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By on February 25, 2019

Reclaiming Crazy: Women Athletes in Nike’s Ad

“Crazy” is often used to undermine, silence, and dismiss women, especially in sports. Serena Williams, one of the greatest athletes of all time who challenges discrimination on and off the tennis court, narrates the new advertisement from Nike. Serena and her fellow prominent women athletes reclaim “crazy,” and show how women are leading, championing, and transforming the sport world and our culture. The ad, “Dream Crazier,” challenges rigid gender norms that belittle and exclude women from athletics, highlights the double standards women and women athletes face, and calls attention to the great progress and change women athletes are leading.

The women in this ad remind us that when women lead, change follows. The ad highlights the accomplishments of women athletes, like the U.S. Women’s Soccer team who fought for equal pay and Ibtihaj Muhammad, an Olympic fencer and the first U.S. athlete to play wearing a hijab. These actions have been called “crazy” before women led the charge for change and succeeded. Serena caps off her narration of reclaiming crazy for dreaming crazier with her own story of “winning 23 grand slams, having a baby and then coming back for more.”

Challenging social norms is one way sport plays a role in preventing sexual and domestic violence. Athletes as Leaders promotes women leaders in athletics and engages women athletes in promoting healthy relationships. PreventConnect did a web conference with Rebecca Milliman, the creator of Athletes as Leaders, where she discusses the program with two student athletes.

“Dream Crazier” inspires women within sports and beyond to lead and reclaim their space in history. Sport culture reflects our wider culture. Given how highly visible and influential sport and athletes are, shining the spotlight on women athletes, the discrimination they face, and their accomplishments in spite of unequal practices shows how strong, resilient, and truly incredible women and women athletes are. To some, changing our culture to prevent sexual and intimate partner violence seems crazy, but we dream crazier and we’ve seen that prevention works.

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