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“American Woman” ad is real feminism…in beast mode

“American Woman” ad is real feminism…in beast mode

#OneMore reason to keep fighting

If you’ve been away from all technology (and nestled comfortably under a rock) since Sunday afternoon, you should know that the US women’s soccer team dominated Japan in the final match of the World Cup 5-2. It was a big deal:

Soon after the end of the match, a Nike ad released back in early June began to circulate on social media amongst my conservative lady friends. When I clicked on the video and saw that it was, in fact, an official Nike Soccer promotion, I immediately flashed back to this past March’s feminist freakout over Nike sports apparel that was a little too pretty for those friendly social justice warriors to handle. Would this latest spot lick the wound, or diverge from the comfortable PC path?

Neither, really. Watch:

Perseverance. Strength. Fight. They’re not ideas that apply just to women, but I wish that those who insist upon gendering (see how progressive I am? I used “gender” as a verb!) conversations about the state of our society would use them to describe whatever it is that “feminism” has become.

This ad has subversive undertones that Nike’s promoters probably never intended, and that the world that exists outside of the news bubble will never consciously notice. In 2015, it’s almost unheard of for people to think of the protected classes doing much of anything outside of the context of politics. Women don’t succeed at work; they “break the glass ceiling.” Black students don’t achieve; they “overcome adversity.” Gay people don’t write books; they “offer the gay perspective” on things. It’s maddening and tiresome and it’s making us all progressively stupider, just by way of exposure.

My friends and I started passing this ad around because it does none of that. It’s about women succeeding, but it doesn’t pander to our gender. It shows struggle and failure, but it resolves the struggle and failure by showing a strong, sweaty, powerful woman getting out of her own head, figuring it out, and getting herself going again.

Funny—I thought all that was impossible in today’s America.

(There’s also the matter of the very problematic shot of a whole line of female athletes putting their hands over their hearts. Pearls, prepare to be clutched.)

At the end of the day, this ad is just that—an ad. It was created to sell shoes and sports bras, and will eventually fade into the ether and out of our minds. Still, I think it’s important to use these fleeting moments of apolitical clarity to remind ourselves that while the meaning of “feminist” has been perverted beyond recognition, the meaning of “strong woman” is intact, alive, and well.


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But what about the cisgendered, transitioning soccer players who haven’t started their hormone therapy yet? Won’t the sports bras microaggress them as a sign of ta-ta-privilege? It’s all so confusing, I think I’ll switch back to NASCAR where I know they’re probably just gonna make a left turn.

While I get…and even applaud…you trying to name “real feminism”, Amy,

you can’t do that any more than Conservatives can name “real Republicans”.

We don’t own either thing, and, in fact, are at odds with the leaders of the two things.

    Anonamom in reply to Ragspierre. | July 6, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Progressives label people in a pathetic game of divide and conquer. It’s just that some of the progressives like to call themselves “conservatives,” having not a clue what the word means.

    Hal Jordan in reply to Ragspierre. | July 6, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Real feminism elevates women, as this ad does. Progressive “feminism” denigrates men. This is a positive message. The Dems’ message is negative. See the difference now?

      Ragspierre in reply to Hal Jordan. | July 6, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      See, what’s funny is you don’t get that a guy named Hal commenting on a conservative blog thread DOES NOT get to define what “real feminism” is.

      That belonga endowed professors of “gender studies” and “womens issues”, and the authors of texts in current vogue in the “feminist” vanguard. THOSE are the people who define what “real feminism” is IN REALITY, because it is their movement.

      Like Republicianism is NOT the Conservatives’ movement at present…in REALITY. And, in REALITY, it never has been.

      See now…???

oboy. Strong, sassy commercial, made with one of the most misogynistic sets of lyrics in Rock.

I suppose one could decide it was meant to be from the competitor’s viewpoint, but my gut feeling is that whoever put this together never heard the song through to the end.

    jhkrischel in reply to Valerie. | July 6, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    I was thinking along similar lines, but came to a slightly different conclusion 🙂

    More than any misogyny, the song is really *anti-american*. Yes, the villain of the song is a woman, but not *for being* a woman. If anything, the female component of the song is about holding women accountable, and leaving them when they’re destructive and damaging.

    As for the woman who is being claimed as destructive and damaging, I think the obvious reference is to the ironically french Lady Liberty 🙂

Why is it Hope Solo, a known domestic abuser, is allowed to stay on the team and is celebrated/admired, while any male is immediately cut loose from the team?

    We actually talked a lot about that as a group last night—someone mentioned that the charges were dropped, but nobody could figure out what makes what she did (allegedly?) any different than what, say, male football players are accused of and lambasted for. Everyone had a bad taste in their mouth about that. Then again, FIFA are all international criminals in general so maybe it’s not fair to hold them to things like “standards”—they don’t know what those are!

    Nobody seemed to be really excited about her though—we all had our eyes on Carli Lloyd!

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Amy Miller. | July 6, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      The charges were dropped on procedural grounds not factual grounds. The victims refused to answer some medical question, which their lawyer objected to, The decision is being appealed, the first time (according to the news ) such an appeal has been made in seven years. The prosecutor didn’t even have the authority to file the appeal. She had to go up the CoC to get it.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Arby. | July 6, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Wow. I read this and and am shocked. Most of the male athletes I read about were never combative with the police. Any male athlete that did that could virtually kiss his career goodbye.

Life is good, even for those working against it, and, even for them!

Smart song choice. The Guess Who are a Canadian band, world cup was played in Canada. The imagery was inspiring. I like the commercial, but have to agree with Rags that conservatives don’t get to define ‘real’ feminism.