Tennis superstar Serena Williams has called out gender bias and double standards in sport, and given the term “crazy” a shake-up, in a new Nike ad titled “Dream Crazier”.
The 90 second ad screened during the 91st annual Academy Awards challenges ideas on how men and women are perceived differently during times of intense emotion or passion in sport.
The ad, set to Williams’ voice-over, features multiple female athletes who have broken barriers or inspired others, including Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, and members of the US Women’s National Soccer team.
“If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic,” Williams says in the ad.
“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.”
In September last year, Williams was fined $17,000 by the US Open following an argument with umpire Carlos Ramos. She called Ramos a “thief” and the controversial ruling that followed sparked a global debate about the double standards faced by women who show emotion in sport.
At the time, Williams was quick to point out that she’s seen male tennis players call umpires “several things,” indicating men seem to have gotten away with similar, or worse behaviour in the past.
Tennis great Billie Jean King praised Williams for her comments at the time and for “calling out this double standard.”
(2/2) When a woman is emotional, she’s “hysterical” and she’s penalized for it. When a man does the same, he’s “outspoken” & and there are no repercussions. Thank you, @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 9, 2018
“Dream Crazier” is the latest addition in a new marketing strategy by Nike that uses social justice to sell their products.
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) February 24, 2019
Williams’ voice-over continues:
“But, a woman running a marathon was crazy. A woman boxing was crazy. A woman dunking? Crazy. Coaching an NBA team? Crazy. A woman competing in a hijab, changing her sport, landing a double-cork 1080 or winning 23 grand slams, having a baby and then coming back for more? Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy and crazy.”
“So if they want to call you crazy? Fine. Show them what crazy can do.”