Nike ad featuring Serena Williams, Caster Semenya tackles gender politics head on
Release of 'Dream Crazier' calls for gender equality in sport ahead of International Women's Day
International Women's Day is Friday, March 8 and Nike got a jump-start on the celebration with their new "Dream Crazier" ad that premiered during Sunday night's Oscars.
A follow-up to their politically charged "Dream Crazy" commercial featuring Colin Kaepernick, the new ad, narrated by American tennis star Serena Williams, highlights successful female athletes who have not played to stereotype in their chosen athletic field and challenges the labels that have been affixed to them because of their actions.
The ad comes the same week the Australian Press Council deemed a cartoon depicting Williams as not in breach of its standards of practice, though critics called the drawing sexist and racist.
Featured prominently in the the ad is 2016 women's 800-metre Olympic champion Caster Semenya, who finds herself in court defending her genetic makeup.
Semenya, who is hyperandrogenic, is appealing a decision by the International Athletics Association of Federations (IAAF) that would require her to medically lower her naturally occurring testosterone levels in order to compete in elite level events like world championships and the Olympics. The Court of Arbitration for Sport is expected to make a decision in March.
WATCH | Caster Semenya's "abnormally high" natural levels of testosterone are "genetic gift"
At the point we see Semenya in the commercial, narrator Williams says: "When we're too good, there's something wrong with us," a clear reference to the South African's court battle.
Many of Canada's athletes shared the ad via social media:
To everyone of every age, gender and ethnicity, I say.... <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/embraceyourcrazy?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#embraceyourcrazy</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/believeinthepossibilities?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#believeinthepossibilities</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ownyourstory?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ownyourstory</a> <a href="https://t.co/G7QMQGoJ9p">https://t.co/G7QMQGoJ9p</a>—@HeatherMoyse
What do you think of the new ad?