Nike Commercial: Feminist or Culturally Rebellious?

Nike targets athletes

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“What will they say about you?” – a phrase that is oh so familiar to Middle Eastern women and girls; but Nike has come through to speak up for Arab ladies with their video, featuring five successful female professional and everyday athletes from different parts of the Arab World.

Young women following their dreams regardless of traditional gender roles have often been scrutinized in the Middle East. Narrated by Oscar nominee Saudi movie star, Fatima Al Banawi, Nike’s commercial decided to applaud these women in a video that has gone viral featuring Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari, Tunisian fencer & Olympics medallist Ines Boubakri, Yemeni-Emirati singer Balqees Fathi, Jordanian boxer Arifa Bseiso and Emirati Parkour Trainer Amal Mourad.

And what better place would there be to shoot this video other than Dubai? According to Rasheed. Nike’s communication manager, Dubai was chosen to make it “local and genuine”

But not all were fans of the idea of the video. While some found it empowering and bold, others found it anti-cultural and offensive.

Some thought of it as being a way to make women rebel against their society.

Other viewers believe that key strategy to encouraging women to take part in Olympics and not give in to the “judgemental eyes” and to become part of the athletic scene.

According to Jordanian MMA fighter and Thai boxer, Shadia Bseiso, the sight of Arab women taking part in the Olympics would make her “want to grow up and be like them” if she were a little girl.

What do you think of the Nike commercial? Do you think it was empowering or insensitively tugging at tradition?

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