Monday, October 18, 2010

True Nike

"My shoulders aren't dainty or proportional to my hips, some say they are like a man's. I say, leave men out of it. They are mine. I made them in a swimming pool. Then I went to Yoga and made my arms. Just do it."

A few weeks ago I walked into a crowded Nike outlet store in Orlando and was surprised at how diverse the crowd was. I saw men and women of all ages and a number of different ethnic groups. I find it hard that anyone can deny that Nike has succeeded in attracting most every demographic at least in its more recent years. By reading Stabile's article Nike, Social Responsibility, and the Hidden Abode of Production, I got a look at how they deceive us into directing our attention towards what we want to see. It is crazy to think that they draw middle class family consumers in by endorsing good values and icons when the company itself is putting people in other countries to work in sweatshops for minimum wage. It makes me wonder what other nonsense Nike is putting into our heads with their advertisements and other media.
As an athlete and a woman, Nike's ad campaigns give me a sense of empowerment and equality in ability compared with male athletes. But knowing what I know now do they really feel this way too? The article has made me realize that at the end of the day Nike is all about doing what it takes to get me to buy the shoe. Their slogan "Just do it", no longer seems like an encouragement to challenge my abilities and go the extra mile on my next run. Now it seems like a demand to "Just do it... buy the shoe!". The ad above is very crafty. As an athlete, I have always been self conscious about losing my sense of femininity by having "man" shoulders and larger biceps. While this is a social construction in itself, the ad still empowers those women who choose to be athletes and put their strength to the test. I can not deny that Nike has succeeded in showing me what I want to see even if they don't feel the same way about women in truth.

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