Nike Middle East recently released a commercial triggering anger from Muslims around the globe. To be expected, since the ad shows women empowered. Turns out for some Muslims it has too much women’s liberation. A subject many traditionally Islamic countries find displeasing (see PAKISTAN: ‘Women’s Protection Bill’ Encourages Men to Lightly Beat Their Wives…). Peep the ad below.
ENGLISH TRANSCRIPT: 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.
First off, this video is great. It’s beautifully shot and shows women being strong and accomplished in a region of the world that often bars women from doing so. Good on Nike.
But not everyone agrees. The video has over 2 million views on YouTube and thousands of dislikes. The like to dislike ratio is almost half and half. I’m sure you can guess the reason for all the hate…
“I think this ad was an utter fail,” said Nada Sahimi on the company’s Instagram page. “This is not the true representation of Arab, Muslim women. We do not wear a hijab and go running in the streets, shame on Nike,” she said.
Women exercising in public is a rare sight in much of the region and women-only gyms are few, are not fully equipped for different sports and are often more expensive than gyms for men. In Saudi Arabia, physical education in all-girls public schools and women’s gyms remains illegal in the kingdom because female athleticism is deemed un-Islamic.
The Middle East is riddled with sexism (see Top 5 Examples of Islam Abusing Women and New Study Shows Islamic Countries Have the WORST Gender Pay Gap). Notice how the ad appeals to the female consumer instead of the man and head of household, who generally holds all the buying power. The ad displays one issue Islam hates most: women with freedom. Thus all the hate geared toward this commercial. Women exercising choice? Not okay. Women being strong? YOU’RE DISPLEASING ALLAH! Put on your hijab and get back into the kitchen, woman.
Can’t wait to see how feminists justify this one…