The game hasn’t always been sweet for female athletes—just ask Serena Williams.
Last September, while competing for her 24th Grand Slam title against Naomi Osaka, Williams was handed three code violations that led to a dispute between the tennis star and umpire Carlos Ramos, culminating with Williams’ shocking Grand Slam defeat and debates about sexism in sports. Would things have turned out differently if it was a male athlete? Serena seems to think so, and in a new Nike ad titled “Dream Crazier,” Serena calls out gender bias in sports and gives “crazy” a whole new meaning.
Williams narrates the emotional advert as footage of female athletes crying or disputing calls appear on the screen. “If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic. 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. If we’re too good, there’s something wrong with us,” she says. “And if we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational, or just being crazy.”
In the “Dream Crazier” ad, Serena and Nike celebrate women in sports (including Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Chloe Kim, and members of the US Women’s National Soccer Team) and the inspiring feats they’ve accomplished, no matter how “crazy” it may seem to others. From a woman coaching an NBA team or dunking a basketball to “winning 23 grand slams, having a baby, and then coming back for more,” Serena advises women to “show them what crazy can do.”
Following her controversial Grand Slam loss, Serena called out double standards in sports.
“I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things,” Williams explained. “I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say ‘thief,’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He’s never taken a game from a man because they said thief.”
Everyone should listen to this from Serena Williams. pic.twitter.com/TF03dhpq2P
— Cameron Cox (@CamCox12) September 8, 2018
Before that, Serena was criticized for wearing a black catsuit during the French Open, a compression garment worn to help manage her blood clots. The French Tennis Federation ended up banning catsuits as a result. Bernard Giudicelli, the president of the French Tennis Federation, told Tennis magazine, “It will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place,” he said. “I think that sometimes we’ve gone too far.”
Nerisha Penrose Assistant Editor Nerisha is the assistant editor at ELLE.com, covering all things beauty and fashion.
- Nike debuted a moving Serena Williams ad at the Oscars
- Nike and Serena Williams dream ‘Crazier’ in powerful new Oscars spot
- 6 things you didn’t know about the movie What Women Want
Nike debuted a moving Serena Williams ad at the Oscars
Serena Williams made not one but two appearances at the Oscars. The tennis pro presented A Star Is Born during the ceremony — and she’ll also be featured in a new Nike ad, “Dream Crazier,” that also includes gymnast Simone Biles, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the US women’s national soccer team, and other women athletes.
“If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we’re nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, we’re delusional,” Williams says in the ad. “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, irrational, or just being crazy.”
Williams, who has been the subject of racist and gendered criticism, is perhaps the perfect narrator for this girl-power focused ad. In September, she was punished for snapping at an umpire during a match, despite the fact that male tennis players have gotten away with similar behavior in the past. A month earlier, the president of the French Tennis Federation banned catsuits from the court after Williams wore one during a match, saying her ensemble “went too far” and implying that she disrespected “the game and the place.” And this isn’t the first time Williams has starred in an empowering ad; she appeared in a Bumble ad about women’s empowerment earlier this month.
The Nike ad is part of a relatively new marketing strategy for the brand: using social justice to sell sneakers and workout gear. Nike’s 2018 ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback known for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality, is another example. (The Kaepernick ad inspired a conservative boycott of the sportswear brand, which seems to have backfired — Nike’s stock soared after the ad came out.)
This latest ad, which stars Williams and other trailblazing women athletes, including Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, suggests that Nike is leaning into this strategy. Nike may be pushing the envelope and making a statement, but it’s also making a pretty good bet by hiring the biggest female sports star in the world.
Nike and Serena Williams dream ‘Crazier’ in powerful new Oscars spot
Nike is using the Academy Awards Sunday to push a new female-focused “Just Do It” spot. The 90-second video is the latest iteration of the sportswear giant’s “Dream Crazy” campaign, which was first unveiled by Colin Kaepernick last fall in honor of the 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” tagline.
The new spot, narrated by Serena Williams, is called “Dream Crazier.” Nike blasted the message to its NikePlus members via email on Sunday afternoon, with the spot scheduled to run during the Oscars that evening. In the clip, Williams speaks about the head-shaking dismissiveness female athletes regularly endure—many of those who have broken barriers in sports have been called “crazy.”
In Sunday’s afternoon email message, titled “A Message From Serena Williams,” Williams invited consumers to join her in pushing “crazy dreams” further and suggested they tune in to the Oscars to see the new spot.
Nike’s “Dream Crazier” comes on the heels of a crazy-for-different-reasons headline for the marketer’s basketball business last week. In a high-profile game, Zion Williamson, a Duke University freshman and one of college basketball’s biggest stars, fell on the court after his Nike shoe fell apart in a widely-viewed incident. In a statement, Nike said it was an “isolated incident” and that the brand was “working to identify the issue.” The company commands a sizeable share of the basketball market.
6 things you didn’t know about the movie What Women Want
It’s makes us feel very old to think that Mel Gibson’s What Women Want came out almost 16 years ago. Sigh.
But we still love watching it, weirdly around the festive period, and still cringe when Mel’s character Nick Marshall tries on a pair of tights for advertising research and his daughter walks in with her boyfriend.
The film was released in 2000 and tells the story of sexist ad exec Nick who has an accident while trying to get into the mind of a woman and ends up being able to hear what every female can think.
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Helen Hunt also stars in the movie as Darcy Maguire, who is originally Nick’s rival when she gets the job he wanted, but the pair end up falling madly in love.
The movie was originally titled Head Games and was pitched to Touchstone Pictures in 1996.
Here are five more things you didn’t know about the film..
There was a Chinese remake
The original film saw Mel Gibson nominated for a Golden Globe but the Chinese remake wasn’t as successful.
It was directed by Chen Daming starring Andy Lau and Gong Li and was released in 2011. Bizarre.
The plot takes place mostly in an advertising company in Beijing, in which Lau plays a slick ad agency creative director who gets acquainted with his new talented competition, played by Gong.
What Women Want Australian actor Mel Gibson as Nick Marshall in the film What Women Want (Image: PA)
Mel wasn’t bothered about wearing tights
Mel wasn’t too bothered about having to wear tights because he used to wear them every day in drama school.
Talking about breaking the macho stereotype, he said: “Break all the conventions and establish different ones. It wasn’t uncomfortable at all. It was great. I like going in to different styles of acting and exploring stuff I haven’t done before.”
Helen Hunt as Darcy Maguire and Mel Gibson as Nick Marshall (Image: PA)
The kissing scenes took AGES
Helen Hunt revealed they had a day and a half of kissing for the movie. Which would be most women’s dream.
She said: “I mean 9 o’clock in the morning to 8 o’clock in the evening and through the next morning.
“It was honestly dizzying how much we kissed. No air. So at around 5 o’clock on the first day, I asked Mel’s makeup people to shave him a little because my face was getting chewed up from his stubble.
“So he showed up on the set with 25 toilet paper marks with fake blood on them!”
Doing a spot of yoga (Image: Reuters)
When Mel tries on the pantyhose in his bathroom, the hole in the left leg changes in different cuts of the movie.
It is originally a large hole on the outside of his leg with a small ladder and on a different shot ends up being on the inside of his leg.
Mel and Helen got plenty of lip smacking in (Image: Rex)
Nike reps in the film
One of the most clever scenes in the film is when Nick delivers his presentation to win a Nike Women campaign.
He wins them over and can hear them praising his ideas, which were actually stolen from Darcy.
We bet you didn’t know that the three female Nike representatives are in fact the real Nike ad representatives and not actresses.