“What Will They Say About You?”

One of the most empowering things a woman can do for another woman is inspire her to come into herself and take charge of her own life; to find her passion and nurture it, regardless of what others may say or think. Having role models in women, especially when it comes to the fashion and apparel industry, is so integral in the upbringing of little girls who may very well grow up to become leaders themselves someday. Despite the sexist ideals drilled into our heads from day one, as women, we’re born warriors, independent and strong.

In a society where freedom is limited and sexism is a rapidly growing concern, it’s even more essential to fight against the norm rather than comply to it.

Nike Middle East recently released a powerful advertisement geared toward Arab and Muslim women, touching on the stigmas that surround them in regards to their active lifestyles.

The advertisement opens in the streets of suburban Dubai, with a hijabi woman nervously peering outside her door before breaking into a run, an older woman staring her down with unmistakable animosity. The scene cuts to another young woman skateboarding down the streets in her abaya as a middle-aged man looks on with a glare. Despite the hostile stares that follow the ladies featured in the commercial, they continue to engage in activities like parkour, boxing, swimming, and ice-skating; breaking barriers at every step.

The voiceover, narrated by an Arabic-speaking woman, seeks to motivate the athletes for defeating the odds. “What will they say about you? That you shouldn’t be out here? That it’s unladylike? That you’re not built for this? Or maybe… they’ll say you’re strong. That you can’t be stopped. That you always find a way. That you make it look easy. That you make it look good. Or maybe… they’ll say you’re the next big thing.”  

The ad drew interest and applause from around the globe, arriving soon after Nike announced its focus on equality and strength for its 2017 campaigns. In a statement released in early February, the company said:

“Equality is about Nike raising its voice and using the power of sport to stand up for the value of equality and to inspire people to take action in their communities.”

Sara Alzawqari, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Iraq, took to Twitter to show her support for the commercial: “When an ad touches on the insecurities of women in a society, digs deeper & becomes an empowerment tool rather than just a product.” 

It’s time other companies also took the initiative to use their brands as a tool for progressive change and bring light to the issues and concerns plaguing our communities today.

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*Watch the advertisement here.

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