-OVK




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